What's your preflight routine?

Share how you prepare for each flight of your drone. Do you follow a set preflight checklist or have your own routine developed from dozens of flights?

Have you any tips to help other members ensure a smooth, successful and safe flight? Add your comments to this thread.

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Mine’s quite simple:

Extend arms and rotors
Attach Strobon LEDs
Remove gimbal dome

Turn on controller
Launch app
Turn on drone

Start recording
Start engine

Take off
Check RTH

Set camera white balance
Set camera focus


There’s probably more I could (should?) be doing but I’m all for getting it up in the air quickly :smiley:


Mine’s not too different

Extend arms
Check props are secure
Give battery a firm push while holding bird to ensure it is fully secured
Switch on controller
Launch app
Switch on bird
Check RTH height settings
Decide on which sensors I want on or off depending on where flying (over water, near trees, etc)
Wait for GPS Signal

Take off and hover at around 30 ft until home point set voice message, then check homepoint on map
Set camera, white balance etc

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Any tips on sensor settings for flying over water and trees?

Over water I disable downward sensors. I have read a fair few horror stories related to sun glare off water confusing the sensors and causing crashes.

Trees and other obstacles. It depends really. If I want to get close to them such as flying between trees, I turn off forward and downward sensors.


I just added “Set sensors” to my preflight check list :wink:

Pretty much the same as you guys, except I start Go4 first. If I use another app like Hangar or Litchi I then close Go4 and start the 3rd party app last.

I am trying to develop a more comprehensive check list, for my own use as a reference and to record that I have performed due diligence before each flight including a risk assessment for each flight. Possibly OTT but I want to be able to prove that I am acting responsibly as a recreational pilot. So here is my work in progress, I have included the ones mention in the previous posts.

At home:-

A/C Batteries power check - fully charge day of flight
RC equipment power check - fully charge day of flight
Firmware and database updates check (GO4 or Assistant)
Moverio + phone charged. Earphones packed.
Phones charged and ready
Goggles charged and ready
Spare phone battery, power bank, power bank adaptor
Check all cables needed present

Lanyards and RC mounts
Spare Props

Documents: Copy of insurance, DRONE code, Leicester Police information, CAA Drone Code

Pre-flight planning at home:-

Birds; Propellers good shape, inspect body, gimbal
Weather conditions - forecast, wind speeds and direction
Location - map - preload to device(s)
Flysafe area check - if new area - check NOTAMS etc.
Prepare flight plan - google earth - check clearance from nearest building etc = +50M
File flight plan in Drone Assist
Define flight objectives
General flight practice
Test flight
Photography mission - subjects?
Specific exercises
Fly large boxes and spirals
Fly a waypoint mission
Explore New Location

Phone/Moverio to flight mode
Clear memory cache
SD cards loaded and formatted - check if enough free space
Goggles check if using them

Cables? OTP USB chargers

At field:-

Check location for hazards, people etc.
Complete Risk assessment
Record weather conditions, visibility, wind speed
Turn off Apple Watch
Extend arms and rotors
Check props are secure
Attach Strobon LEDs
Gimbal locks and covers OFF
Turn on controller and connect to RC
Turn on Aircraft
Launch app
Check all systems and mode settings
Check RTH behaviour and height
Check battery status and temp. - Check battery locked on to bird.
Give battery a firm push while holding bird to ensure it is fully secured
Calibrate compass, check sensors state - IMU, vision sensor settings
Decide on which sensors I want on or off depending on where flying (over water, near trees, etc)
Check GPS strength
Check/select RC channel
Record on


Start engine
Take off
Set/Check home point
Check RTH height
Set camera white balance
Set camera focus
Take off - Bird facing away into wind - head upwind - RTH downwind
Warm up motors and IMU
Wait for GPS Signal
Take off and hover at around 30 ft until home point set voice message, then check homepoint on map
Hover at 100 meters and survey site for people and potential hazards
Confirm Focus - set exposure values etc
Go Explore - carry out flight plan, have fun

Post flight at field:-

Record off
Turn off Aircraft and RC
Remove / replace battery
Cool off batteries
Clean and store equipment

Post flight at home:-

Upload/Synchronize logs
Note any observations, problems etc.
Check images/video
Check nothing left at field before heading home

At home:-

Drink beer
Download videos
Assess aircraft and pilot performance
Update pilot development plan objectives for future exercises / tests
Upload video/pics to forum
Research any issues - upload flight data if assistance is required for analysis
Drink more beer

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Lol :smiley:

I love how this is # 1

Priorities eh :rofl:

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Curious, why do you turn off your Apple Watch?

Hi @TimD and welcome to Grey Arrows :smiley:

I don’t have an Apple watch but at a guess it’s to prevent calls from interrupting the flight :slight_smile:

If you need to calibrate your drone’s compass it is important that any ‘smart’ devices should either be turned off or placed 20-30 metres away from the drone as their electronics can interfere with and cock up the calibration. Hence, I assume, the OP’s statement re turning no off his Apple Watch.

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Found it on another forum - I understand it can cause interference as close to the transmitter. Forgot to add - turn phone to airplane mode too after downloading map. Not sure if these are really needed, but why take a risk.

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Explanation here


Any opinions about having phone in airplane mode, WiFi off - my worry would be as a potential source of interference between phone, TX and RC if leaving them on?

Just read that turning on airplane mode disables GPS on the device, so can negatively impact RTH etc. so probably not recommended. And this … http://www.mrrace.com/DJI/ which recommends the opposite!

It seems clear that it is good to at least turn off bluetooth on all devices in the vicinity.

I always fly in airplane mode, never been an issue :slight_smile:

The GPS RTH issue is only an issue if you move away from your takeoff point. If you’re on a moving boat for example, or playing with active-track while in a moving car (as the controller isn’t where it was when you took off) :+1:

Always worn my Apple Watch when calibrating/flying my drones. No problems as yet. Hope we’re not getting into ‘urban myth’ territory here.

Same here, always have my Apple cellular watch on, never had any issue.


Hello, New member as of today. I would really like some more information regarding Strobon LEDS, where you get them & how to fit & power them.

Go to the Members Only Area, there is a Discount for our members to get them cheaper !.
P.S. Buy a pair of good sunglasses, you’ll need them !