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What Flight Safety Features do Fishing Drones have?

One of the most common question that we are often asked, particularly by new drone fisherman is what safety features do fishing drones have?

It’s a very good question and quite understandable as once your drone flies out over the Ocean the risks are so much greater than if you are flying your drone over the land, and if you are a new drone fisherman it can make you very nervous early on…

Each Fishing Drone is different but luckily most modern drones come with a variety of built-in safety and backup systems that reduce to risks substantially. It’s important to remember that these are still not a replacement to good drone practices like Calibrating your drone properly before each flight, making sure your batteries are fully charged before flying for example.

Loss of Signal Auto Return Home

The first major Safety feature is that of “Loss of Signal Auto Return Home”. As the name suggests this is a feature that all modern fishing drones have. It means that if your drone goes out of range (ie. you take it further than it’s advertised range), and it loses control signal – then the drone will initiate auto return to where it took off from. The same thing also happens if there is also some other type of control signal issue also, or if you inadvertently turn off your remote control, the drone should go into auto return home.
Important to note that the control signal is often not the same as the video signal, and so even if your drone begins to get weak video signal back to the remote control or phone APP, it may still have a strong control signal. Often you can see the strength of your control signal as bars either on your remote control LCD screen OR your phone APP screen depending on your drone model.

Low Battery Alarm

The Battery of the drone is a really important part of drone fishing, and the battery life must be monitored at all times while the drone is in flight. Most Remote controllers these days will alert you when the drone battery gets down to low levels. Sometimes this is an onscreen alarm, sometimes it will be an altert on the Phone screen (if one is connectied) & sometimes the Remote controller will even vibrate to tell you also, which is a nice feature. Some of the drones also have several stages of warning to the pilot, the first one is to tell you to get your fishing drone home ASAP, because the battery is getting low, and the second is when the battery is becoming dangerously low. Often at this level the drone might try to self land itself soon after (which could be the water) so it is a good idea to listen to the first warning and get your drone home!

Low Battery Auto Return Home

This is another very good Safety feature that you will find on many drones these days. You will probably understand what this means inherintly, but in short what it means is that if your battery gets too low (in volts) the drone recogizes this, and will initiate Auto return Home. Of course there are a number of things that can effect the Battery Voltage inside the drone, including things like adverse weather conditions that make the motors work harder, and heavier payload weights which cause the Battery Voltage to drop almost instantly as the drone needs to work harder to stay in the air and therefore causes more current draw on the battery.
The other good thing is that many drones will also warn you on the remote control when the battery begins to get low and to get the drone home as soon as possible, and then when the drone battey begins to get down even further – this is when the drone will initiate auto return home by itself.
It is also important to understand IF your drone actually does have low battery return to home, because there are still many models on the market that don’t have this feature and you don’t want to be caught out if your done doesn’t have it.

It’s really important to always remember that you should never fly a fishing drone if you have low battery. It is always very easy to see how much battery life you have either on your controller OR on the Phone APP prior and during your flight, so there is no excuse to let your battery get so low that it should initiate Low Battery Auto Return Home. The other point is that all drone batteries have Lithium Polymer technology, and because of this you are not supposed to let your batteries get below 25% charge anyway because this can at best reduce the future charge capacity of your battery and at worst cause your battery to swell up and become unusable and possibily dangerous.

Low Battery Auto Payload Release

This means that if your battery voltage becomes too low, the drone will release the payload, which is a nice feature. It is worth noting that because the weight of payloads will vary greatly and weights of 1kg or more are quite substantial, this in turn can have a dramatic effect on the battery draw so this may lead to the drone releasing the payload sooner than you think. Either way if the battery voltage gets too low we believe that automatically releasing the bait & line payload in these sorts of situations is a good way to reduce another complication in case you are needing to get your fishing drone home quickly and safely.

Anti External Magnetic Interference

Many current Drone models have a built in anti interference feature. There are often a number of external sources of this interference including strong WIFI signals, external radio interference, and large metal objects (ie. like nearby cars) that can effect the earth’s magnetic field. These sorts of things can all disrupt the very sensitive sensors (for example the GPS Sensor and the Compass Sensor) or the control signal from your drone to the remote control while in flight, therefore disrupting your drone’s ability to fly properly – because with the sensors all drones rely heavily on these sensors to fly correctly. Luckily the Flight Controller on many modern drones (which is the central “brain” of your drone) has ways of filtering out some of this external interference so that it reduces the disruption to the drone in flight. However having said this this does not mean that your drone will never be effected by such things – it means that the risks of this happening are dramatically reduced.

Floatation & water resistance

A feature that is not really a safety feature however can really reduce your risk when out drone fishing over the ocean. Water resistance & the ability to float on the water is something that some modern fishing drones have and others don’t. Having a water resistant and floating drone brings an additional level of comfort to the fisherman knowing that if the drone needed to be landed in the water at least it is going to float. Don’t get us wrong Drones like the Aero Kontiki (which is does not float or is water resistant) are still extremely capable fishing drones. Also if you have a floating drone it does means that the fisherman still needs to retrieve the drone if it’s not still connected to the rod on the beach) – but at least there is a chance of getting your gear back in good condition, unlike if you are using a DJI Phantom or Mavic in which case if it goes into the drink – its virtually all over, goodbye drone!

Payload Overload Alarm (& Auto Payload release)

The brand new Rippton Shark X has a new safety feature that will help many fishermen and right now only Rippton has this feature. The drone will actual weigh each bait payload as it lifts up from the ground and display the weight on the APP screen of your phone. The important thing here is that IF the payload is heavier than 3KG (max weight for the Shark X) then the drone will alarm you on the APP & if you still continue to fly, will then drop the payload automatically.

For this article you will notice we haven’t included “Auto Return Home” which is also known as “RTH” or “RTL” as a safety feature – mainly because it is not intended to be one. Auto Return to Home Switch should not be used if you have having trouble controlling your drone while in the air, it’s not designed for that – it’s instead designed to quickly get your drone home after you have dropped your bait, it’s a convenience feature. If you are having trouble with your drone inflight – then the first rule of thumb iinstead is to switch to Manual or Attitude mode. This will turn off many of the sensors – this is particularly useful if one of those sensors is giving the drone a bad reading (and say causing it to be unsteady for example). Switching to Manual mode hopefully will then stabilise the flight of the drone.

There you have it – some of the basic saftey features that drones have to help you when flying. We hope you have enjoyed this short article. As mentioned above these safety features are only designed as a backstop if things go wrong & they certainly don’t guarantee that things will end well, but they do add a good level of safety into your whole drone fishing experience! Feel free to reach out to us and let us know if you have any questions around these drone saftey features, we are only to happy to assist.

Please note that all our articles are put together by our team and should not be replicated or plagiarised in any way without express written permission.

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