Drone flying is quickly becoming one of the most fun and interesting things to do, especially now when the prices are extremely affordable, and the tech is easy to use. The market is filled with small to medium-sized models that come in RTF mode (ready to fly) so even the less experienced of us can give drone flying a try. Not to mention that we now can enjoy selfie drones or Follow Me mode!
However, there are situations when, even though you’re doing everything right, the drone won’t just take off.
So, if you’re currently looking for possible answers to the “Why is my drone not flying?” question, have a look at the explanations and solutions below.
Drone Turns on but Doesn’t Fly
If the drone turns on as specified in the instructions manual and all the light signals respond appropriately, your quad should be able to take off and start flying. Still, some drone models may be a bit more stubborn about taking off.
Quick note: The Phantom series is known to have some of the issues mentioned below, but they can also appear on other models.
Some Drones Need A Bit of Warmup Time
Before you start panicking that your precious quad hasn’t launched in the air (yet), wait a few minutes to see if the situation changes. This tends to happen on cold days or in cold weather when some models need a bit of warming up before liftoff.
Modern quads will notify you about warmup time with a message, but if your quad only has basic features, this may not happen.
Compass Is Not Calibrated
Compass calibration is not needed as often now as it used to be with early firmware versions. Still, it may be an issue from time to time, so make sure the system is calibrated or the quad won’t fly. To calibrate your quad, follow the instructions provided by the producer.
Propellers Are Not Properly Mounted
If you never had to mount new propellers on your drone or you never put together a drone kit, you can easily get confused by the way propellers need to be mounted. These need to follow a certain pattern in order to create the necessary air flow to actually lift the quad in the air. So, if these conditions are not met, your drone will stay grounded even if the propellers are spinning.
To make sure everything is going smoothly, here’s a video explanation of how to mount propellers on almost every drone available on the market:
On a final note, make sure the engines are turning in the right direction, as they also need to follow a specific pattern.
No Fly Zones
While they look like toys, most quads are small flying devices that can interfere with various commercial and governmental activities. As such, they are heavily regulated and we even have a No Fly Zone map for the US airspace.
Now, with basic devices, it is your responsibility, as the pilot, to know if you’re in a no-fly-zone and respect the interdiction. Otherwise, you risk getting a hefty fine or worse!
But when it comes to more advanced drones (such as the DJI Mavic or the Phantom series), the producer took some of this responsibility off your shoulders. Since these devices are equipped with GPS and can pinpoint their own location, the software also knows if the quad is in a forbidden area. As such, it may not take off even if everything is running smoothly.
In this case, the device will notify you with a warning, so you’ll know why it doesn’t get high in the skies.
Quad Doesn’t Turn On
If the quad doesn’t show any signs of activity, the problem may be more serious, but before you send it back to the producer with an angry letter/email, have a look at the battery.
The battery is the first element to check when the drone doesn’t make a sound, because this is the power source. Naturally, if something is wrong with the battery, you won’t be able to fly your newly acquired toy!
For this, there are several steps to take:
- Take the battery out and put it back in
- Put the battery in the charger and check if it charges (also, charge the battery)
- Check the battery status on the controller’s screen (if available)
- Replace the battery with a new one (especially if it’s old)
- Check for damages on the battery and connectors
- Put in a less powerful battery
- Make sure the battery follows the drone’s specifications
Keep in mind that batteries (especially cheap ones) die rather quickly. Also, other factors come in place such as age, storage conditions, manufacturer, and so on. So, even as a beginner, it’s best to have several spare batteries by your side – you never know when you’ll need them!
We also have an in-depth guide to how to charge your LiPo battery for the first time, which may come in handy.
At the end of the day, there are many possible answers to the ‘why is my drone not flying?’ question. Still, the most popular one has to do with propellers that are not mounted correctly or engines that don’t spin the right way.
Now, if you’ve checked all the steps mentioned above and your quad still won’t take off, it’s time to call customer support. Your problem may be specific to the quad design or you may be the unlucky customer who received a defective unit.
Regardless, you should be able to get a refund or a new quad, if you didn’t void the warranty (in the case of an RTF model). If you bought a kit or you built the quad from parts, try to zero in on your problem by testing each element individually.