Commercial Drone Operations

3 Hardware Tips to Boost Safety in Commercial Drone Operations

Are you starting or growing a drone business? Protecting your operations doesn’t just mean risk management. It all starts with risk prevention. In this blog series, we will share best practices for ensuring safety across all key areas of your operations — including hardware, software, and UTM. 

Drone registration

Before getting into the nitty gritty of your pre-flight checklist, let’s start with the essentials. Under Part 107, commercial drone pilots are required to register their drones with the FAA and ensure drones are labeled with their assigned registration numbers before taking flight. Drone registrations cost $5, and the FAA has prepared more information about the process,  as well as a guide for labeling your drone.

Hardware pre-flight checklist

After ensuring that your drone registrations and pilot certifications are up to date, it’s time to focus on your pre-flight hardware checklist.

  • Batteries
    • Ensure that your batteries are fully charged. If your flights will be over a larger survey area, or might otherwise exceed 45 minutes in the air, make sure you have spare batteries on hand.
  • Propellers
    • Before any flight, it is critical to check that your propellers are intact and undamaged, and to inspect them for dirt, debris, or other foreign materials. 
  • Compass and GPS calibration
    • To avoid flyaways, it’s essential to check if your drone’s compass and GPS systems are working optimally. It is recommended to keep them  away from magnetic objects to avoid damage. If you’re using a DJI drone, this tutorial provides more information on calibrating your compass. 
  • Sense & Avoid
    • If your drone has Sense & Avoid features, make sure they are turned on before starting any survey.

Communication between drone and base station

Even if you’re flying autonomous missions, it’s imperative that you set up and maintain reliable communication between your drone and base station throughout the duration of your flight. Check your environment and flight path for factors that could contribute to signal interference, such as cell phone towers, power lines, tall buildings and bodies of water.
If you have questions about protecting your commercial drone operations, reach out to our team at In the next installment of this blog series, we will share tips for leveraging software solutions to improve operational safety.


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