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Isabella | UAV Coach

Tips for Flying a Drone in Cold Weather

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Cold temps shorten the life of LiPo batteries used in most drones, but there are precautions you can take to ensure a safe flight, even when it's cold out.

Take a look at our recent post for best practices regarding how to take care of your drone batteries during the winter, plus some more helpful tips to help you stay flying during the cold months: 

"What You Need to Know About Flying Your Drone in Cold, Winter Weather | Battery Care and Best Practices for Flying in the Cold"

How often do you fly during the winter compared to summer? Do you have some tips for flying a drone in cold weather? Share them in the comments below for our readers and community members. 

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Good stuff in the linked article but there are several important things to remember;

Our drones are not waterproof, so we should not ever fly in the rain.  We can fly in light snowfall as long as that snow is not wet.  Temperatures between 36*F and 25*F can produce wet or slushy snow, which further melts and turns to water than can enter electronics and cause problems.  Colder temps generate "dry" snow which is usually OK to fly in.  Avoid freezing rain or any condition that creates airframe icing.  If you see ice accumulating in any form on the airframe or propellers land immediately as a crash is imminent.  Ice adds weight that accumulates quickly and disrupts the airflow over the propellers.  Falling snow reduces visibility.  Understand you will not be able to fly as far away and still maintain line of sight.  Don't try to push for long distances in falling snow, even when using FPV, as snow is a solid and will attenuate radio signals.  If you aircraft is becoming hard for you to see the radio signal is becoming hard for the aircraft to see.  Searching for your aircraft after a fly away in 4' deep snow is no fun.  Plan your take off and landing areas.  You don't want to land and bury your camera in the snow.  Clear away the snow for an area large enough to take off and land.

I've flown numerous times in temperatures as low as +2*F and in light snow with no problems aside from some slight "notchiness" in gimbal pan rotation.  Understand that a crash in cold weather can be disastrous for some plastics as they become quite brittle at low temperatures.  Plastic props can shatter if they have become cold and get bumped into things.  If you use common sense and follow some decent safety practices you can do a lot of cold weather flying with few or zero problems. 

Edited by PatR
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I regularly fly in cold weather for work purposes. I initially found my problem to be the phone battery died mid-flight, so ever since then I throw the Mavic battery and phone on the truck dash on the defrost heat high for a couple minutes while I fill out some forms. These couple minutes seem to do the trick as my 8 to 12 minute flights have never been adversely affected since I’ve been doing this. 

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It is SOP with our organization that we keep the batteries in the vehicle and keep the vehicle running with the heat on during flight operations. Batteries stay nice and comfortable until needed and perform flawlessly. 

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