Flying a drone in windy weather, what should you know?
Beautiful weather outside, but your application shows the message: ‘It's not good to fly'. It is very windy outside. Can you fly a drone in the wind? What wind will your drone withstand in order not to fly away in an unknown direction? How to take off and land with a drone in the wind? Where should you be especially careful of gusts of wind? Does the AGL height matter when the wind blows? You will find the answer to all these questions in today's article.
Can you fly a drone in the wind?
Of course, it is, gusts of wind happen very often, and yet most semi-professional drones are equipped with a lot of systems that help keep the drone in place despite the wind blowing. Both GPS and GLONASS are invaluable in fighting the wind.
Thanks to them, the drone is in a given place and does not succumb to gusts of wind. In cheaper or amateur drones, these can be vision systems that keep the drone in some way despite the wind. If you have a drone without these amenities, or if one of them has failed at the moment, you can control the drone on your own based on the preview and fight the wind.
We found out how susceptible the drone is to wind when, as a result of a failure, the positioning systems turned off and it was not 5 seconds and the drone flew almost 100 meters above our heads with the wind. In fact, the wind was around 60 km / h that day. So, is it possible to fly a drone in the wind? You can, however, with extreme caution, in line of sight, using GPS and GLONASS and not too far away from the take-off point.
What wind will the drone withstand?
Calculations. How to calculate what wind will our drone withstand, or more correctly, at what wind can you fly the drone? It all depends largely on the weight of our drone, but also on the power of its engines. The maximum wind blowing during our flights can be easily calculated.
It is enough to assume that if we want to have full control over our drone, the wind speed must not exceed the maximum speed of our drone. Why? It's simple, if the drone cannot withstand the force of the wind, it will start to move away from the launch site despite the fight of all possible systems and engines onboard our equipment. If, for example, we have the DJI Phantom 4 PRO, its maximum flight speed is 72 km / h, then if the wind is blowing at a speed of 60 km / h, the return of the drone against the wind from a distance of 500 meters from the starting point will take almost 3 minutes.
It is enough for the wind to increase by another 6 km / h and the return to be extended to 6 minutes and this is already starting to cause anxiety. If we add stronger gusts to this, it may turn out that the return will not be successful. Therefore, assuming the maximum wind in which you decide to fly the drone, check the maximum speed of your drone and subtract 10 km / h from it.
It will be the strongest, extreme wind that you should allow yourself when flying your drone. check the maximum speed of your drone and subtract 10 km / h from that. It will be the strongest, extreme wind that you should allow yourself when flying your drone. check the maximum speed of your drone and subtract 10 km / h from that. It will be the strongest, extreme wind that you should allow yourself when flying your drone.
Basic principles of flying a drone in high winds.
You already know what wind your drone can withstand, now it's time for some proven rules when flying in windy weather. The basic rule is that the object to be filmed should be positioned against the wind in relation to the take-off place, i.e. after take-off, you have to fly against the wind to film the object you are interested in. In other words, after take-off, you fly against the wind, film what you are interested in, take pictures and return to the take-off point with the wind.
Thanks to this arrangement, you have the guarantee that, first of all, you will have enough battery to return, even if you have not accurately estimated the distance, and secondly, even if it starts blowing stronger when you are already in the air, your copter will start to drift towards you and you will land on time.
Another important rule is, of course, a much larger margin on the battery level. You never know how strong the gusts are local, how the wind will change during the flight, and how long you will need to return. Do not charge with flights, it is better to land earlier than at a critical battery level. Also, try to avoid flying near buildings, trees, people. Flying a drone in the wind is an extreme sport, it is worth being vigilant and avoiding all kinds of possible collisions.
Take-off and landing in windy weather – our tips.
Two very important moments of flight in windy weather are take-off and landing of the drone in the wind. Before you take your envelope into the air, it can simply be knocked over by a gust of wind. More than once we have had a case where the wind had knocked over a drone before it took off. Especially dangerous is the moment when the engines are already running and the propellers are spinning. As you have probably noticed, the drone has to lean in the direction from which the wind blows in order to overcome the force of the wind.
When the drone takes off and at the same time tries to lean against the wind, it may hit the ground. Therefore, both during landing and taking off during wind, it is worth considering two solutions. First, take-off and landing by hand. While in the case of the Phantom it is quite easy, it will be impossible with the DJI Inspire. Who can and can take off and land by hand.
This is definitely more certain in the wind. The second option, helpful on windy days, is taking off and landing in a sheltered place. A wall, an alley in a tenement house, a part behind the building sheltered from the wind, will be a much better place to take off and land.
Places especially exposed to gusts of wind.
Sometimes the wind of constant force is not dangerous, but gusts of wind or places particularly exposed to changing wind direction. Therefore, fly the drone with extreme caution from places such as sea cliffs and the seashore strip. Mountains and mountain elevations, especially when crossing the top of a given hill.
The vicinity of artificial water reservoirs and all places with large local temperature differences. Of course, apart from places, also bear in mind the weather moments, especially those that herald a storm or changes in atmospheric fronts. These situations are also accompanied by strong gusts of wind.
Does the flight altitude matter when the wind blows – flight rules?
For many factors, the strength of the wind usually increases with the height at which it blows. Usually, because, of course, there are exceptions, but for safety reasons, it should be assumed that the higher we fly with the drone, the greater the wind blowing. If we add to this flying in what we think are extreme conditions, it may turn out that the drone will be literally hijacked by the current passing, for example, at a height of 100 meters AGL.
Therefore, it is very important that on windy days, firstly, to limit the height of flights, secondly, to have the drone in sight all the time, and thirdly, to reach the expected heights, being away from the take-off point against the wind.
What if we can't win in the air with the wind blowing?
Well, what when the wind got stronger or we made any of the mistakes described above? Our drone flies with the wind and we cannot return it to the starting point? First, don't panic and the most important steps:
- First of all, lower the flight altitude as much as possible. As I wrote in the previous point, there is a chance that the wind strength will be smaller, and maybe the nearby buildings or trees will also minimize the wind blowing.
- Then: observing the direction in which the drone is heading, observing the drone in the preview, maybe it will be easier to look for it later when you lose eye contact and look for a place where you can land. Better to land still insight, or at least within the range of the controller. This way, it will be much easier for you to find the drone. You can also read about how to find a drone in our other post.
Meanwhile, in order not to leave you scared and afraid of the wind, remember that flying a drone in the wind has its big plus. First of all, you can be sure that there will be no smog and the visibility will be perfect for great drone material. So successful flights. As many landings as take-offs and see you over the rooftops!