Flying drones in winter can be a very hectic experience as the weather does not favor flying a drone. Because of the low temperature and cold wind, you need to be extra careful while flying your drone in winter. Or else these can be a threat to your drone and can destroy your drone in no time. In this article, we are going to share some useful tips on how to fly a drone in winter. This guide will teach you how to have a safe flight and some amazing shots during winter. Before flying your drone in winter, check out this article so you can prevent your drone from hampering.
Can I fly My Drone in Winter?
It can be pretty challenging to fly your drone in heavy fog or winter. After a lot of practice, you will be able to fly your drone. So, yes, drones can fly in snow and winter conditions if you maintain some tips properly. Heavy snow can damage your drone, yet it is safer to fly in the snow than in the rain.
Regardless of the tips and maintenance of your drone in winter, remember that snow is not good for your drone. Because it hits the battery and impacts flight performance. So we leave it to you whether you want to take a risk to capture great photos or not.
How Much Temperature is Harmful?
Drones can fly from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Flying outside that range may hamper your drone’s performance. However, if you take proper care and maintain some tips, your drone can handle the cold weather and fog, giving you some nice shots!
The Effect of Extreme Cold on Flight Performance
A drone’s performance depends on the air’s density. Engines are more efficient in cold air, but extreme cold can affect your drone’s performance. The main problem you will face when flying a drone in cold weather is the effect of low temperatures on your drone’s batteries. This will lead your drone to lose power faster, even 50% faster in some cases. You will even lose sight of your drone depending on the thickness of the fog. So you should first consider not risking flying your drone in the heavy fog.
Drone Care and Maintenance During Winter
Battery Care and Maintenance
The first issue you are going to face while flying your drone in the winter is battery issues. Cold temperatures reduce the chemical activity in Lithium batteries. So, the battery becomes unstable and your drone may fall out of the sky without any warning.
That’s why we always suggest checking your drone’s battery health if they are functioning before taking off. Always have enough charge before taking a flight. Moreover, check if the batteries are at room temperature(20ºC)(68°F). Never charge a battery at or below 0ºC. It can lead to an explosion, so wait until batteries reach room temperature before charging. You may read our article on how to extend drone battery life.
Checking Up on the Environment
Blurry vision and snow can be the danger behind shooting spectacular winter scenery. It’s essential to take the right precautions. Always check the weather conditions before flying a drone. This is applicable for the winter season and every weather so that you can avoid strong wind, rain, and snow. Never fly in temperatures below 0°C (32°F). Try to avoid contact with snow as the moisture of the snow can damage the motors. Always use a landing pad and make sure your GPS signal is strong.
You can capture the beauty with the right camera settings. You need to set camera exposure and white balance. If you shoot in auto mode, it can give you dark images. Because the camera’s exposure can underexpose snow. You get the right compensation for snow shots by adding stops. All you need to do is adjust the white balance to get the right color balance of the snowy landscape. Otherwise, the picture may look grey because of the snow.
Keeping the Drone Warm
In the winter season, always try to keep the drone warm as long as possible. Keep the drone sealed in the case to keep it warm. Not only does your drone, being an operator, but you also need to be warm too. So, dress appropriately before flying your drone. Wear a pair of touchscreen gloves that allow you to use your touchscreen controller. Dress in warm layers for long flights.
Keep Your Drone Away From Moisture
This tip should not be taken only in winter but also every season while flying a drone. However, In the winter season, the risk of moisture increases, which can be harmful to your drone.
If the snow is on the ground, take off and land on a dry surface. It can be a drone landing pad, your backpack, or any other dry surface. If you have someone with you, ask for help from them to receive the drone directly in their hands while landing. Flying in clouds should be avoided too. The moisture from the cloud can hamper your drone.
Plan Your Flight Path
Plan your flight location before you travel. Create an image or video shot list to avoid flying in difficult locations such as over water, wind, or ice. Keep the weight minimum by avoiding any additions. It will give you the maximum out of the aircraft’s batteries in the cold weather. Ensure your pre-flight checklist, your propellers.
Best Drones for Cold Weather
Here we have listed some popular drones that can fly in optimal flight temperatures-
- DJI Phantom 4: The most popular drone to fly in winter is DJI Phantom 4. Phantom 4 series can safely operate at 32°F (0°C). But, if you are regularly flying in below-freezing temperatures there are many more rugged options out there. It can fly in 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)
- Yuneec Typhoon: Your regular drone may not fly in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while Yuneec Typhoon can fly in temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Typhoon H Plus’s battery lasts up to thirty minutes. Moreover, it has a wind resistance of up to 35 MPH which is great for people looking for a drone to fly in winter.
- DJI Mavic Pro: DJI series drones don’t recommend flying your drone in strong wind, rain, and snow, and in temperatures below 0°C (32°F). However, they are designed to give you a nice performance in 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)
- DJI Inspire Pro: Some DJI drones like the Inspire Pro, have heated batteries. But it still recommends using a landing pad to prevent snow from getting into your motors. The drone can fly in 14°F to 104°F (-10°C to 40°C)
Also Read: How to Take Care of Your Drone
Flying your drone in the winter and heavy fog is pretty adventurous if you can fly properly and maintain some rules. Safe flying in winter is a must to keep in mind if you want your precious drone to last longer. By following these tips, you will be able to operate your drone safely. Make sure they are warm, charged fully, monitor battery voltage, and check out the equipment. Thus you’ll keep flying safely no matter how bad the weather is!