It can be quite a sad affair if your precious drone through the air and you never sees it again. Maybe the battery failed, or a software glitch. Worse if it’s a drone with no tracking device.
In the article below, Staaker will share with you the reasons why your drone is lost and the methods on how to find a lost drone without a tracker, as well as tips to avoid losing it again. Let’s dive in!
What are the reasons for Drone Loss?
Before we get into the best ways to find your lost drone, let’s first cover the reasons it might be lost.
Loss in Connection
This is the most common reason for a drone to be lost. It always feels like it happened in the worst possible location: over a body or near dense forests, high up on a mountain, or close to a body.
This is not a common occurrence, but it can happen occasionally and cause flyaways. A drone can also drop from the sky due to a malfunction in rare cases.
You are running out of battery
This is one of our most avoidable situations. We recommend that you monitor your battery and ensure they are fully charged before taking off.
Many drones, particularly the more expensive ones, feature a return-to-home function. This is an excellent way to make sure you don’t lose your drone because of a low battery. It will return home when the battery is full. However, it’s important not to fly it too far away so that it can return home.
Poor Flying Conditions
Poor weather conditions are another reason to avoid flying your drone. Wind and rain can make your drone unusable while it is flying. If you fly it high up, the conditions can change quickly.
Some drones have built-in safety features that will prevent you from flying in severe weather conditions. For example, DJI drones won’t take flight if it is too windy when you fly them in beginner mode.
Read also: How Far Can Drones Fly From the Controller?
How to Find your Lost Drone without a Tracker?
Use the Return Home Mode with Boosted Signal
You should first try the Return Home Mode button on your controller. The drone will slowly start to make its way back if you are within its range. This would be the ideal scenario. However, lost drones can be very frustrating.
DIY methods can be used to boost the signal of the controller by acting as a satellite. For example, you could place the controller in a large, clean pot and point it in the direction of the drone.
The best version of this technique will use high-quality drone range extenders and signal boosters, satellites, or remote controller antennas. If the drone is still in flight condition and powered on, this will increase its range.
Using the Find My Drone App
The free iOS app Find My Drone connects your iPhone with your UAV. This app will help you find your drone even if it is out of range.
It locates your drone and directs you to it. This magic happens using the MAVlink protocol. Many open-source autopilot programs use this protocol.
The app has some cool features, including a map view that shows you where your drone is located. The app also displays current status and battery level information. In case of power failure, the app will recall your last received coordinates.
You can also search for your drone with a manual mode using either telemetry or an autopilot. Based on the last known coordinates of your drone, Find My Drone calculates its bearing.
Download the app for iOS here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/find-my-drone/id649232029
Check Telemetry on Your Controller
The telemetry information is available on all apps and displays, regardless of whether you’re using a smartphone or remote control to fly your drone. Last known coordinates and flight logs are great for a drone that is down or hovering patiently. But what if it’s gone missing?
Telemetry data can provide information about the drone’s distance and the exact direction it was flying before it lost its way. This information allows pilots to determine the drone’s direction and then follow it, especially if the drone is flying away. These telemetry numbers can also be used to aid in your search if you can reconnect with the drone. The distance should decrease as one approaches it.
This feature is great for situations like these. Telemetry information is an excellent option. This information can be combined with the controller’s last known coordinates and flight logs to focus on a specific area where it was or was when it was lost. It allows the user to pinpoint where it was when it lost contact and where it was headed when it lost contact.
Check Flight Logs and Last Known Coordinates
This option is available to anyone who has lost their drone. However, it is especially useful for pilots who have lost their drones because of a low battery charge. Remote controllers can save the drone’s last known coordinates before the device is disconnected. This will help you and your search party pinpoint the right area.
You can also check the flight records of drones. These details are similar to the last known coordinates. As long as the information is from the last flight log, you can use them. These coordinates will need to be entered into a GPS device or your smartphone’s GPS.
After that, you can start searching for the area. Although the actual search will need to be performed manually, you will have a good idea that you are on the right track.
Use another drone for searching
With drones being assigned to find lost hikers, it is a smart idea to use a second drone as a rescue drone. It doesn’t matter how old the second drone is. It doesn’t matter how old the drone is, as long as it can fly at least some distance from its controller and has a functioning camera.
This second drone can be used to see the landscape from a bird’s eye view. You will need to make several passes and look for any objects that stand out in the grass, water, or rocks.
If your drone’s battery is still charged, you can wait until nightfall to see if it’s charging. Start making rounds around the area where the drone crashed without using the second drone. You should be able to spot the drone easily with lights flashing from it.
Use a metal detector
This trick can be useful if your drone is lost in a field of grassy grass where you cannot see your feet. Your drone may be right in front of you, and you won’t even notice it. If your drone contains many metallic parts, such as motors, a cheap metal detector could be useful.
Hobbyists have used metal detectors for decades to locate coins and other treasures. It’s a great idea to use it to search for your missing drone.
You have already divided your target zone into search zones. Start with the most probable zone, and then expand your search. Metal detectors’ coils can only detect metals within a distance of approximately 2 feet. Be as thorough as you can.
You can either borrow/rent a metal detector from your local hardware store or buy one cheaply from Amazon. I like the Bounty Hunters TK4 Tracker. It is very handy and has a good range.
Okay, so you’ve searched the area and used a metal detector. But your drone is not there. What next?
Likely, the drone flew down to a resident’s yard in a densely populated area. You can make a sad face of the man who just lost his precious drone and rings some bells to ask residents if they have heard or seen any drones crash.
People are more kind than we realize. They would happily give your drone back to you if it has fallen into someone’s yard, maybe with a warning. Thank them for their kindness and promise to be more careful the next time.
File a police report on a drone that has been stolen
You can also file a police report on your missing drone. This will let anyone who finds it contact the station, and you might receive a call.
If your drone is more than 0.55 lb and you’re in the US, it may be registered with the FAA. If this is the case, please mention your FAA number in your police report. Otherwise, you could be in serious legal trouble if someone finds your drone and misuses it. Although it may seem unlikely, there is no harm in it.
Read more about How To Get A Drone Out Of A Tree.
What to do if your drone is lost over water?
Overwater is the hardest place to lose your drone.
Drones are not able to swim. However, if you are in shallow water and safe to enter, grab the drone and put it in rice overnight.
However, for the most part, if your drone is lost over water, you may need to reduce your losses, especially if it is in large lakes or rivers.
How can I prevent losing my drone?
You can lose your drones or other drones at any moment. Here are some things you can do to stop this from happening.
Get a GPS tracker
This is the best thing you can do. It will quickly help you find the drone that went down and will prevent you from future headaches.
Nearly all drones have a return to home function. Make sure you set this function as soon as your drone is assembled. This function could save your drone in the event of multifunction.
There is an app for that.
Install the app that your drone came with on your phone as soon as possible. It will allow you to track your drone, especially if it supports find my drone.
Keep it insight
It is best to keep your drone visible when flying it, regardless of whether you are flying it at night or during the day. In case the drone crashes or something goes wrong, you will be able to find it quickly. This is especially important when you fly at night.
Lighting is crucial, especially when you fly the drone at night. You will want to make sure it remains visible.
FAQs about Lost Drones
Do I need to pay anything to file a lost or found drone report?
No. No. It is recommended because if someone gives it to the authorities, they will have your contact details.
What happens if my drone was lost a few months ago? Should I file a report on the drone’s loss?
Even if your drone was lost months ago, it might still be found or sought by someone else.
Do I need to include all my contact information in my search posters?
For people filing Found Drone Reports, we don’t recommend it. It is usually more convenient to contact someone through an intermediary such as a police officer. You may want to leave a phone number so that you can receive text messages if you’re registering a Lost Drone Report. You should not leave your parent’s number if you are younger than 18.
Is it possible to track a drone that has been lost?
Use the DJI “Find My Drone” Feature. … It’s possible that your drone will connect if it is a high-end model. Important Note: If the telemetry information, such as distance and direction on your remote controller screen, doesn’t update while you move around, it will indicate that your drone and remote have lost connection.
Do drones have GPS tracking?
All drones are equipped with advanced GPS systems, intelligent Autopilot systems, and top-of-the-range 4k cameras. Follow me technology is one of the most popular features on all drones below.
Why did my drone fly away?
Flyaway can be caused by anything that weakens the link between drone and controller. Flying too close to sources of strong electromagnetic interference or flying too far away can cause a flyaway. Signal strength can be affected by flying near large structures and on rainy days.
The risk of flying will always be there, whether using the drone for aerial photography or having fun. Your drone can disappear at any moment. Hopefully, this article will help you find your drone quickly and share it with those who need it.
However, we recommend using one of these drone trackers to ensure that your drone is protected.
Thanks for spending time with staaker.com. Check out our website frequently for the most recent reviews and information about drones!