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You’re invited to the AOPA Campus at AirVenture!

Stop by the AOPA campus at AirVenture—we have lots in store for you

The fun, the friendships, and the flying all start at the AOPA campus and we invite you to come and be a part of it! Visit us at Booth #463, across from the Brown Arch on the flight line.
We’re keeping your safety in mind by encouraging you to follow EAA’s COVID-19 safety guidelines during your time at AirVenture.
 We’ve missed you! Visit our main tent and see Member Services: For the first time in over a year, you’ll be able to join or renew your membership in person. Get $10 off and your choice of Free Shirt or Hat! Choose PPS Basic or Plus and get both! Pilot Information Center: Whether you are looking for info about FAA regulations, flight planning, aircraft ownership, or anything that might affect your certificate, we can help answer your questions in person.Airport Support Network: Talk to our AOPA Airports and State Advocacy team to learn how you can help us protect your airport.Pilot Gear Store: Get your hands on the latest AOPA Pilot Gear and walk out in style!Air Safety Institute: Sit in on one of many ASI seminars at our Program Pavilion and learn how to be a safer pilot. Learn what AOPA’s You Can Fly program can do for you by talking to our You Can Fly staff. Attend the Rusty Pilots seminar to help you get back into the air. We have resources for prospective pilots to lapsed pilots! You Can Fly is fueled by the AOPA Foundation. Support general aviation by making a donation to the AOPA Foundation: Learn more about the programming funded by generous donors, recognition levels for giving–including the Hat in the Ring Society, and how you can help build a stronger, safer aviation community for current and future pilots.   Check out the rest of our campus, too! For the first time, see the AOPA Sweepstakes Tiger in person and get an up-close look at the new avionics and engine! Come see the Beechcraft Bonanza avionics display by Garmin. Stop by the Three-Nine Lounge courtyard for a chance to meet with some of your favorite aviation influencers and celebs!   Program Pavilion – Where Learning is Always Fun!  
  From 9:00 to 5:00 each day Monday-Saturday, the AOPA Programming Pavilion will be chock full of great content to help you become a better, safer, more informed pilot. Check out seminars presented by a wide range of industry leaders in technology, avionics, aircraft equipment, and pilot services. AOPA’s Air Safety Institute will present multiple seminars on several important skills and safety topics.    
Special AOPA Member Opportunity – Free Tour of Orbis Flying Eye Hospital
When: Thursday, July 29: 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. 
As an AOPA member, you have the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the Orbis MD-10 Flying Eye Hospital in an exclusive AOPA-members-only tour on Thursday, July 29 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital brings the latest technology, training, and teaching tools to local healthcare teams in low-income countries so they can reverse and prevent blindness in their communities. The plane boasts 3D technology and the latest live broadcast capabilities that enable Orbis to train healthcare professionals around the world. Take advantage of this opportunity to get an in-depth tour and learn about their important mission that makes the vision a reality. Free to AOPA members; just bring a copy of this email or your AOPA membership card for access.     
(Please note: as an active professional medical center, Orbis is requesting that attendees practice social distancing and wear a face mask while inside the Flying Eye Hospital. This applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals per CDC recommendations for healthcare settings.)
  © 2021 AOPA  •  421 Aviation Way Frederick, MD 21701 US 800.872.2672  •  301.695.2375 Fax
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Your FlightPath Has Arrived!

  FlightPath Issue 3.2021     Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Instagram Instagram YouTube YouTube     Aviator Showcase – Register Now! The AOPA Aviator Showcase is a single-day, consumer-focused event designed to connect pilots and aircraft owners to the general aviation industry. Join us for a high-quality, in-person buying experience with the industry’s leading experts. See us in Manassas, VA on August 27 and Fort Worth, TX on October 1 from 9am-4pm. Tickets are $20 each. Registration is open and required for attendance.

Registration is open and required for attendance.   REGISTER NOW     Learn with AOPA   Botched Go-Around 
  How did this proficient pilot botch a go-around—with tragic consequences? There’s a valuable lesson here on how a situation escalated out of control. Watch this accident analysis from PilotWorkshops.   LEARN MORE   AOPA Webinars to Keep You Sharp

Register for one of these free wide-ranging webinars taught by flying topic experts. Each webinar is designed to keep you informed and safe and, most importantly, to get you to have fun!    CHECK THEM OUT Prerecorded Don’t Get Rusty Pilot Webinars

Watch a series of fun presentations on flying topics to help keep you proficient. Each webinar is hosted by the You Can Fly Flight Training Team.   WATCH NOW   Avoiding prop strikes
  This AOPA Air Safety Institute video examines why prop strikes happen and provides practical tips to protect your propellers, engine, and firewall by ensuring your props are striking air—not the runway, objects, or people.    LEARN MORE   Protect with AOPA   Getting Back in the Cockpit After Heart Surgery

Patients who have these operations obviously appreciate that too. Although there are always exceptions, most patients can get back to pretty normal lives after their recovery. Our pals in the FAA don’t always see things the same way and, justifiably so, have some very strict rules and regulations on getting back in the cockpit after heart surgery.   LEARN MORE   Marriage, new house, new baby, new job?

These are all life-changing events that you anxiously plan for and happily welcome! With these exciting changes and new responsibilities – is your AOPA life insurance coverage still enough?
The recent partnership between AOPA and MetLife provided AOPA members with new lower rates and enhanced benefits on their life insurance plans. That makes this the perfect time to review and update your insurance coverage to make sure it’s keeping up with your changing responsibilities. Visit our improved enrollment site online- and make sure your coverage is keeping up!   LEARN MORE   Own with AOPA   How is the industry adapting to the market?                        What might be the lasting effects that COVID has had on the airplane market?  
    READ MORE     Hang Out with AOPA   Flight Training Experience Survey Closes July 15
  If you’ve had any type of flight training in the past year, tell us about it. We want to hear the good, the bad, and the awesome!   LEARN MORE   Free Ground Shipping at AOPA Pilot Gear!
Can’t make it to Osh? Now’s your chance to grab your favorite gear with FREE GROUND SHIPPING to continental U.S. with code OSHFREESHIP.                 SHOP NOW   Make a Difference with AOPA   Man and woman in airplane cockpit examining a workbook. Donations Get Youth Into Aviation
  You Can Fly’s High School initiative provides STEM-based curriculum to help students discover careers in aviation. Donate during the You Can Fly Challenge and your gift will be doubled!   DOUBLE MY GIFT TODAY   Partner with AOPA   Car driving on the highway Fly Out With ForeFlight and Win!

Flying has never been so rewarding! Follow along each month as ForeFlight and AOPA highlight a new region. Visit any of the partner locations to pick up ForeFlight swag and be entered for the chance to win prizes. Click here to learn more. #FFFLYOUT.   ENTER NOW     Fly with AOPA   AOPA Pilot Passport Challenge

Use the App’s Pilot Passport feature to check-in at as many of the original 13 colonies in July, which include Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia. Top participant with the most check-ins to the 13 colonies will win a 1-year PPS Plus Level Membership.    LEARN MORE   Podcasts with AOPA   AOPA Podcast Logo Images   LISTEN NOW   AOPA Live This Week

Tens of thousands of pilots have found a new way to get the week’s general aviation news. AOPA Live This Week, aviation’s most popular and complete weekly aviation videocast, wraps up the week’s news and features in a 15-minute video package. This free newsletter is your weekly link to AOPA Live This Week. Wherever you are and on whatever device you use from mobile to desktop to TV, lean back and enjoy this quick and complete new approach to general aviation news.   SIGN UP   Make Sure You're Getting the Most out of Your Membership. Click here to see what you're missing!   Is your member profile up to date? To ensure you are getting what you need from AOPA, review your contact information and membership selections, renew your membership, update your proxy voting status , customize your publications, and more!   © 2021 AOPA  •  421 Aviation Way Frederick, MD 21701 US 800.872.2672  •  301.695.2375 Fax
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My Drone Just Flew Away from Me! What Should I Do?

My Drone Just Flew Away from Me! What Should I Do?

Written by Elizabeth Ciobanu in Articles

If you are a drone owner, the chances are that there might come a time when your drone loses its connectivity with the controller. At that moment, it’s almost as if the drone is flying on its own. However common such incidences are, they always cause panic and fear for the drone owners. You don’t want your little fly machine flying away from you and disappearing for good. If you are faced with such a situation, what should you do?

In case of a drone fly away, you should first try to activate the RTH feature; if it doesn’t come back, you can use another drone to search for it. Checking telemetry information in the controller app will also tell you the last location and direction of the drone.

The best solution to drone flyaways is to prevent them in the first place. I’m going to walk you through some of the causes of drone flyaway problems to help prevent them before they happen, but also to understand what you can do if you encounter a flyaway situation.

This article will take you through some of the best steps to follow if you experience a flyaway situation. Sometimes they occur through no fault of your own, and in that case, I’ll help you with some tips on the best ways to recover it when it has flown away.

What to do when your drone flies away

Drone flyaways tend to cause panic and fear – you suddenly realize you might lose the drone for good – especially if you don’t know what to do when this happens to you. 

Here are the basic steps to follow to recover your flyaway drone.

Activate the Return To Home (RTH) 

When you first notice your drone has lost its connection with the controller, activate the RTH as soon as possible. The return to home feature will initiate your drone navigating its way back to the set coordinates and thus prevent it from flying away. The RTH mode is put in the drones to help counter flyaway events, and should you notice your drone failing to respond to your controls, that should be your first step in the efforts to prevent a flyaway.

Push the emergency stop button

An emergency button on some drones will help you counter the drone flyways as soon as you notice your drone losing its link with the controller. Pressing the emergency button will make your drone stop its flight abruptly and activate an emergency landing. This can be very effective, especially when your drone starts to fly away in a built-up place where you can’t run after it or where you will quickly lose sight of it.

Run after the drone

Running after the drone may at times be the only possible and prudent way to respond when your drone flies away. This could be at the point when you lose a connection between the controller and the drone, and the previous two steps are not producing any effect. 

A drone might lose full connection with the controller when flown beyond its range, and nothing on the controller will help recover the connection. In such a situation, running after the drone might be the only way to save your little device from getting lost.

This is not just a helter-skelter panic reaction either – running after the drone will reduce the distance between the drone and the controller and help re-establish the connection between the two. This will also increase the probability of you getting back control of your drone and preventing a flyaway.

How to find a flyaway drone

Finding a flyaway drone may be a grueling task if you don’t have the correct information on where exactly to start your search. Since drones fly in the air, they may go anywhere provided there are no obstacles on their way. Most drone batteries can sustain a flight for about thirty minutes. This is enough time for a drone to go really far, given its considerable high speed.

Therefore, the best prevention is to equip your drone with trackers to help you locate where they are at all times. The telemetry information can also come in handy when trying to locate your flyaway drone. 

Here are some of the best ways to identify and find a flyaway drone.

Use another drone to locate it

Using another drone to find your flyaway drone can be very useful. Drones that have cameras come in handy when trying to locate your renegade drone. A second drone can capture real-time clips of the areas it is flying over and send the videos directly to your monitor; this will help you accurately pinpoint your lost drone and retrieve it quickly.

Use a separate GPS tracker

A separate GPS tracker with its own power source will come in handy when trying to locate a flyaway. When a drone flies away and crashes, it is not unlikely that it will also destroy its built-in location tracking or cut the power source altogether.

It is important to note that when there are no obstacles, a drone will only crash when its battery runs low, and thus, the tracker will go off as well. However, when you have a separate tracker mounted on the drone with an independent power source, you will still get your drone’s location even after a crash or when your drone’s battery dies.

Check the telemetry information on the drone

Telemetry is a device used to retrieve your drone’s flight information on your computer or radio controller. This information can help you to identify several parameters of your drone on the ground.

Telemetry will always show you the exact location where your drone lost its connectivity, as well as the direction it was heading to before the connection was lost. Accurate information from the telemetry unit will help you narrow down to your drone’s likely location or where it might have flown to and thus make your retrieval efforts that much easier.

How to prevent a flyaway situation next time around

There are many reasons a flyaway can occur; some are your fault others are way beyond your control. The most common cause is a malfunction that causes you to lose control of the drone altogether. It may be that a motor fails, or at times, one of the propellers may not be working correctly, or the controller cannot link appropriately with the drone. A software problem can also cause the drone to take on a mind of its own.

Electromagnetic disruptions could also make your drone go haywire and lose communications with the controller. Avoiding flying near high-voltage power lines with a high electromagnetic field around them, or cell phone towers and commercial buildings can help prevent the incidences of drone flyaway.

Some other common causes include flying in bad weather conditions, flying the drone too high or too far from your position, and a low battery in your drone or the controller.

To prevent flyaway situations from happening, here are some tips that you should follow.

Make sure you set and update your drone’s home location

Setting up your drone’s home point is an essential first step when starting up your drone. You will be required to input the GPS location of your house. This process is different on every drone, and as such, you will need to follow the steps provided by the manufacturer. 

Unfortunately, not all drones have a RTH function. Only the more expensive drones will allow you to set up a home address.

Another good option is setting your drone’s home point as the location of the controller. This is very important when controlling the drone from a moving place like a car or boat. Doing this will, however, require that you have a very robust GPS signal.

Start by practicing in beginner mode

Many drones have a beginner mode. In this mode, the drone will automatically set limits on the altitude, distance, and speed the drone will be flying. Beginner mode will thus reduce the chances of losing control of your drone and give you more practice and experience before you graduate to more complex modes. The experience will help avoid future flyaway instances.

Set the altitude correctly

Despite most drones having an obstacle avoidance system, you will still be required to set the drone’s altitude correctly. It would be tragic if your favorite toy hit a tree or a hillside because chances of retrieving it won’t be guaranteed. A height of around sixty meters should be ideal in many areas.

It is important to note that despite the drones having obstacle avoidance technology, the tech is far from being foolproof. The sensors might not properly recognize reflective surfaces like glass or water, or thin obstacles like tree branches.

Don’t overdo the distance

We may often feel tempted to push our drones to the limit to see how far they can fly. This can be the easiest way to lose your drones. Many drones can fly up to a couple of miles away. However, flying them at a max of 500 meters is recommended. And always keep your drone within a distance that you can physically see it to avoid the chances losing controller connection and flying away.

Keep an eye on the battery

Many consumer drones on the market have a battery capacity that can sustain a flight for about 30 minutes at the top limit. This isn’t long keeping in mind how time flies when we’re having fun. It is therefore vital to keep our eyes on the controller monitor to check the drone’s battery. Do not let the battery percentage hit a single digit to prevent finding yourself in trouble.

Be wary of compass interference

To ensure your drone doesn’t fly away, you will need to have the compass calibrated correctly to make sure they fly back home safely. Don’t just rely on the GPS.

Fortunately, most drones have a monitoring system that reports any slight compass interference. If you notice the interference getting worse, fly the done out of that area and back the way it came. The prime cause is magnetized iron. Staying away from bridges and buildings will help you avoid compass interference and consequently avoid drone flyaway problems.

Perform regular maintenance

Many electrical devices develop issues over time. Your drone will not be an exception. It is crucial always to conduct regular maintenance procedures on your drone to ensure it functions at its best before taking it out on a flight. It would be best if you took it to a professional to be sure everything is checking out okay.

Scheduling your drone for maintenance every six months or so will also help you prevent incidences of your drone flying away due to malfunctioning.

Do a preflight check

It is strongly advised against flying your drone without a preflight check. The preflight check will help you ensure all your drone functions are working correctly. 

Check that the batteries are fully charged, the controller links to the drone correctly, and all other components are working well. Remember to check the weather in the area you are flying. Sudden strong winds or rain might cause your drone to fly away or cause other damage to your drone.

Proper lighting

Proper lighting is crucial for people who fly drones at night. Whether you want to capture pictures or videos at night or want to enjoy flying your little toy in the dark, you will need proper light. Proper lighting will make sure that you can keep an eye on your drone at all times when you are flying and, as such, will help prevent accidental crashes and possible flyaways.

Drone flyaways are common problems that many drone owners have faced over their time flying drones. They may cause some drone pilots to avoid flying their drones in the open for fear of losing their toys. However, with the above information and tips on the causes of a flyaway and how to prevent it, you don’t need to worry. The right prevention will keep your drone safe in almost all cases.

Elizabeth Ciobanu

Editor-in-Chief. Elizabeth is a full-time (homeschooling!) mom of four, and serial entrepreneur in a variety of enterprises, one of which is producing content for Droneblog. If free time existed, she would love to spend more time on hobbies such as flying a drone.

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The sky’s the limit with this exclusive special offer!

  Apply now for the AOPA World Mastercard® and receive 0% Intro APR* for 12 monthly billing cycles after account opening on all purchases and balance transfers!*

Then, enjoy a low variable rate of 10.24 – 20.24% APR* for all purchases and balance transfers after your 12-month introductory-rate period.*   APPLY NOW Plus enjoy our valuable pilot benefits every day with: Cash Back1 Select AOPA Purchases2-5 Cash Back1 Select AOPA Partners3-6 Cash Back1 FBO’s & Flight Schools; Aviation & Auto Fuel4-5 Cash Back1 Every Other  Cash Back1 is applied as a statement credit. Quarterly bonus point cap of 2,500 points.     Disclosures:

*View Important Terms of the AOPA Mastercard® credit card

1. Rewards points can be redeemed for Cash Back or other redemption items provided through AOPA Pilot Rewards. A Cash Back redemption is applied as a statement credit. The statement credit will reduce your balance, but you are still required to make at least your minimum payment. A minimum of 2,500 points is needed to redeem for Cash Back. Values for non-cash back redemption items such as merchandise, gift cards, and travel may vary.

2. Advertising, Aviation Insurance, PAC Donations and AFI Donations are excluded. Visit for complete details on exclusions and bonus point categories.

3. Participating AOPA partners include: Aero-Space Reports, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co., Jeppesen®, Pilot Workshops, SiriusXM®, Sporty’s® Pilot Shop. The listed AOPA partners are in no way affiliated with Commerce Bank, nor are the listed merchants to be considered sponsors or co-sponsors of this program. Use of merchant names and/or logos is by the permission of each respective merchant and all trademarks are the property of their respective owners

4. Please note that merchants self-select the category in which transactions will be listed and some merchants may be owned by other companies, therefore transactions may not be counted in the category you might expect. Purchases made using Near Field Communication (NFC), virtual wallets, or similar technology may not be eligible for bonus points.

5. You will earn 4% Cash Back (1 regular point + 3 bonus points = 4%) for every $1 of Net Merchandise Purchases on select AOPA purchases, 3% Cash Back (1 regular point + 2 bonus points = 3%) for every $1 of Net Merchandise Purchases made at select AOPA partners, 2% Cash Back (1 regular point + 1 bonus points = 2%) for every $1 of Net Merchandise Purchases made at FBOs (fixed based operators), aviation and auto fuel, and flight schools, and 1% Cash Back (or 1 point) for every $1 of other Net Merchandise Purchases. For example, if you spend $100, you will earn 100 points which is equal to $1 in Cash Back rewards. A maximum of 2,500 bonus points will be awarded per calendar quarter, per rewards account. Please allow up to five business days after the transaction posts to your account for bonus points to be awarded.  © 2021 AOPA  •  421 Aviation Way Frederick, MD 21701 US 800.872.2672  •  301.695.2375 Fax
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ePilot special report: Avionics upgrades for every budget…

Increase the value and utility of your aircraft by upgrading the instrument panel.

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Aircraft ownership is an investment. One way to increase the value and utility of your aircraft is through upgrading its instrument panel. In Part 4, the final installment of AOPA ePilot‘s quarterly Aircraft Ownership series, we share ideas for upgrading your avionics on a tight budget, transforming your dated instrument panel to a glass cockpit, and pitfalls of buying used avionics. In addition, we bring you the latest news from the Aircraft Electronics Association International Convention & Trade Show. If you missed our previous installments, look back for advice on aircraft maintenance, buying and selling an aircraft, and boosting an aircraft’s performance.
AOPA ePilot Aircraft Ownership series Part 4: Avionics upgrades June 23, 2021
Top Stories Steam-to-digital swaps prove popular Article Steam-to-digital swaps prove popular The list of modern digital instruments available for certified aircraft in sizes similar (or identical) to the steam gauges they replace is growing, giving owners of older aircraft ever more capable, realistic upgrade options. (Photo courtesy of Garmin.) Read more > Out with the old, in with a glass cockpit AOPA Sweepstakes Grumman Tiger Out with the old, in with a glass cockpit We had a choice to make for the AOPA Sweepstakes Grumman Tiger avionics overhaul: retro glass, or big glass. We went big. Read more > Frugal or foolish: Pitfalls of buying used avionics Pilot magazine Frugal or foolish: Pitfalls of buying used avionics Knowing when to buy and when to pass is key to shopping the used avionics market. Here’s some advice from an avionics shop owner and aircraft owners with lots of experience buying used instruments. Read more >
AEA International Convention MyGoFlight HUD gets FAA approval Article MyGoFlight HUD gets FAA approval MyGoFlight announced June 22 that its SkyDisplay head-up display has earned FAA supplemental type certificate approval. Read more > Appareo announces new flight data recorder Article Appareo announces new flight data recorder Appareo’s new 4K Airborne Image Recording System can offload data via cellular networks. (Image courtesy of Appareo.) Read more > Article Gogo stepping up to 5G Gogo Business Aviation reports that its Avance L5 and L3 in-flight connectivity systems are installed on 2,000 business aircraft delivering 4G connectivity. The company will launch a 5G system in 2022. Read more > Shadin introduces new integration products Shadin Avionics is reaching far beyond its well-known aviation fuel flow meters and producing new avionics offerings that focus on updating obsolete instrument panels. The company’s Avionics Interface Systems (AIS) products are designed to simplify aircraft modernization and support future updates. Shadin also is launching a new website to help customers identify solutions for specific aircraft and assist in the configuration and installation of AIS units.
Webinars Video What’s new at Garmin? Garmin Regional Sales Manager Joe Stewart talks about Garmin avionics ranging from integrated flight decks to autopilots during this recorded presentation from the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo. Watch the webinar > Video Aspen Evolution ProMax Learn about Aspen Avionics’ entry-level and high-end offerings in this recorded webinar from the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo. Watch the webinar >
Featured Video Flying IFR with new Garmin avionics Video Flying IFR with new Garmin avionics A Beechcraft Bonanza’s 1980s instrument panel gets a modern makeover. AOPA Editor at Large Dave Hirschman puts it to the test to see if it eases pilot workload during a currency flight in instrument conditions. Watch the video >
This issue of ePilot was created for: Richard Pearson at
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ePilot Editors:
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Production Team:
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