Drone Flight Planning and Pre-Flight Checks

Pre-flight checklists are a great way to ensure you have all the necessary gear for flying your drone and that you are taking all the proper precautions to ensure an enjoyable flight.

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Also, a post-flight checklist is an integral part of good drone ownership and operation. A post-flight checklist ensures that you do not skip any key steps to properly shut down, maintain, and store your drone until your next flight.

Drone flight safety

We couldn’t start this document less cliché than saying “Safety First”; because indeed safety is the one and only when it comes to flying a drone.
When you plan the flight of your drone operation; you shall first secure the safety of other people, your own safety, safety of objects on your flight path, and the safety of your drone.

Every drone pilot / operator should follow the rules and regulations specified by the governing bodies applicable at the region the flight takes place. Following the FAA's “I fly safe” campaign and EASA's drone code of conduct, we will cover the safety aspect with one checklist item on the Pre-Flight Checklist: “I fly safely, legally and responsibly”.

Here are the checklist items to make sure your Drones / Transmitters / Receivers and Flight Controllers are well maintained for airworthiness at all times:

Drone flight checklist

Check Item
Pre-Flight I fly safely, legally and responsibly
Check how the weather conditions will evolve during your flight
Inspect the drone and the hub for any damage
Inspect propellers for damage on the blades and make sure the screws are tight
Run the Flight Controller app on your tablet
Verify tablet battery charge level
Place the hub on a flat surface and turn it on
Verify the data link connection and the hub battery charge level on the app
Plan a new mission on your tablet or call a previously saved mission and edit
Contingency planning should include safe routes in the event of a system failure, degraded performance, or lost communication link
Check for any people and animals near by
In-Flight Power on drone
Verify drone battery charge level
Start flight timer
Stand clear (min. 3 meters)
Take-off your drone
Hover at 3 meters for a few seconds to check stability
Start your mission
Monitor and control battery levels and data link during your drone in operation
Land drone
Post-Flight Power off drone
Power off hub
Inspect drone for damage including landing gear and propellers
Place all gear in storage containers
Connect via USB to download media from the onboard SD Card
No risk, more fun!

Extra

Here you can find a good explanation from popularmechanics.com on how to officially report your drone flight plan to nearby pilots. This article explains it for the US only; contact your local authorities to inform them about your flight plan at your region.