Drone Tips and Tricks
With winter winding down here in Calgary, the days are usually nice but this is Canada, and we all know that the weather can change quickly. This is some good info on how to fend off the cold next season, or fend off those chilly mornings around spring time.
#1 is number 1. The pilot has to be comfortable, this means put on multiple layers so you can shed some as needed. A parka that you overheat in over a t shirt that you would get chilled in isn't going to be ideal. Very light gloves (ones that are touchscreen compatible), or better yet purpose built transmitter gloves / cover can be used to keep your finger tips warm. Make sure to use a transmitter neck strap to hold the transmitter, the less you clamp your muscles to hold the weight the more blood flow you will have in your fingers.
#2 Keep the drone warm as long as possible. Keep the drone in the car or sealed in the case as ling as you can. On models like the phantom you can add covers like tape to the vents so the drone keeps some of the heat generated by the battery and electronics inside the body.
#3 Batteries: LiPo batteries do NOT do well when they are cold. Some manufacturers like DJI have temperature sensors in the batteries that will not let you fly if they are too cold. Keep them in the car or in your jacket so they start at room temperature or above. Be careful not to cook them in the car, do not leave them on the dash. When you start up hover for 1-2 minutes to make sure the battery has a good charge and is up to operating temperature. Land with more battery remaining then you normally would 20-30% is a good level.
#4 Camera settings, if it is snowy out the camera may underexpose the shot unintentionally. It is good practice to set the exposure slightly above 0. Make sure to use a white balance as auto might make the scene too blue. Always check your photos, DJI makes is very easy to see the photos in the app while the drone is still flying.
#5 Use Filters! Too many people complain about the jello effect, or bad quality videos. If it is bright out, and especially when it is snowy there is too much light coming into the lens, the way the camera compensates is by increasing shutter speed. To get better video you need ND filters, they act like "sunglasses" for the camera lens. More on the use of ND filters in our post on ND filter use for drones.