So you have a drone and are looking to take some awesome pictures. Well it’s a pretty exciting avenue to get into and changes your perspective, literally!!

Before you take the drone out to fly check out my 3 tips below if you plan to fly your drone near the coast. This could save your drone from taking a dip in the ocean or crashing into the rocks.

Tip #1: Watch out for sea gulls

On the coast you are bound to find sea gulls or other coastal birds who may have habitat near by. Most drones are white in colour and they make a fair bit of noise so flying up in the air (although you may not hear it from a distance) birds flying the vicinity will hear and see it. There is a good possibility that they will think of it as a threat and may try to attack it. It will only take one hit on one of the propellers to get your drone out of balance and give in to gravity. I have experienced this on number of occasions where sea gulls have gotten too curious for comfort.

Tip #2: Extra precaution when taking off near a wharf

Although they are nice locations typically if you can get birds eye shots of wharfs, they can also be a major hazard to your drone. My experience has been challenging at times. Just starting your drone near such locations can be painful:

  • Drone fails to acquire GPS signal
  • Controller fails to establish connection with the Drone
  • Controller signal is weak

This is usually because wharf although mostly make from wood, but if there is a lot of metal in or around it you could experience some issues. Metal objects have tendency to cause interference in the communication and reduce the GPS signal your drone seeks from the satellites.

In the above location, at the Auckland harbour wharf, firstly the drone would not connect with the remote and then after taking off eventually, it lost signal and went into “Return to Home” mode soon after taking this image. I had to move away from the metal railing on the pier and find a spot where there was little interference in order to continue flying.

Tip #3: Avoid flying during Strong Winds

If the wind gets too strong it could mean life or death situation for your Drone. Having survived a few close calls I can certainly say from experience you don’t want to risk it.

What can happen is that your drone will fight against the wind to stay in the positioned spot and if you are unlucky wind might be pushing the drone away from you. Which means the rotors and motor really have to fight hard to go against it. Stress on motor and battery can mean disaster.

So if you do find yourself the in a situation where the gust of wind picks up and you are struggling to bring it home. Don’t panic!! Adjust the altitude of the drone and bring it close to the ground/level surface. You are trying to find pockets of air where the air is not as strong and areas that are shielded by rocks or trees etc. Then focus on bringing it back to you. This is how I have saved my drone twice!!

Don’t mind the horrible sketch but hopefully the message is clear on how to tackle such situations.

Strong Wind Situation