Losing a drone is one of the worst feelings in the world. It can happen to anyone, and it’s an awful feeling that will leave you feeling helpless. There are many ways on how to find a lost drone, some more effective than others. This article covers useful tips and methods for finding your lost or stolen drone, so you never have to feel this way again!
Reasons Why Drones Get Lost
Ok, so you have a new drone. You go out to record some amazing footage, and within a few minutes of flying, it goes missing. What happened?
New drone pilots tend to crash their drones frequently due to over-control or inexperience with the technology. A simple tip to avoid this is to take it slow and not hover until you have gained confidence in flying.
Low Battery Level
Most drones will give flight times between 7 and 30 minutes, which is often not enough time for a new pilot to get the perfect shot. A more experienced pilot will know how much time they have before their low battery alarm goes off, meaning they can prepare for landing.
Interference with other pilots, television signals, and radio frequency changes are just some of the problems that can cause a loss in signal between your drone and its remote control. Interference within the drone itself is also possible if you have electronic devices such as iPads/phones connected to the controller’s screen.
Some drones use 2.4 GHz frequency, which is what your home wifi runs on, and many of the same devices you have around your houses such as microwaves, cordless phones, wireless speakers, and even some baby monitors run on. Interference from these frequencies can occur when they are close enough to one another and can cause a loss in signal.
Heavy wind speeds, rain, and snow all affect a drone’s performance to some degree. The more advanced the drone, the harder it will be for these factors to be as much of a problem. But still, consider where you are flying your drone-a strong wind, or heavy rain means you need to find a safe place for your drone to land.
A small malfunction mid-flight can cause a critical failure in the drone’s navigation system, making it nearly impossible for the pilot to maintain control of their craft. This can be anything from a loose wire or faulty battery to something more serious like a full-on drone crash.
Continued use of your drone will go a long way towards understanding how it flies and what all its quirks are, but the beginning pilot may not know what they are doing and will be unable to handle many situations which others would be able to.
Most drones ship with a fairly wide aperture, and some lenses have problems with chromatic aberration. This is where the lens doesn’t focus all colors to the same focal point. While this may not affect your drone that much on its own, it can become a problem when clouds pass by, or you are recording video through tall grass.
Encountering Other Drone Fliers
Flying in an area shared with other drones can cause some problems. Not only is it illegal to fly near airports, but you are also putting yourself at risk of crashing into another drone.
Drone Camera Malfunctions
Sometimes, a camera won’t turn on or off when it’s supposed to. This may be due to faulty wiring or a loose connection to the drone.
Drone Was Stolen
While it may never happen to you, you should still be aware of those who mean to cause trouble with your drone. Many people are intimidated by drones in the sky and will do anything they can to try and steal it from you. It is also possible that they will damage your drone or take parts from it.
How to Find A Lost Drone
If your drone is missing, then the first thing that comes into mind is, “how can I locate my drone?” The good news is that there are many methods available for finding drones in case they get lost or stolen. However, not all these methods work at all times. So, before we proceed further with this guide, let us discuss some useful tips on finding a lost/stolen drone.
Use GPS Tracking Devices
GPS tracking devices have become very popular among people who use their drones for commercial purposes. A GPS tracker can help you pinpoint a precise search area so that you don’t waste time. These devices allow you to track where your flyaway drone goes as well as its speed.
They also provide information about the battery life left in it. If you lose your drone while flying over water bodies like lakes, rivers, etc., then using such a device will be helpful because it helps you know exactly what happened to your drone. It may even tell you if someone stole your drone from you.
Try Using Google Maps App
Google Maps app is another great tool that can prove extremely beneficial during emergencies. When you search for your drone’s exact location through the Google Maps application, you’ll receive detailed info about the area surrounding your drone. Moreover, you can view satellite images of the area too.
Use “Flight logs” In Your Drone App
Flight logs are a helpful feature that can be helpful to monitor the activity of your drone. This feature should probably make it into most other apps, as well!
Some drones like from DJI has “flight log” function that allows you to track all the information about how your craft was used and where it went during its time up in the air. It’s usually pretty nifty stuff – I’m surprised this isn’t more popular among people using their drones than commercial ones (commercials are always tracking data).
Call Up All Of Your Friends Who Fly Drones & Tell Them About What Happened
This tip works best when you don’t have friends who own drones. But still, you can try calling up your friends who do own one. Let them know about the situation and see if they can help you out by providing more details.
Use another drone to search for it
If you’re lucky, your drone still has some juice in it; wait until nightfall. Using the second drone, start making rounds across the general area where the other crashed. The down one should be easy to spot with lights blinking from above.
Get Help From Neighbors
Neighborhoods usually consist of people living together under one roof. So, if you live near neighbors, then you can approach them and seek their assistance. They might provide you some useful information regarding the theft of your drone. If you live in a neighborhood with drones, post on the drone community’s page to see if anyone would like to help find your lost pet or item.
Contact Local Police Station And Ask Them To Investigate
You should call the local police station and ask them to investigate the incident. Make sure that you mention everything clearly, including the location of the place where you saw your drone last.
Search Through Social Media Sites Like Facebook
Facebook is probably the most widely used social media site today. Millions of users post pictures of themselves along with their drones online. Thus, searching for your drone through Facebook is relatively easy.
Look At Pictures Posted By Other Users Online
If you’re lucky enough to get access to other user’s photos taken with their drones, then you can look into those pics. Sometimes, you’d come across interesting things like crashed drones, damaged propellers, etc.
Report Theft To Authorities Immediately
Once you’ve identified the thief, report him to the nearest law enforcement agency as soon as possible. This will ensure that he gets caught quickly and punished accordingly.
Don’t Lose Hope
Don’t lose hope because this doesn’t happen every day. If you follow all these tips mentioned above, there is no reason you shouldn’t recover your lost drone.
What to Do If You Lose Your Drone Over Water
The first thing you should do is make sure you know which direction your drone flew before losing sight of it. This is because if you swim towards your drone, it could potentially float away into deeper waters.
Next, look for any debris floating nearby. There might be something stuck under the surface, like a log or rock. Try to grab onto these objects, so they aren’t swept away by currents.
Once you have found something solid, try pulling it closer to shore. If you see a boat coming toward you, wave at them and ask them to come to pick you up. They probably won’t, though, so keep searching.
How To Make Sure You Never Lose Your Drone Again
Keep Your Drone In An Open Space
It is always better to keep your drone in open spaces rather than closed ones. This way, you can easily spot any suspicious activity around you. Also, when you fly your drone indoors, the chances are high that you might bump against something which could damage your drone. Therefore, keeping your drone outdoors would be a much safer option.
Check For Any Damages On Its Body Or Landing Gear
When you take off your drone, check whether there are any damages to its body or landing gear. If yes, then immediately contact the authorities so that they can investigate the matter.
Take Photos From Different Locations Around You
Take multiple photos from different locations around you. Then compare each photo carefully. That way, you can identify the exact location where your drone was stolen from.
Never Turn Your Controller Off
If you lose control over your drone while flying, don’t panic! It would help if you immediately shut down all functions on your controller before turning it off completely. This will prevent any accidental movements which could cause damage to your drone or yourself. Once you’ve turned off all controls, wait until everything stops moving before attempting to land safely.
Keep An Eye On Your Batteries
Your drone may have been lost because of a dead battery. So, ensure that your batteries are fully charged before taking flight. Always carry spare batteries along with you whenever you’re going somewhere new.
Always Use GPS tracking Software
GPS tracking software allows you to track your drone even after it loses signal. However, using such software requires patience since it takes time to locate your drone once it goes offline. But, if you want to save money, then buying one of those cheap drones won’t cost you anything.
Keep An Eye Out For Drone In Future
It may sound silly, but it helps in identifying the culprit. Once you find yourself flying over the same spot again, keep an eye out for your drone. It could mean that someone stole your drone while you were not looking at it.
Set Your RTH
The final piece of advice I can give you is setting your return home point. This is important because you want to get back to safety as soon as possible when you lose control over your aircraft. You don’t want to spend time looking around trying to figure out how to land safely.
I hope this article has been helpful in giving you some ideas on how to find your lost drone. Remember, if you ever lose yours or someone else’s, don’t hesitate to get in touch with local law enforcement and provide them with all available information about the missing device. And as always, fly safe!
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