Keep a few things in mind before you fly to give each airborne experience the chance for smooth sailing.
Several businesses, including Ag Eagle, Crop Copter and Precision Drone, were on hand at the recent Farm Journal Corn College Drone Fly-In to walk farmers through basic pre-flight steps and demonstrate test flights. They helped assemble the following quick checklist of what farmers should look for and do before each flight.
- Inspect your drone for any damages. Make sure everything is the way it should be and make sure your propellers are tight.
- Turn the radio on. Brett Haas, sales manager with Crop Copter, says to make sure all of the switches are "up, up, and away from you." Once they’re all up, they will be in neutral position.
- Power up your aircraft. Double-check that the battery is fully charged. It also pays to have at least one backup battery on hand.
- Calibrate the compass. "You always want to make sure you have a properly calibrated compass, so your aircraft flies and reacts properly to your control," Haas says.
- Make sure your aircraft has a fully locked GPS signal. Most models have green and red flashing lights to indicate GPS signal (or lack thereof). Make sure there are no red flashes.
- Turn your camera on. If you’re carrying a camera in the drone’s payload, check that it’s on, has an SD card loaded and has adequate battery charge. If everything looks correct correct, hit the record button.
- Make some space. Take a few steps back and always make sure you are upwind from your aircraft. If something were to happen, you want to be sure your drone isn’t coming back at you.
- Now you’re ready to fly!
In the demo video below, Matt Minnes, co-founder of Precision Drone, walks through a quick pre-flight checklist before his drone goes airborne.
Thank you to our 2014 Corn College Sponsors
AgriGold, BASF, Chevrolet, Cover Crop Solutions, FMC, Great Plains Mfg., Precision Planting, SFP, Top Third, Yetter Mfg