Being part of the drone industry has many benefits. However, the reality is as a drone pilot you have many enemies that are trying keep you grounded or knock you out of the sky outright! Some of your enemies are life forms, some are inanimate objects! Whatever the case is this list will help you identify these enemies as well as solutions.
I chose not to omit criminals because it is too obvious of a danger. In addition, I omitted the FAA from this list, since they are the governing body of the airspace of the United States and its territories, it serves as both, friend and foe.
Buildings pose the obvious challenge of being high and strong enough to obliterate a drone.
But a hidden challenge that buildings pose is magnetic interferences. Magnetic interferences can cause a lost link (losing a connection between your drone and the monitor), this can cause quite a panic for the even the most seasoned drone pilot. This is a common occurrence when flying near or around skyscrapers.
This is where a visual line of sight becomes very important when flying around large buildings and structures.
You just got a major gig to shoot a hotel or a car dealership. You show up to the spot, set up, turn the app on, and right when you’re about to get airborne the app keeps you grounded. Reason being you forgot to do your homework and a small airport about a mile away is preventing take off.
The solution, obtain a waiver for airspace authority and contact the tower prior to taking off. Skyward.io is my favorite application when it comes to figuring out the airspace before an intended drone operation.
In a broader sense, airports possess the overall biggest risk to the drone community. All it takes is for one airplane to be diverted, or worse an airplane crash due to a drone can potentially ground the drone industry for good.
8. Chatty Onlookers
While it is great to be an ambassador for the drone industry, sometimes I just want to fly in peace!
Chatty onlookers mean well (most of the time) and are just curious but sometimes they can be distracting. If you need optimal focus I would politely tell them that you are open to answering any questions, as soon as you land your drone.
7. The Weather
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and it is the one entry where the drone pilot has zero control of.
Different regions in the United States offer different weather struggles…except California. The East Coast and Midwest pilots have to deal with long and cold winters. Pilots such as myself in the Southeast have to deal with unpredictable tropical weather systems on a daily basis.
And no matter where you live, there are still the daily potential weather occurrences of rain and strong winds.
Whatever the case is always to check the weather report the day before and day of your intended flight.
6. Tight Spaces
Sometimes a drone pilot does not have the luxury the to take off in an open field and must resort to taking off and landing in a tight space. While this is doable, this should be more utilized by experienced pilots, not from those who just opened their new drone out the box.
My advice? Thoroughly know and practices your aircrafts controls and orientations.
This is a more of a personal entry of mine but one day I was flying my drone and when I landed it was covered with at least a dozen bees.
Luckily they left after about 15 minutes. But with the noise that drones cause and the fact that can fly may cause an irritant to bees and trigger a defense. So just a word of cautions to the drone community.
Birds like bees are very similar in that they are not fans of sharing the skies with unmanned aerial vehicles. However, unlike bees, birds can bring a drone down.
There are actually countless videos of birds playing the role of nature’s surface to air missiles on drones encroaching on their territory.
My advice, maintain VLOS and if you see birds acting in an aggressive motion land immediately.
For me trees are very fairly easy to maneuver, they are easy to spot and once you’re above the treeline you are in the clear.
However, I have seen many posts on craigslist and forums about how they need help getting their drone out of a tree.
In addition, tree harbor other enemies of the drone pilot, birds nests, and beehives!
When your drone is in the air, powerlines are the grand and ultimate enemy of your aerial operations. Especially when you live and fly in a highly dense city they are everywhere!
Not only that, unlike trees which are pretty visible, power lines are thin and hard to spot on your monitor. Sometimes they have an optical illusion, wherein they may look like they are close, when in actuality are far away or vice versa.
1. The Drone Itself
That’s right, the drone itself. I can’t imagine any devices that represents Murphy’s Law more than a drone, “what can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment”.
Here are a couple of issues that I have dealt with it or heard about during a drone operation: loss links, unable to get a GPS lock, unable to connect to your controller, gimbal and/or camera issues, loss of a propeller (which equals loss of the drone), and worst of all…the dreaded fly away.
While flying drones is an unparalleled experience, the fact of the matter is that you will have issues with your drone in the field at some point.
Thank you for reading, I am sure I missed a couple of enemies of the drone pilot so feel free to add more in the comment section!