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General Drone / UAV / RPAS FAQs

The questions we get asked all the time!

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 a UAS fly?

The main limiting factors here are your radio’s range and your battery life. Dependant on the flying conditions and your equipment standard 2.4GHz 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.

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM PAYLOAD OF A 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 A DRONE?

The best place to fly is an open area where you do not endanger other people, animals or property.  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.  Also, you need to seek permission of the land owner for access to their land.

WHAT POWER SUPPLY DO DRONES USE?

Most 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.  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.

Can the drones fly in rain?

The brushless motors that are fitted to most UAS can operate in light rain. The flight controller, ESC and other electronics should not get wet.   Unless the unit is weather rated 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 UAS 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.

Can a UAS 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.