Whether a novice pilot, or an experienced operator, anyone can find useful information and tips on how to legally and safely fly their drone. A checklist, based on publications, rules, personal experiences and regulations of the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, will help you organize the steps you need to follow before each flight.
1. UPDATE FIRMWARE
Having carefully read the manufacturer’s guidelines, make sure that you have installed the most recent software version for your Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), its flight control and all of its batteries. An IMU calibration at a cold space is recommended after the upgrade.
2. FULLY CHARGE YOUR BATTERIES
Insufficiently charged batteries will run out faster and will also be prone to interference. Make sure you have also fully charged the batteries of the flight control before each flight.
3. ONLY FLY IN SAFE AREAS – REFER TO THE HELLENIC AVIATION AUTHORITY’S DAGR
Before heading to the location where you intend to fly, check its aerial space through the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority’s website www.dagr.hcaa.gr, for no-fly zones, such as airport zones, helipads, military camps, restricted areas etc. You should stay at least 8 km away from those. You will then have to submit a flight plan to the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, if required (for a flight of a distance longer than that of 50 meters from the operator, or for a flight of a professional context, for example). We never fly during nighttime, or under harsh weather conditions. We keep a safe distance of at least 50 meters and don’t fly above people, buildings, cars, power lines, antennas and private property.
4. PREPARE YOUR DRONE BEFORE THE FLIGHT
Check your drone for possible damages (propellers, aircraft, battery, camera). After carefully placing your battery, first turn on the flight control and then the aircraft. Proceed to compass calibration. Plug the propellers into position and remove the cover from the gimbal.
5. CHECK THE DRONE’S SETTINGS
To maximize your flight time, prepare the camera’s settings (photo or video,1080p or 4K, 30 or 60fps), as well as the drone’s main settings (flight boundaries, home point, sensors) before takeoff. Make sure you have enabled the GPS function: at least 10 satellites must be available, or else important safety functions, such as return to home (RTH) may not work in case of an emergency.
6. BEFORE AND AFTER TAKEOFF
Make sure that you have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit with you. Place yourselves at a distance of at least four meters from the drone before takeoff and check around you for people, cars or animals (360° check). Check that the drone fully responds to the flight control movement (up-down, left-right, front-back). During wintertime and when outside temperatures are low, it would be good if you hovered at an altitude of two meters for a while, so that the batteries warm up.
7. DURING THE FLIGHT
Make sure you’re flying your drone where you can clearly see it and that you don’t exceed 120 meters in altitude. Flying near events as fires, accidents etc, is forbidden. Taking and editing photos and videos of people without their consent is not allowed. During the flight, do not only focus on the drone, but be extra careful with obstacles such as trees, posts, wires.
8. AFTER LANDING
Before shutting the engines down, make sure to have recorded the percentage of battery consumed, as well as the total duration of the flight. Let the battery cool before storing it. Fill in the required paperwork (pilot logbook, aircraft technical log).
Enjoy your flights with safety!