Is there a minimum temperature required for flying a drone? How do low temperatures affect the battery? Are there any other aspects to keep in mind when flying a drone in winter? FlyNex Drone Operations Manager Christian Georgi provides expert advice for safe drone flights under winter conditions.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast
Pilots should always obey the weather forecast when planning a drone flight, no matter the season. Though, environmental factors like cold, humidity, or wind affect not only flight quality but also the lasting of the battery.
Always look up the temperature required for your drone to operate it safely. It’s usually provided in the user’s manual and differs from drone to drone. For example, the drone manufacturer DJI recommends a range from 0 °C to 40 °C degrees for smooth operations. If you decide to over-or undershoot the stated service temperature, deformations on the drone chassis or its propeller might occur.
Another essential aspect is humidity. If humidity ranges between 70 – 80 %, there is a risk the propellers of your drone build up frost. Frozen propellers compromise flight quality, and in the worst-case scenario, drones crash. Similar to regular aircraft, drones have to be defrosted to avoid the risk of crashing.
Low temperatures might manipulate drone chassis and reduce the long-lasting of your drone battery. Drones are regularly equipped with lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries, which cold temperatures slow down chemical reactions. LiPo batteries switch to emergency mode once cooled down to less than 15 °C, and drones refuse to start. The drone stops and crashes uncontrollably if the temperature unexpectedly drops below 15 °C while operating. It plays risks for pilots as well as third parties.