Accept it or not, people do lose drones virtually all the time. I’ve done it myself many times. Sometimes lost in a tree, sometimes lost in the wind. I send it up too high, get disoriented or the wind grabs it and it’s gone. I can understand that feeling of losing a drone. Here I have few tips(which I learned) “How To Find A Lost Drone Without a Tracker”.
It is very easy to find a lost drone with a GPS tracker attached. But, there are plenty of drones(the inexpensive ones) that come without the GPS tracker. Finding a lost drone without a tracker unit is quite a challenging task, especially when you have just started flying drones.
So what would you do, if you have a drone without a GPS tracker and you lose it?
Here are the tips on how to find a lost drone without a tracker.
Tip 1. Never Turn Off the Controller
Every new drone pilot first instinct when they lose their drone, may be to turn your controller off, since you might assume that having it wouldn’t do you any good. But this is incorrect.
You can find your drone by listening for the sound of it, but for that, you need to leave the controller switched on so that the props will continue spinning. This won’t damage your drone, but it may be your best chance of recovering it.
Walk toward the direction that your drone was last seen, and see if you can reconnect to your drone using your controller. While you search for your lost drone the controller will keep searching for the drone’s signal while it is still powered on.
Tip 2. Affix your name and contact no.
You should put your name and phone number somewhere on the drone so that if you lose it – or lose it again – someone finding the drone will be able to contact you so you can come get it.
While it’s often true, there’s no need to just cynically assume that someone finding your drone won’t try to return it to you. This has worked for me once, although I guess it depends on the neighborhood where you happen to lose your drone. But for the most part, you’ll find that the public is perfectly willing to call you up so you can recover your drone. Even labeling it after the fact will help protect you in the future.
Tip 3. Check the Last-Known Coordinates
If your drone’s battery dies but you still have power in your controller, there is still hope. Once again, do not turn off your controller. Some controllers store the drone’s last-known coordinates.
If this is the case, plug those coordinates into your phone’s GPS and head toward that location. You will still have to manually search for it, but this narrows down the area drastically at least.
If you were using an app to pilot your drone, then check the app’s settings for the last-known coordinates. This is usually stored on your phone or in the app itself.
Tip 4. “Return to Home” Button in rescue
If your drone loses controller connectivity and you start losing the video feed, press the Return to Home button on your controller immediately.
The first thing that happens when a drone starts going out of the controller’s range is that the live video feed goes out. But although you lost the video feed on your controller, there’s still a chance that you are connected with your drone.
In this situation, just follow the previous step. Don’t turn off your controller, and head toward the last-seen direction of your drone. You need to get somewhere closer to it so that you can be in range to regain control. If the video feed starts working again, you’ll see your drone heading back to you shortly.
Checkout the below video on how to find a lost drone
Tip 5. Check Telemetry Information
Most displays and app monitors show telemetry information at the bottom. This is a common feature that can be found on most controllers like physical controllers, I Pads, or smartphones.
When you start losing connectivity, look very carefully at the telemetry information. It shows you which direction your drone was flying to and how far it is from the last good connectivity point
Tip 6. Report to FAA
The last thing you should do to find a lost drone without a tracker is , report your lost drone to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They will notify you if your drone pops up anywhere since it has a registration number tied to it.
But remember, this tip is only helpful when you have registered your drone with FAA, which is kind of mandatory if your drone weighs more than .55 pounds.
So If you have just got a drone, my suggestion will be, visit the FAA Website and get acquainted yourself with the rules & regulation before you take your first flight. You can click the link below.
Tip 7. ‘Find My Drone’ App for rescue
Find My Drone is a free app for iOS that connects your iPhone to your UAV. This spectacular app can help you to find a lost drone without a tracker, even when it’s out of range.
The app locates your aerial vehicle and then directs you to its location. It does this magic using the MAVlink protocol. This is the same protocol that many popular open-source autopilot programs use.
Some of the app’s features include a map view of your drone’s location. It also reports your drone’s battery levels and current status. The app recalls you’re last received coordinates should the drone experience power failure.
There’s also a Manual Mode that lets you search for your drone using a different autopilot or telemetry. Find My Drone calculates the bearing based on your drone’s last known coordinates.
Hopefully, one of these suggestions will lead you to find a lost drone without a tracker. Once in a while, people do lose a much-loved drone forever. I still think about my first tracker-less drone which I lost . I can still feel that pain.
However, now I do not send my drones up without GPS or Find my Drone app now.
As they say “Prevention is better than cure”. So It is better to take measures to prevent losing your drone forever!