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Losing a drone is one of the worst things that can happen when flying your drone. Due to the nature of drones, you can see a $1000+ investment fly away in a matter of minutes, never to be seen again by only making a small error. In this article I explain how to avoid losing your drone.
First I will start of by saying one thing we recommend to all new drone users. Start out by buying and flying one of our beginner drones extensively. These drones range in price from $20 to $100 and such a slip up will end up with much less frustration and much less monetary loss versus losing a DJI Phantom for example with your GoPro camera attached. By flying these extensively for many hours you will gain the experience you need in order to be a strong drone flyer and much less likely to lose your more advanced expensive drone in a flyaway.
In a recent study, the Wall Street Journal said that 1 of every 3 drone users surveyed had reported a flyaway. Unfortunately these flyaways either end up in a total loss of the drone or a recovery with very expensive repairs. You should try to avoid flying over bodies of water or near areas with many obstacles and people until you are very confident flying your drone.
Many drones have technology allowing drones to lock their home location before they take off. You should leave your drone on the ground for a reasonable amount of time prior to takeoff and allow it to lock the GPS coordinates of its home location. Many users who have taken off right away after powering on have discovered that in times of emergency when they activate the return to home feature the drone heads to the last location it registered as being home, potentially a different field or location you flew at weeks ago that may be miles away. The drone heads in this direction before running out of power and crashing, potentially into a body of water, crowds or over a roadway.
Another big reason users lose their drones to flyaways is due to them losing orientation. Once the drone is far enough away many novice users struggle to figure out what way it is facing and struggle returning its orientation to come back to them. This results in a flyaway most of the time and is one reason users should practice flying with beginner drones prior to using more advanced drones. Another thing drone owners can do to prevent loss of orientation is attach either different colored legs for instance to the front or back of their drone, allowing the front or back to stand out versus the opposite side to drone pilots on the ground.
Software glitches are another problem that can cause users to lose their drone. You should ensure your drone software is always up to date to prevent a flyaway.
Lost connections can also cause users to lose their drone. Drone users should be aware of the range of their drone and how far that is before they fly their drone. By flying your drone beyond its range and losing connection you will have a very hard time regaining control of your drone again and being able to perform a safe landing.
Interference is a big reason users lose their drone. You should be aware of the frequency of your drone and any potential interference in the area you are flying in. Interference can cause a loss of control of the drone and cause the drone to perform erratic actions, and possibly lead to it either flying away or crashing.
As drone technology matures there will likely be more and more innovations in this field to prevent flyaways. Until then however you should take the precautions noted above. One thing many of our customers have told us works for them to help during a flyaway is to attach a Tile tracker, which you can buy here for $25 for your drone. Attaching one of these helps find your drone in the case of a flyaway, a small investment that may save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.