Every pilot / operator and mission should be operated within the rules and regulations stipulated by the governing bodies applicable to you and your specific equipment.  All UAV’s / Drones / Transmitters / Receivers and Flight Controllers.

Also, every pilot flying for commercial purposes must obtain liability insurance.

Drone and UAV Checklist

Send Changes and suggestions to

Area / Environment

  • Hazards / Site Selection
    • Check for wires / cables
    • Animals
    • People / bystanders
    • Property in the vicinity
    • Site is away from nonessential participants
    • Ability to maintain adequate buffer zones between aircraft and personnel;
    • Minimize departures and landings over populated areas
    • Take into account local topography, ensuring a visible line of sight towards the UAV at all times. Ensure the telemetry connection is not obstructed.
    • Investigate potential alternative landing sites in case take-off site is obstructed.
  • Psychological consideration (are you well rested, rushed, “get there-itis”, are you being pressured by client)
  • Weather considerations
    • Temperature
    • Visibility
    • Precipitation
  • Wind Speed
    • Upper winds / at altitude
    • Rotor (lee side of large objects)
  • Notify any bystanders or nearby property owners of your intentions (permission)
  • Discuss flight plan with your co-pilot or spotter
  • If flying in controlled airspace, have you notified airspace authority
    • NOTAMs
    • Can you reach authorities
    • Do you need to maintain communication?
  • (Insert Link to forms, Insert contact information for your area / country)
  • First Aid Kit stocked, readily accessible and visible to anyone in the area.


Equipment / UAV / Drone

  • Walk-around
  • Crack in joints and structural members
  • Loose or damaged screws, ties, fasteners, straps
  • Loose or damaged wiring
  • Loose or damaged connections (solder, plugs, etc.)
  • Inspect prop mounts and screws and apply slight counter pressure on arms to check for loosened components
  • FPV , inspect / clean FPV (Camera) Lens and insure it is secured and connects are firmly attached
  • Camera settings are correct (still images, video, framerate)
  • Battery / Batteries are fully charged, properly seated and Secured
  • Fail-safe equipment functioning
    • RTH (return to home)
    • Recovery chute
    • Firmware Airport Proximity Detection Functioning
  • Props are smooth and free of damage / defect (check blade, surface and hub)
  • Prop adapters are tight / secure
  • Ensure voltage alarm is connected
  • Ensure arming / idle timeout is properly configured
  • Correct model is selected in transmitter (if applicable)
  • Check RC transmitter shows the right range and centering for all sticks
  • Perform range test

Mission Plan

  • All actions and contingencies for the mission planned.
  • Contingency planning should include safe routes in the event of a system failure, degraded performance, or lost communication link, if such a failsafe exists.
  • Mission plans and flight plans should be shared with other operators in the vicinity.

Public Awareness

  • Be courteous and polite
  • You are an ambassador and your actions will affect other pilots and the industry in general
  • Be professional / appear professional

Pre-flight / Run-up

  • Verifying all transmitter, on-board aircraft and camera batteries are fully charged; (confirm voltages)
  • Ensure no frequency conflicts with both video and transmitter / receiver
  • Checking all control surfaces for signs of damage, loose hinges, and overall condition; Looking over the wing/rotors to ensure they are in good structural condition and properly secured;
  • Check motor/engine and mounting attached to the airframe;
  • Study propellers / mounting hardware (tight) / rotor blades for chips and deformation;
  • Check the landing gear for damage and function
  • Test electrical connections, plugged in and secure
  • Ensure photo / video equipment mounting system is secure and operational.
  • Check location of GPS equipment controlling the autopilot.
  • Check the IMU movements in the ground control software.
  • UAV in stabilization mode, ensure control surfaces move towards the correct positions
  • UAV / Drone is in a level location safe for takeoff
  • FPV / Power up ground station
  • FPV / Power up Video receiver / goggles
  • If using Video recorder turn on camera system
  • Camera settings are correct (still images, video, framerate)
  • SD camera memory clear and inserted into the camera
  • Action / Start filming
  • All transmitter controls move freely in all directions
  • All transmitter trims in neutral position
  • All transmitter switches in correct position( typically away)
  • Transmitter throttle to zero
  • Radio transmitter on
  • Connect / power on battery to airframe
  • Ensure led indicators and audible tones are correct
  • Timer on (if applicable)
  • FPV, confirm video is in monitor / goggles
  • Scan for nearby cars / people / animals
  • Say “CLEAR!”
  • Arm flight controller
  • Increase throttle slightly listening for any abnormalities
  • Short 20-30 second hover at 3-5 feet (listen for vibrations / loose items)
  • Confirm Voltage levels are correct


  • Basics: If flying manually, always keep your fingers on the controller/transmitter.
  • Never let the UAV out of your sight even for a second.
  • Climb to a safe altitude away from potential hazards and to reduce noise pollution.
  • Keep aircraft at a safe operating distance from people, electric utility lines and buildings.
  • If the UAV must be flown over buildings or people, use a lightweight UAV and maintain a safe altitude for recovery and make every effort to minimize exposure.
  • Spotter: Use a spotter whenever possible and appropriate, especially when flying by First Person View (FPV).
  • Do not fly UAVs within distance defined by local laws of any private/commercial airport/helipad
  • Do not fly around a pre-existing UAV flying site without a frequency-management agreement.
  • Do not interfere with operations and traffic patterns at any airport
  • Landing: Regardless of whether of a manual or automated UAV landing, scan landing area for potential obstruction hazards.
  • Announce out loud “Preparing to Land”.
  • Carefully land the aircraft away from obstructions and people.


  • Shutting Down: Turn the power off to the aircraft and/or disconnect the batteries.
  • Turn off the transmitter.
  • Turn the power off to the photo equipment.
  • Visually check aircraft for signs of damage and/or excessive wear.
  • Remove the unused fuel if applicable. Secure the aircraft.
  • Check pictures: Verify that the UAV camera actually took the pictures.

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