Can I fly my drone with cold temperatures?

A much asked question these days is “can I fly with these temperatures?” or “can I fly in snow?”
In short:  Yes!
The long answer is… Yes, but take good care of a few things! preheat your batteries and don’t fly in frost and fog or when it is actually snowing! Remember that snow is frozen water, snow will turn into water when it hits the drone because the drone is warm(er) and that can result in water coming into the drone electronics.
Don’t fly out too far, and come back every now and then to check for ice on your propellers.

You are able to fly your drone with frosty weather, and snow… It will give you some great pictures!

The only real thing to take care of, are your LiPo’s

LiPo’s don’t like cold weather, and performance is greatly reduced when you don’t take precautions for flight.
The utmost important thing is keeping them warm! Room temperature is okay, but preheating them on the central heating is better! try and get them up to 40c if possible.

If you’re planning a short trip to your flying spot, make sure you can keep them warm. You could wrap them in a blanket during the trip.

If your drone takes different kinds of LiPo’s, use higher C rated ones. This will compensate the reduced flying times.
Actual C ratings are lower when flying in cold weather, using a higher C rating compensates that a bit.

Keep a close eye on the voltage of your drone,  expect to have reduced flight times in cold, sometimes by minutes!
Know when to land, and don’t try to squeeze in that extra minute.. better be safe than sorry!

Do not charge LiPo’s in cold weather.
Not in a shed that has temperatures under 0C/32F, charging at cold temperatures can reduce the lifespan of the LiPo. Instead, charge them under supervision at normal room temperatures.

Another thing to keep an eye on is ice offset on your propellers!
Especially in foggy icy weather this could be an issue.
This could negatively impact your footage, and even worse, your motors! Try to land 1 or 2 times to check your propellers. maybe even take a spare set so you can fly and de-ice at the same time.

One thing I personally like is thin gloves for my hands. Cold hands, and especially fingertips, are not nice when controlling your drone.
I use touchscreen gloves, these are thin and warm, and I can move my fingers without problems.

Last thing I would recommend!
Try not to take off and land in snow.
Use a helipad or similar to take off, or find some tarmac.
Snow and water could creep in the gimbal motors, you don’t want it there
And apart from these points, there is nothing wrong with flying in cold weather.
Just be advised that flying times are shorter, and your lens could fog up because of the temperature difference, normally this should clear in a few seconds.

The most important thing is… be responsible, and take care!

One comment

  1. I have a Hubsan 501 S-S and flew it today in extreme cold weather and my lens is fogged up now so bad I can not see the fpv feature and I can not even record video.
    Its been 9 hours now and still fogged up.

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