I am a big believer in checklists. When I don’t use a checklist I can almost guarantee I am going to forget something. Checklists are a great way to make sure that nothing gets overlooked. That is why I made a drone pre-shoot planning checklist.
This is the checklist I use before I leave home for a flight. There is nothing worse than arriving at a location an hour away and realizing you are missing something essential for your flight.
My list includes:
- Power Brick
- Landing pad
- Anti-collision light
- Camera filters
- SD card
- Extra SD card
- Lawn Chair
- Insect Repellant
- Jacket/Extra Layer
- Part 107 license / Trust Certificate
- Check UAV Forecast, B4UFly, etc
Some of the things on this list may seem unnecessary. You may not need all of these things all the time but I have found every one of these things to be helpful at some point. There have been more than a few times where I wish I would have been more prepared.
It is good to have extra propellers. You never know if you will need to replace one or not. Make sure you get the original manufacturer’s props. I don’t think you want to trust your precious drone to 3rd party props. There is a good chance that third-party props would void your warranty.
This is about as obvious as the drone. You are not going to fly without the remote. Make sure your remote is charged along with your phone or tablet.
I use the standard remote, but you might consider upgrading to the DJI Smart Controller. If you have a Smart Controller, you don’t need to worry about using your phone.
You cannot have enough batteries. The more batteries you have, the longer you will be able to fly. I currently have five batteries for my Air 2s. Again, you want to make sure that the batteries are fully charged before you leave.
I also bring a charger with me so that I can charge my batteries when I am flying. I may burn through all five of my batteries, but by the time I am finishing my fifth battery, my first battery will be charged and ready to go again. You will want to have a charger that can charge batteries simultaneously. The standard chargers that come with most DJI drones will only charge one battery at a time.
It is rare that I fly in a location where power is readily available. This means I need to supply my own power. So I bring the LIPOWER 300W Portable Power Station with me.
Sometimes it is hard to find a hard, flat, and dry surface to land your drone. It is always good to have a landing pad.
If you are flying before sunrise or after sunset, you are legally required to use an anti-collision light. The Air 2s LED lights seem plenty bright, but I use the Lume Cube Drone Strobe.
If you are a serious videographer or photographer, camera filters are an essential part of your gear. I recently got some Freewell filters for my Air 2s.
This is something easily overlooked. I once arrived at a location only realize that my SD card was in my card reader connected to my computer in my home office. Fortunately, the Air 2s has a little internal memory and I was able to get a little bit of video.
Also, make sure all your previous videos and photographs have been saved to another location and format your card before leaving. Your card will not do much good if it is completely full of videos that have not been yet uploaded to your computer.
I use 128 GB cards. These cards are large enough for a single video shoot. I also use SanDisk cards that have a good reputation for being reliable.
Extra SD Card
SD cards are fragile. You never know if one might become corrupted or have an error. Again, be prepared.
If you are flying in bright sunshine, it is good to have some sort of sunshade for your screen. I use the STARTRC Sun Hood Sunshade.
It is good to have a place to sit. I tend to stand when I fly. But I have found that it is good to relax and be comfortable. It also helps you fly longer when you can sit. This chair on Amazon looks comfy!
There is a lot of stuff to bring. It is good to have a cart to help you haul it all. I use a wagon cart our family purchase for use at the beach.
I often find myself flying over water in the early morning or evening time. That often means there are mosquitos present.
It is important to stay hydrated. I will bring a Yeti tumbler with water. If it is early morning, you may want to make sure to bring coffee.
Protect yourself from the rays. I don’t often need sunscreen because I fly early in the morning or later in the evening during the golden hour. But for those times when you fly during the day, it is wise to apply sunscreen.
This may seem odd. You are not going to be flying in the rain. But I have had multiple occasions where it started raining when on location and it was good to have an umbrella at hand.
If you fly at sunset, you may find yourself packing up in the dark. It is good to have a light available. Your phone can be used as a light. But if you use it for your controller, it may be tied up.
You may drive a half hour and experience different conditions than you experience in your backyard. Sometimes I have been flying along a body of water with a persistent wind coming off the water. It made it seem much colder than what it was. I have never regretted having an extra jacket or some gloves in the car. I have only regretted not having these things. Even if you think you will not need an extra layer, bring it anyways.
Part 107 License / Trust Certificate
You never know when you might be approached by law enforcement. Make sure to have all your credentials, readily available. If you have not yet got your Trust Certificate or would like to get your Part 107 license, make sure to check out Pilot Institute.
Check UAV Forecast, B4UFly, etc
Check the weather forecast and the airspace to make sure you will be able to fly. You don’t want to drive too far only to realize that you can’t fly.
What’s On Your Checklist
So how about you? What did I miss on my drone pre-shoot planning checklist? What would you add? Is there anything that you have found that you wish you would have brought for your flight? Share in the comments below.
In my next post, I will share a pre-flight checklist for when I arrive on location. What are some of the things you need to check before you take off?