If you are a drone user, one thing which you have to know is how to avoid losing your drone or how to find a lost drone if it happens.
In fact, according to one of GPS tracking companies, almost 30% of cuadcopter pilots lose their gadgets forever. And to lose your drone is not a very pleasant thing since many people buy rather expensive models and use them for work as well.
The main reason your quadcopter gets lost is that they can sometimes lose connection. Rather often they are found easily, but from time to time tracking your drone’s location down may seem challenging.
Although the best solution to this issue is to use a special tracker, you can find it without applying any additional features. Below we have covered some advice for quadcopter pilots who have lost a drone and don’t know how to deal with this problem.
Why Your Drone Can Get Lost
Actually, there are several reasons why you may have to search for your quadcopter specifically. It’s highly recommended to understand these reasons since this knowledge will help you to find your lost drone.
The Connection Gets Dropped
When the connection drops, it blocks the controls as well as turns off the live camera feed. The drop of the connection can lead to a crash. First of all, you should consider the direction where your drone was going when the connectivity was lost.
You also need to think whether there are any obvious buildings and constructions which your quadcopter could have bumped into and examine the area around them. And, of course, you should check the app you use for the last GPS marker.
Some later models of drones are supplied with fail-safe functions, which prevent drones from getting lost for good. When all the needed settings of such functions are done, with the loss of connection the drone can stay in place or get back to the home point. In other words, if you lose the life feed, it can actually show that the drone is going to the home point, and you haven’t lost the gadget.
If There Is Any Interference Or Fault
Occasionally some fault or interference can disrupt the drone controls. The drone because of this can fly off.
First of all, you should check your app where you can see the last location marker.
If you think that there might be some error, the best idea is to upload the flight logs to the producer of the drone so that they can check the flight logs whether there are any errors. If they find anything while looking through the flight logs, you can receive a refund or a replacement of your gadget.
Dealing With Challenging Terrain
If there has happened an accident over terrain which is too difficult to navigate, you don’t have many opportunities to find your drone, so you can think of buying a new one.
If your drone goes into deep water such as a lake or a sea, you won’t be able to use it again and even to find it in many cases. Another place where you can lose your drone forever is dense woods. Although you can understand where it is located, you actually can’t get there physically.
The Battery Is Running Out
In fact, this situation can be easily avoided, so we would like to recommend every drone user to make sure that the battery has the full charge before applying the drone and to regularly check the battery during the flight.
Nowadays many models of drones, especially those which have a high price, have the return to home feature which works if the drone battery is low. This means that the drone will go home before the power of the drone runs out. But you have to make sure that the lost drone doesn’t fly too far and can go through this distance back home.
Bad Weather Conditions
Another situation which you can avoid is using your drone in poor conditions. You should always take into account that such things as rain and wind can cause some problems with your drone, especially if you fly the quadcopter somewhere high in the sky. It also should be remembered that weather conditions can change too quickly.
Some modern models of drones acquire built-in features which don’t allow you to fly the drone in bad weather conditions. For instance, DJI quadcopters set in the beginner mode won’t fly if the wind is too strong in the place you want the drone to fly.
How To Find Your Lost Drone
Below we would like to cover some features related to the search in case you have lost your drone. You will learn how to prevent the gadget from going away as well as how to deal with the problem when the drone has already gone.
Use A Tracker To Find The Drone
If you haven’t dealt with the problem of a lost drone yet, the best advice you can follow is to buy a special drone tracker. The GPS tracker gives you an opportunity to pinpoint an accurate search area. This means that you will have more chances to track your lost gadget with this equipment.
A standard tracker usually costs about $80. If you buy a cheaper tracker model, it will work on a SIM card which provides coordinates when it’s needed. Many other models which are more expensive obtain a cellular connection to be able to use Google Maps. Besides, such a type of connection will provide a precise and real-time position.
The search within this tracker also considers such flight features as duration, speed, distance and altitude. In other words, the tracker will show the most precise drone’s location for you to be able to locate it.
Some tracker models offer a free app with browser tracking. The range of available trackers is rather wide so that anyone can find a model according to their budget and preferences. Some tracker models happen to be waterproof.
How To Find A Lost Drone Without A Tracker
If you haven’t bought a tracker yet, there are still some tips which you can use searching for your lost drone without a tracker. You can understand that you have lost your gadget when you lose the video feed. Of course, it can’t fly away too far.
This idea happens to be a preventive measure if you don’t want to lose the drone forever. When at the moment of flying the drone you see that the image is choppy, you should screen cap right away. We should take into account that this method can be applied only to drones which obtain cameras.
When you have a screen capture, you can understand the drone’s last known spot where your drone was before the loss of connection. So you can use this visual addition to other ideas mentioned below.
Keep The Controller On
If you have already lost your drone, use the controller when you look for your gadget. We should keep in mind that this method won’t work if the battery of the drone loses its power or gets damaged. However, this step should be the first one when you start searching. You should press the return button so that at some point the controller can reconnect and the drone will get back, although it can take some time.
You can check the telemetry information in your controller, and if you notice that they are going down, you can understand that your drone is returning. Just don’t forget to look above when you are searching for the gadget.
What should you look for? Try to notice some places where your drone can get stuck or what it can bump into. For instance, a drone can get caught by tree branches.
If you haven’t found the drone, you can use some other tips mentioned further.
Do The Search At Night
If you are a happy owner of the second quadcopter or drone, you can use it in your search. Even if you don’t obtain it, you can rent the gadget you need. In fact, one of the easiest ways to seek is to do it from the air. It’s even better to search for the lost drone when the sun goes down.
When you do the search on goot, you have to try to notice the light and sound produced by your drone. If the battery of the drone is still active, you might hear its propellers producing a buzzing noise. If the gadget is stuck somewhere between tree branches, it can make a racket. In addition to this, you may catch sight of the anti-collision lights of your drone.
If it doesn’t help, you shouldn’t worry. Still there are a few things which you can try in order to find your lost drone.
Using the “Lost” Posters
If you have lost the drone and did everything but couldn’t find it, you can try this widely known method. Of course, it may seem embarrassing for you, but this has already happened, so you need to try all the tips so that you can find your drone.
You should print and nail up some poster about your lost drone around the place where you have lost it. It’s actually better to use a photo or a picture of your drone to make the search easier.
Look Through Online Marketplaces
As we mentioned using the posters, there are a lot of people who are honest enough to help you with your search. However, there happen to be unscrupulous people who can find your drone and place it on eBay or any local online marketplace for selling.
If you obtain the serial number of your lost gadget, it’s easier to find it. You can contact the person who is selling the drone and give them all the information concerning your drone. We suppose that they will agree to return you your drone instead of contacting the police officer.
File A Police Report
Another thing which you are advised to do is to file a report at your local police department. You should add the description of your quadcopter and include the serial number as well as the FAA registration number. If anyone hands in your drone to the police, they will be able to give it back to yourself.
Install The Find My Drone App
Find My Drone happens to be a free app which can be installed on iOS and connect your iPhone to the drone. This app will give you a helping hand in finding your lost drone even if it is out of range.
This app finds your quadcopter and shows you the way to its location. To do this the app applies the MAVlink protocol. In fact, this is the protocol which is used in many widely known open source autopilot programs.
Another feature which this app has is a map view of the location of your lost drone. The program also gives you the information concerning the battery level of your drone as well as the current status. If the drone runs out of battery power, the app will show you the last received location coordinates. The telemetry information may help you to find your quadcopter even if there is no signal now.
The app also offers a Manual Mode which gives you an opportunity to look for your drone using another autopilot or telemetry.
If you acquire a DJI drone, you can use the free DJI GO app. The app obtains the Find My Drone function, so you don’t need any other special app. With this app you will be able to track your drone flights.
In other words, you can see that there are several apps which allow you to find a lost drone.
Useful Tips: How to Find a Lost Drone
In this video you will learn what you can do yourself if your drone has got lost, failed to return home, had a flyway, made an emergency remote landing, lost signal or crashed in a town or forest.
How To Get The Drone Out Of A Tree
In fact, the most common reason for losing the drone is that it gets into the branches or limbs of the tree and gets stuck. Of course, the tree can be small and you can take the drone off yourself. However, most trees are too high for simple climbing.
You can use a ladder but sometimes you don’t have an opportunity to bring one to the needed tree. Below we would like to cover some tips on how you can take the drone off the tree.
Slingshot And Fishing Line
Actually, it’s not the only efficient way to snag your quadcopter but it happens to be rather fun. Many drone pilots are acquainted with this method and carry the needed supplies with them in their car or any other vehicle in order to be able to apply them in case this accident happens.
You can attach fishing line and weights to a slingshot to knock the drone loose or catch it using the line and pull it away from the branches. Another way is to use a fishing pole but you can face the issue of casting up the tree.
Invite A Tree Trimmer
Tree trimmers usually have special useful gear which gives them an opportunity to climb trees so as to remove branches and limbs more easily and safely.
If your drone has got stuck near a large limb or branch, a tree trimmer will be able to help you with getting it back. However, if there are some smaller branches on a tree, a tree trimmer in most cases won’t be able to get there. Although a trimmer can cut these branches in case the tree is yours, your quadcopter may fall down and get broken.
Rent A Bucket Truck
If you live close to or in a medium or large city, there may be an opportunity to find a rental company which offers bucket trucks. In many cases such a company can do this task for you, but you will have to pay additional money.
At Last – Calling The Fire Department
If you have tried any other ways to get your drone out of tree branches and have failed, you can try to call the local fire department so that they could help you.
Actually, it’s not the best idea to call them since they may have a lot of other important tasks such as saving anyone’s life from fire. However, they will be able to try and help you if they don’t have any tasks at the moment.
And, in addition to this, you should take into account that there is no 100% guarantee that they will get your drone out of the limbs.
What You Should Do So As Not To Lose Your Drone
We also would like to cover several features which will help you to do all that you can to avoid losing your drone. Just don’t forget that these features work for making less possibility but not avoiding at all.
Install The Search App
We have mentioned two of the most widely used apps which will help you in the search of your drone. They are DJI GO and Find My Drone. There are also some other options, so you can use which of them you like.
Get A GPS Tracker
We have already noted that a GPS tracker will be very useful. There is a wide range of them on the market so you will have a lot of options to choose from according to your needs and wishes. Some of them, actually, are installed in the drone and are connected to the drone battery. Therefore, if the battery is low, you won’t be able to use the tracker.
In addition to this, usually external trackers are waterproof, so it’s a good option to spend your money on. If your quadcopter gets into a retention pond, the waterproof GPS tracker will be able to give you the location of your drone.
Set The RTH
We just would like to remind everyone to set the Return to Home function so that you could use it in case you need to return your drone immediately. In fact, the best option is when you can buy a drone with the automatically launched function which starts working in case the drone battery is too low. Again,don’t forget to turn it on before flying.
Organise The Proper Lighting
Actually, it’s useful advice for any quadcopter, but it will be helpful especially if you use your drone in the dark time of the day. Besides, the properly set lighting will be extremely essential if you apply your quadcopter in bad weather conditions such as rain or fog. With good lighting you will see your drone better and farther.
Keep Your Drone In Sight
It’s better for you to keep your quadcopter or drone in your sight as long as it’s possible. In other words, always follow your gadget with your eyes so that there are less possibilities to lose it. In addition to this, it’s usually strongly recommended to keep the quadcopter not too far away from the home spot so that it can return quickly in case it’s running out of power.
There are more and more people in our world using drones and quadcopters. Therefore, every drone owner should know all the needed information concerning use of such gadgets.
First of all, since any drone can get lost while flying, its user is highly recommended to follow some preventive measures which help to reduce the possibility of losing the drone. It includes using a GPS tracker, special apps and some other tips and features.
In addition to this, even if you have done everything to keep your drone safe from being lost, it can still happen. For this occasion we have listed the measures which you can implement searching for your quadcopter. If you know how to find a lost drone, you won’t need to buy a brand new one in case your quadcopter flies away and you lose connection with it. If you just find a lost drone, you can continue using it without any issues.
Actually, the most common problem which many quadcopter owners face is that their drone gets stuck in tree branches. If the tree isn’t very big, you can take the drone off yourself by climbing it or using a ladder. If the tree is too high and you don’t have any ladders at hand, there are several ways how to deal with this case, which also have been described in the article above. Again, try to use all the methods but call your local fire department if all the other methods have failed and you haven’t anything else to do with it.
We hope that this article will be helpful for you and you will enjoy applying your drone without any issues and especially without the quadcopter getting lost.