In this lesson, you will learn some tips for flying in cold weather. Tips include:
- Keeping drone batteries warm
- Keeping mobile phone devices warm
- Drone thermal insulation stickers
- Battery warmers
- Hand warmers
In this video, I will give you some tips for flying in cold weather.
The biggest challenge of cold weather flying is keeping your batteries warm enough to function properly. This last winter, I was flying my Inspire 1 in freezing temperatures, and I experienced a full power failure. Cold air is less dense than warm air, and so it takes more power for your drone to maintain flight.
The cold also decreases the efficiency of your batteries. So, right before my power failure, I was putting the drone into a climb, and this put a strain on the battery and the voltage dropped enough for the battery to shut off in mid-flight and this caused the Inspire 1 to fall nearly 100 feet. The drone impacted the soft snow but the crash was hard enough to fracture both of my motor booms. Luckily, the issue was covered under warranty and DGI fixed my Inspire 1 for free. And DGI has since upgraded the firmware to help protect against this situation, the battery voltage causing a shutdown in cold weather. The motor output is now limited to avoid the situation.
To help with this issue, there are also thermal insulation stickers and battery warmers, that are available, to keep your batteries warm. I highly recommend using these for flying in cold weather.
Here’s another quick tip on the shoot I did last winter in Moab, Utah. I brought a few dozen hand warmers, that I put inside my Inspire 1 case, next to the batteries, and that kept the batteries warm while they were outside. This seemed to help quite a bit. That can keep the batteries warm, then put them in and not have any issues.
Another thing to consider is your mobile phone’s performance in cold weather. So, I have the iPhone 6 and it’s a all-aluminum body, and that causes it to lose heat really rapidly when it’s outside. I mounted it to a drone transmitter and I had a full battery, but the battery dropped to almost dead in a matter of just minutes, because it was so cold outside.
If you’re using your phone or mobile device to control your drone, it can be just as essential to keep it warm as your drone batteries. And so, in the past, I’ve used a rubber band to strap a hand warmer on the backside of my phone and that kept it warm enough to keep the battery going, while using it to control my drone.
So, remember to keep your batteries warm and don’t fly as aggressively in cold weather as you would in warm weather. The additional power drop from your batteries can cause a shutdown mid-flight and we want to avoid this.