Preparing for a Drone Mission
There are several factors to consider before commencing a drone mission. It is the responsibility of every operator to thoroughly make sure that the drone is ready and is equipped properly to execute a mission. Once the drone is ready for the mission now it's time to prepare a mission so that we save time on field and get the most out of the time available.
So how do we prepare a drone mission?
Most of the drone operators use a mission planning software which is provided by the manufacturer or the one which is available open source. Every mission planning software will have maps into them and thus we check the location on the map and understand the vicinity.
We check for firmware and software updates and make sure both the ground station software and the drone firmware are up to date.
We check which of the three zones (Green, Yellow, Red) do we fall in and if the mission can be executed in that particular zone. Identifying the zone we mark or decide our takeoff and landing locations and also designate alternate landing sites in case of an emergency.
Next is we find the highest obstacle of the location and plan our safe heights accordingly. Once we know the maximum height we now plan our failsafe procedures i.e what happens in case of a failure.
We decide the action to failsafe (low battery, Communication failure, Geofence breach, etc). Always use the action of Return to Home to all the possible failsafe programs.
Since we know our maximum height we keep a buffer of 50-75 feet + the highest obstacle height for the Return to home function.
Now, we make the waypoints for our flight plans and define takeoff altitude and speed and altitude to each of our waypoints.
Once we are on the field, we check the weather and connect the drone to the ground control station. While connecting the drone to the ground control station, we check the battery health and sensors health.
We also calibrate the compass if required and check the proper functioning of the payload.
Once we complete all our checks and find all green we are good to go for our mission.