Flying in cold weather

Just hours after winter storm Stella reared her ugly head on the northeast, we were out helping our local DPW get some aerial footage of the aftermath. 

Just because the weather isn’t ideal for flying, you sometimes have to make the most of the area in which you live. Often times that means flying in cold weather if you live anywhere  within the northern half the country.

If you’re one of those people we have great news! We’re here to provide some tips you can use to help take to the skies in cold weather. 

We’re huge advocates of reading manuals here at RizeOptix (ok, at lease some of us are). Our first piece of advice and most certainly where you should begin is to look into your aircraft’s flight rating. Every make and model varies depending on specific conditions. Understanding your drone’s limitations is critical in preventing disaster. Below we’ve listed some of the more popular models, taken directly from each manufacture’s website. 

  • DJI Phantom 4 manual 32 °F to 104 °F (0 °C to 40 °C)
  • Yuneec Typhoon 32 °F to 104 °F (0 °C to 40 °C)
  • DJI Mavic Pro manual = 32 °F to 104 °F (0 °C to 40 °C)
  • DJI Inspire Pro = 14 °F to 104 °F (-10 °C to 40 °C)

One thing you can surely expect when flying in cold weather is reduced battery time. If an average battery lasts 25 minutes during ideal flight condition, you can expect approximately 15-17 minutes flight time during cold weather.

One thing we live by when it comes to cold weather operation is hand warmers. Grab a couple, activate them and throw ’em in your flight case or back pack right next to your spare batteries. This will prevent the batteries from getting cold, eliminating excessive “warm up” time before takeoff and also extending the life by a few minutes. 

Be sure to dress properly, just because the drone is up moving around doesn’t mean you will be on the ground. Standing in one spot for an extended period in cold weather is one of the worst feelings in the world. Keep your thumbs warm by investing in a good pair of gloves and be sure to get a nice, warm coat and hat to protect the rest of your body.

Pre-planning is also crucial (it’s crucial in any situation) when it comes to shooting in cold weather. The less time you have to spend outside the better. Try to plan your shots and get all necessary prep work done the night before. Make sure your go-to lens for any video shot is already equipped on your camera, stabilizers pre-balanced and proper ND Filter already equipped on your drone. 

What are some of your cold weather tips and tricks? We’d love to hear more from you below!

Until next time… Stay on the Rize ✌🏽

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