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
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Area / Environment
- Hazards / Site Selection
- Check for wires / cables
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- LOG FLIGHT