Using Your Farm Drone
Whilst we assume you have basic knowledge on how to fly your drone, we'll first go over a few safety tips and best practices to keep your drone (and yourself) in one piece.
Whilst you will most likely be operating your drone in remote areas away from towns, cities and busy roads; you still need to be aware of the potential risks associated with operating a drone system, as they can not only affect other people, but yourself, livestock and of course the drone itself, which is worth a bit of money!
- Drone fly-away/out of control, rare, but know the procedures to go through.
- Drone falling out of the sky, rare! But be aware – don’t risk flying over people or roads for long periods of time.
- Contact with other aircraft – plan ahead and listen for them! Descend if in doubt.
- Crashing into objects – drones have anti-collision, but not in all directions! Plan ahead, be aware, fly well above obstacles – trees, pylons etc.
- Scaring livestock – only if you fly really close!
- Injuring yourself – make sure the props have stopped before getting near them!
- Use your common sense!
What Not to do
- Don’t fly above 400ft / 120m. (as of June 1st 2018 flying above 400ft is now illegal).
- Don’t lose sight of your drone – remember you can move while it’s flying!
- Don’t fly closer than 50m to the public without talking to them first (or putting a sign up).
- Don’t fly closer than 150m to any town or city, or lots of people, and don’t fly above either.
- Don’t fly close to airports without talking to air traffic control (even small airfields).
- Don’t fly beyond the limits of your drone (see pages below).
A note on the Law
- Anyone flying a drone system could potentially break the law if they endanger other people or aircraft – you are responsible as the pilot in control (PiC) – keep to the rules above.
- In the UK, if you are flying for commercial reasons, i.e. to make money, you need a license from the CAA to operate your drone. You also need public liability insurance, which we recommend anyway (ask your farm insurance provider).
- Laws vary around the world, here’s a good resource to find out more.
In addition to the safety guidelines, always fly your drone system within its stated capabilities to avoid any risk of system failure (i.e. a crash!). You can find info on the temperatures and wind speed etc. that your system can handle in the manual for that drone. However, as a general rule we'll list some recommendations on the next pages:
- Max wind speeds of 20mph, try to avoid gusty conditions, especially when mapping.
- Don’t fly in temperatures below 0°C or above 40°C (yeah okay, that won’t happen in the UK!).
- Don’t fly in the rain. If you get caught in a shower, land quickly and let the drone dry out somewhere sheltered.
- Stick to the ‘what not to do’ distance limits above!
- Stay in GPS / P-mode, this gives the best and most stable platform for good photos and video, but it’s a great idea to practice flying in non GPS (atti.) mode, in case you ever lose GPS signal.
- Plan your flight to decide where you want to go and what you want to capture, it’s more efficient and your shots will be better.
- Set the white balance to a fixed value to avoid photos looking different from one to the next.
- Move smoothly when filming video, keep your movements smooth and try to avoid yawing/turning the drone.