Night Flight in Extreme Cold

Capturing an image that says “frigid” from a drone is a challenge. You could fly a bank thermometer, how cliche, or go to a ski slope, but shots there don’t relate whether it is 32 degrees or minus 32, so I shot a paper mill since the cold makes the stack output more dense. The shot turned out OK, but still didn’t convey the message. We’ll be trying again tonight since temps will be near zero and a snow storm is supposed to pummel the area this weekend.

FYI winds were 14MPH and the temperature was 10 degrees. So far no noticeable impact on battery life or performance of my Phantom 3 in the extreme cold.


The Way of the Seal

Drone pilots should adopt this Navy Seal saying when flying. “Slow is smooth – smooth is fast.” In the context of the military the saying suggests moving fast, or rushing it, is reckless and will likely get you killed. In the context of flying a drone, rushing is likely to result in a crash, or other accident.  Mostly likely, rushing when flying a drone, is stick movement that is too fast for the situation. My first serious crash due to rushing came on the Fourth of July one year. It was a perfect day for flying. There was a light breeze, sunny skies and the temperature was  in the low 80’s. I was practicing with my Phantom 1 with a GoPro attached in a large field in front of a school. There was a flag pole and the breeze was causing the flag to flutter. Since it was the Fourth I decided a great way to practice would be circle the flag and get some patriotic shots. Instead of being patient, and advancing the done on the flag slowly, I pushed the right stick up to close the distance. As I approached the wind shifted and sent the flag right into my Phantom, when then went about 30 feet straight down and smashed into the concrete sidewalk.

I made more mistakes than just rushing. I should have had more altitude and then slowly brought the Phantom down into position to get the shots, and I needed to be an appropriate distance from the flag. Two things I didn’t think about because I was rushing.

I’m a believer in “Slow is smooth – smooth is fast.” You should be to, especially if you are a new pilot.

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