Drones make excellent traveling companions because of their versatility. A lot of drone owners have a lot of questions regarding:
- Travel regulations concerning drones
- Security regulations and foreign laws
- Taking the drone on board a plane
- Flying the drone in a foreign country
Traveling with a drone is not as hard as imagined though. If you don’t already have a drone you will want to do your homework on the top drones for travelling. All you need is proper preparation before heading off to your destination. Traveling with your drone as a photographer, for instance, will enable you to capture precious moments in your travel creatively. Here are some tips that will help you travel with your drone.
Research the specific area drone laws and regulations
Laws regulating flying of drones are different across the globe. Before embarking on your journey, do some research. Understand what laws regulate drone activity in the specific region you are visiting. Understand the types of drone that are accepted and ones not allowed. Even if you have viewed the laws in the past, it is your responsibility to check for updates because these laws keep changing.
Different countries have different laws regarding drones. For example, drone flying is permitted in countries like Namibia except around game parks. In other countries like Egypt, it is illegal to fly a drone and you can get arrested for defying this rule.
Doing background research has been made simple by the internet. You can find all information you need about a specific region by doing a simple internet search.
Appropriate traveling case
It is recommended that you use a hard shell traveling case to carry your drone. When choosing a case to carry your drone, choose one that will offer protection to your drone. The traveling case should be able to accommodate the drone and its accessories. A drone’s accessories include:
- LiPo batteries
- remote control
- FPV goggles
The carrying case should also be waterproof to protect the water sensitive drone accessories.
Know the type of batteries you are carrying
There are rules and regulations that apply to traveling with a drone’s Li-Po batteries. It is safe to remove all the batteries from the drone and its transmitter and keep them in a safe separate bag that you will check in. LiPo batteries can be hazardous to carry around as they react to changes in pressure and altitude.
The lithium battery is prohibited by most airlines in carrying on luggage and are subject to many regulations. These rules, however, do not regulate Lithium batteries less than 100 watt hours. No more than 160-watt-hours may be approved by an airline to be carried on board. The batteries require being individually protected from short circuiting and causing a fire. Therefore it is advisable to use fireproof battery porches.
Many drones use batteries in the 100-watt hour (Wh) category so don’t trouble yourself carrying batteries with over 160-watt hours. If the watt-hours rating is not shown in your batteries you can self-calculate it by multiplying voltage and current to get the watt-hours. Don’t carry fully charged batteries to board a plane. Discharge your battery up to 20 – 30%.
Bring along a repair kit
A repair kit is important because your drone can be damaged as you transport or use it. Repair tools can come in handy when making light repairs, for example, removing dust and sand from the body. There are components of your drone that will need to be inspected or upgraded on a regular basis.
For example, the motors. You will need to examine the motors regularly. Ensure the motors are dust free. Listen to the sound your drone makes as you turn on the throttle. If the sound coming from the motors is not right, you will need to inspect your drone and see if all the motors are functioning.
It is important to check the motor mounts to see if there are any cracks or stress joints. For a new drone, examine areas in the motor mounts where the screws are placed. Sometimes drone parts do not function because the screws are wound too tight to the body frame.
Carry spare parts
Nothing can be really disappointing and frustrating than traveling to your destination only to realize you do not have any spare parts. A small component may not be functional or damaged. Carry spare parts or extra components. Carry extra propellers. Propellers are responsible for keeping your drone afloat. Most of these propellers are made of plastic or carbon fiber. Carrying an extra set is a good practice in case any of the propellers get damaged. It is not recommendable for you to fly a drone with a damaged propeller because it will make the drone to crash.
Bigger drones may require ‘helicopters like skids’ attached to the body to help in launching and landing. Small drones, on the other hand, do not need a hanging payload or landing gear. A retractable landing gear can also be used to keep your drone free from dust. Most drones are not waterproof, it is important that you keep the spare parts and main body free from water. Ensure all landings are soft for instance on grass because a hard landing can damage internal body parts.
Don’t make a show using your drone
Don’t flaunt your drone while carrying it! This will only attract unwanted attention. Flying your drone in public areas can create conflicts. Drones can attract unwanted attention even from the airport staff which can delay you. From the public, there could be fears of spying. There are also privacy issues that could be violated with drone usage. It is prohibited to fly a drone above gatherings and crowds. This is because the drone can potentially cause injuries if it malfunctions and crushes.
You can be confronted and this will lead to arguments with the locals. Nobody would want this happening to them. It is advisable to fly your drone stealthily so that no one can really know where you are flying it from. This can be done from inside your car. You can be up to a mile away from your drone because drones are programmed to automatically return if you happen to go out of the drone’s range.
Recharging your batteries
Each drone battery gives you on average 18 to 25 minutes of flight time. It takes an average lithium battery one hour twenty minutes to be fully charged. This requires you to plan in advance locations where you can recharge your batteries and the time you will spend.
Because these batteries drain so fast and take a considerably long time to be fully charged, it is advisable that you bring extra parts to enable you to take longer flights. If you will be using a car, bring an inverter yo help you charge the batteries in the car.
Take advantage of attention from locals to interact
Flying a drone in a new area is sure to attract attention from locals. That applies everywhere from cities to small towns. In some areas, people get curious because nobody has ever seen a drone before.
Drones are still a new concept and they can be quite interesting. Don’t shun the attention received, use it as an opportunity to interact with the local residents. Get to explore and experience new cultures. If you are a photographer, the locals can show you breathtaking areas to take unique photographs.
Fly your drone in your line of sight
Keeping your drone in your line of sight while flying it is great because you can also see what the drone is capturing. You also get to fly the drone in first person module.
Keeping the drone in a line of sight is very important in case its signal or charge dies. This is because you can manually track the drone bringing it back home to you. Imagine the signal dying and you can’t see it, that will be frustrating.
Be extra careful in cold temperatures
Most commercial drones are designed to operate in temperatures above the ice’s melting point – 0 degrees Celsius. If you are traveling to a cold region where temperatures can go below 0 degrees Celsius, you need to be very careful. If the drone gets too cold, it’s battery will die mid-air and it’ll free fall from the sky and get damaged.
When in a cold country, keep the batteries warm because cold temperatures drain the batteries’ charge. You can do this by wrapping them in an insulator or keep them in your pockets.