Maintenance for your drone is just as essential as maintenance for anything else. It’s required for our cars, homes, and everything else important to us. Taking proper care of these things prevents us from dealing with more serious problems down the road.
Maintenance may sometimes feel like an unnecessary hassle, but your future self–and wallet–will thank you for maintaining your drone. While some tasks are required less often, you should take time every day to do some maintenance.
Taking proper care of a drone can seem daunting, so we wrote every task down and divided it into daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly tasks. You can thank us later!
Drones require daily maintenance. Maintenance is annoying, but these steps don’t take much time, especially when you consider the time and money you might save yourself by preventing a bigger problem. Here are five things you can do each day to extend the life of your aircraft:
1. Clean your airframe. This step is only necessary on the days you fly.
2. Check your drone for any loose screws.
3. Inspect the propellers for any damage.
4. Do a quick scan of your drone’s motors and ensure everything looks good.
5. Make sure your drone’s camera is clean and functioning. You don’t want to miss out on great shots due to a dirty or broken camera!
Aircraft owners don’t always see cracks or other damage immediately after they occur. Sometimes owners don’t even notice damage in their quick daily checks. But the earlier you notice that something isn’t right, the less likely you are to make matters worse when you continue to fly.
Here at UVT, we typically switch out props after they are used for a certain number of hours. Even “small problems” can cause catastrophic malfunctions. Something minute as a hairline fracture in your drone’s propeller can cause it to explode at high speeds. (We weren’t being dramatic when we said “small” problems aren’t really that small).
Please take time each week to thoroughly inspect your drone and ensure its firmware is all up to date. Weekly checks help make sure nothing gets past you!
Batteries are an extremely important component of any drone. We recommend you do monthly battery checks to prevent major issues.
Remember to check your batteries for any bulges or leaks monthly. Batteries are often forgotten until they stop working, so don’t be late to address them. Damaged batteries make drones extremely unsafe to fly.
During your monthly battery check, you’ll also need to do a quick switch of your batteries. Batteries work because of a limited number of charge cycles, so after a while, you have to switch to a new battery to ensure there aren’t any issues.
You should also do a more detailed, up-close inspection of your motors, especially for those that frequently fly in dirty or dusty environments. Particles often build up and cause propulsion systems to be less efficient. In the worst cases, dust and dirt cause premature failure of the motor(s).
The hardware you fly is just one component of the entire system. Every year, we like to go through all of our SOPs and other operating documentation to ensure everything is current and applicable to the operation. This can include Part 107 certificates, airspace authorizations, waivers, etc.
Taking time to perform these tasks is the best thing you can do to extend the life of your aircraft. You may find them tedious or asking if they’re really necessary, but you could very well end up calling UVT and hearing us say we told you so if you ignore them! But really, we hope you found these tips helpful in optimizing the lifetime and activity of your aircraft!