General Drone / UAV FAQ's
What is the legal operation range?
Legislation and laws differ from country to country, but in most countries you operate the unit within line of sight and below 400 feet above ground level. It is the pilot's responsibility to know the laws of the areas he flies in.
Do you need a permit or license to fly a drone?
In some countries you do, in some, only if you use it commercially. Some countries you do not. Confirm with your local authorities before operating a drone. In the UK you need permission to fly commercially.
How high/far/long can the drone fly?
The main limiting factors here are your radio's range and your battery life. Dependant on the flying conditions and your equipment your radio will normally give you up to 1km of range, under ideal conditions as far as 1.5km. If the drone is operated in the auto mission mode you are not limited by the radio's range, when using this feature please make sure you fully understand it and that you are legally allowed to operate it in this manner. Battery life is dependent on the drone you are flying and the equipment you have on it. Also remember that your power consumption will be higher when traveling at speed thus decreasing your flight time. Altitude above sea level would also affect your battery life. So in other words we can't give an exact battery life time, it is advisable to test your battery life under your particular conditions. Always keep an eye on the battery life.
Do the units come with a camera?
Due to the wide variety of cameras used, it would be virtually impossible to sell the unit with a camera that would suit everybody's needs, also, many people already own a camera that they would like to use. We attempt to design the units to be versatile so that you can use the camera of your choice.
What is the maximum payload of the drone?
This depends on many factors such as the design of the drone, motors, propellers, electronic speed controllers (ESC), batteries and altitude above sea level. Please see the specifications for each model.
Where can you fly the drone?
The best place to fly is an open area where you do not endanger other people, animals or property. Also note that strong RF interference in the area might cause the drone to act erratically. It's helpful to start on a grass covered area to avoid damage to the drone should you go down.
What power source does the drone use?
The drones use Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery packs. Battery pack are made up out of a number of cells in series which determines the voltage of the battery, we mainly use 2S (7.4V, 2200mAh), 4S (14.8V, 4200mAh) and 10S (37V, 10 000mAh) battery packs. Battery packs also have different storage capacities measured in mAh. The higher the value the higher the capacity of the battery and also the bigger/heavier the battery will be.
What is the voltage range of the LiPo batteries?
LiPo batteries are shipped with a storage charge of around 3.85V per cell. Before the battery is used it should be fully charged to 4.2V per cell. LiPo batteries should not be depleted to below 3.3V per cell as this will damage the battery and make it potentially volatile. Please note that depending on the specific drone, flying conditions and payload you might not be able to use the battery down to 3.3V per cell as the drone might not be able to fly with the decreased power as this directly decreases the max RPM of the motors. Always make sure you leave enough head room to safely come in and land at the end of every flight.
Can you see the video on the ground?
Yes, there are a number of options for transmitting live video from the air to either a field monitor or video goggles on the ground. This allows you to frame your shots much better. You can also fly the drone by looking at this feed instead of directly at the drone, this is referred to as FPV or First Person View. Note that if flying fpv using goggles, by law you have to have someone with you acting as a "spotter" to ensure the drone is flying safely.
What is the max altitude?
This is affected largely by the drone, props used, payload, etc. Flight time will decrease the higher you go above sea level, the motors and the ESC will also become hotter in the same flight time compared to flying at sea level because of the need to spin faster. You will see a noticeable decrease in performance when going higher than 3000m above sea level. In the UK 400 feet is the maximum permitted height.
Can the drones fly in rain?
The brushless motors that are fitted to our drones can operate in light rain. The flight controller, ESC and other electronics should not get wet. The dome and foam enclosure does provide some protection in this regard so should it start raining while you are out flying you should be able to bring the drone back safely. We do not guarantee the units to fly in the rain.
What happens when you lose control with the radio?
If you lose control of the drone due to the signal between the radio and the drone being lost the drone will go into RTL (Return To Land) mode and return to where you took off from with the drone, that's if you had GPS lock when you took off. Similarly, if you lose control of the drone due to pilot error or visibility you can also activate this feature via a switch on the radio and the drone will also come home if this feature was activated in time and the drone has not suffered a crash.
How hard is it to fly a drone?
With the addition of fully stabilized flight controllers and the GPS capabilities of these controllers it has become much easier to operate these drones. Most people should be able to take off with a drone and keep it in the air. The difference comes when more advanced flying skills are required to navigate obstacles and getting that perfect shot, here nothing can replace good old practice and spending more time flying will only be to your advantage.
Are they dangerous?
The props of a drone can spin anywhere from 5000-15000 rpm and the edges of these props are fairly sharp making these spinning props potentially dangerous. It is therefore not advised to fly over people or fly where children or animals can run up to the drone when you land or take off.
What are drones used for?
The potential for drones is being recognized in numerous industries and the applications are ever growing. Drones are used for aerial photography, aerial video, surveillance, animal tracking, fire fighting, search and rescue, surveying, 3D mapping, industrial inspection, conservation, crop management, RC hobby and many more.
What happens when the battery runs out?
Drones rely on power to keep the props spinning, if the battery runs out, the drone will not be able to stay up any longer as multi-rotor drones cannot glide and will thus go down. Some systems do warn you when the batteries are getting low and some can even perform a Return to Home when batteries are nearing the end of their capacity but it is always the responsibility of the pilot to keep an eye on the battery life of his drone.
Can a drone complete a mission by itself?
Most of the flight controllers we use are capable of full autonomous missions all the way from takeoff, flying a grid for example and then returning home and landing completing a range of tasks along the way like taking photos for example. The drone can be monitored from the ground by tracking its progress with a ground control software or viewing a live video feed from the drone.