Even here, in the southern state of Texas, there is a chill in the air that alerts us – winter is coming. While you can still fly your drone when temperatures dip, it can be more challenging. There are several factors that need to be considered and several precautions that we recommend you take when flying your drone in colder weather.
(1) Check your drone manual for guidelines.
Most popular drone manufacturers (such as DJI and Yuneec) will provide instructions for safe operation in varying climates. We suggest checking your manual to see if there are any specifications listed. Please be aware if you are flying at higher altitudes or in harsh weather conditions (rain, sleet, snow, ice), you may be meeting or exceeding the manufacturer temperature recommendations.
Expert tip: Most drones are designed to fly in temperature that ranges from 32-104-degree Fahrenheit. Flying in below freezing temperature is never recommended.
(2) Pay attention to battery life.
There is no doubt, colder temperatures shorten the flight time of your drone. Why? Most drone are equipped with lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries and as the weather gets colder, the chemical reaction in the LiPo batters slow down – lowering battery capacity. While a fully charged drone can typically fly for 20-30 minutes in ideal weather, in colder temperatures the same drone may only fly for 10-15 minutes.
Expert tip: Only use fully charged batteries and hover your drone for a at least a minute after takeoff to allow your drone time to warm up.
(3) Avoid harsh environments.
It is always best practice to avoid harsh environments. This is especially true in colder temperatures. Avoid strong wings, rain and snow. While, yes you can technically fly in the snow – if moisture makes its way inside the drone, you run a high risk of damage.
Expert tip: If you do get caught in rain/snow in below freezing temps, ensure you wipe away any moisture in the gimbal pads. Any freezing precipitation can lower the quality of your future aerial footage.
Overall, we recommend that when flying in colder weather, you take it easy on your drone. Be gentler, use less throttle, and of course, always check weather conditions before flying!