It’s that time of year again. The snow has gone, the days are growing longer and the not-so-friendly flying conditions of winter are fading away.
Which means it’s time to dust off your drone, pack away the gloves and hit the skies once again.
From scheduling updates to scouting new locations, here are a few pilot tips to get your spring flights off to the perfect start.
Flying in the cold, rain and snow isn’t very fun, so plenty of pilots pack away their drone gear for the winter.
If you fit into that category, brace yourself for the avalanche of software updates that have probably been pushed out by your drone manufacturer in the meantime.
Firmware updates can be larger than expected and often take a long time to download and install. So make sure you set aside some time (and WiFi bandwidth) the night before you plan to fly. The last thing you want is to be grounded on the day because of a hefty and unexpected update.
Plan your flights and account for the light
Once those updates are out of the way, it’s a good idea to refamiliarize yourself with the controls, as well as the menus and options of whatever application you’re using. It’s probably been a while since you last took your drone for a spin.
Your drone’s updates might also mean there are new features to try out or that certain options have moved from one place to another, so take time to look through the patch notes.
Once that’s dealt with, spring is the best time of year to hone your flight planning. Although the snow and showers have mostly subsided, the weather can still be temperamental. The extent of that will obviously depend on where you live, but why not use that uncertainty to improve as a pilot?
Whether you’re carrying out DroneBase missions or flying for fun, planning flights ahead of time can help you get the drone photography you need quickly and, more importantly, ensure that a change in the conditions doesn’t ruin your day.
Use an app like Hover to check your local weather forecasts and wind speeds, alongside an app like Sun Surveyor, which tells you what the position of the sun and light conditions will be like in your chosen spot.
Do something new
Spring is the season of renewal, so why not take the time to discover some new locations with creative potential?
The longer days give you enough leeway to head out on the weekend and take your drone to somewhere you haven’t flown before. Nearby mountains, lakes, rivers are shorelines are always great starting points.
As ever, the best subjects for aerial photography involve scale and contrast: ice with blue skies, treetops with a vivid sunset, sweeping landscapes.
But being original doesn’t have to involve a new location. You could just try mixing up the way you film or take photos. Naturally, a drone gives you access to every shooting angle you can imagine. Depending on what you fly, there’s also almost certainly a bunch of flight modes that you’re yet to explore to their full potential.
So why not try creating a hyperlapse, tracking a subject or designing a flight path around a point of interest? All of these flight modes are growing more sophisticated with every update and new model. So see what they can do.
All of that drone exploration is going to take a toll on your batteries. Read our recent post for tips on how you can extend your flight times and a look at the future of drone flights.