How to Fly an FPV Drone in the Snow (18 Must-Know Tips for Safe Flights)

RCHobby Lab’s Author: Kristen Ward
Reviewed by Kristen Ward
Updated on
Reviewed by Kristen Ward
Blog cover: how to fly FPV drone in the snow

Flying an FPV drone, such as the DJI Avata, in winter when the temperatures are cold, or there’s snow on the ground can yield stunning videos and images.

However, it would be best if you took a few extra precautions when flying a drone in these conditions to ensure you have the best possible experience when flying and come away with the best results.

Here are 18 tips to help you safely fly in cold and snowy conditions with your drone.

1. Wearing the right gear

When flying a drone in snowy, cold, or wet conditions, I can’t recommend getting a pair of gloves enough.

Aside from the obvious benefit of keeping your fingers warm, having a good pair of gloves when flying in cold temperatures will help you capture better videos with your drone.

If your fingers are extremely cold, you’ll find it very hard to control your drone smoothly and precisely.

As your fingers get colder, you’ll have less fine control over the controller’s joysticks. So, I recommend picking up a pair of gloves if you’re flying in colder conditions.

You can even get smartphone-compatible gloves, which means you can operate the controller’s screen without removing your gloves.

2. Avoiding ground contact in snow

When flying in snow, it’s essential to avoid taking off or landing your drone directly on the ground. If you place your drone on the snowy ground to take off, the snow can enter the vents of the drone and turn into moisture.

Similarly, when landing, the propellers spinning can kick up snow and humidity around the drone.

To address this, you have a couple of options. One is to use a landing pad placed on top of the snow, providing a barrier between the snow and the drone.

Alternatively, you can hand-launch and catch the drone to avoid touching the ground.

To hand-launch, press both joysticks diagonally inwards and then hold up on the left stick to lift off.

When landing, hold your hand beneath the drone, lower the left stick, and the drone will descend onto your hand. This way, the drone doesn’t touch the snow-covered ground.

Moreover, be cautious of placing your camera bag or backpack on the snowy ground. Moisture from the snow can soak through the fabric and into the bag, potentially affecting any contents inside, such as spare batteries.

Ensure your bag is placed somewhere snow-free to prevent moisture from transferring through the fabric.

3. Checking the minimum operating temperature

Different drone models have varying temperature tolerances.

For example, drones like the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mavic 3 Classic can be used down to -10 degrees Celsius, while others like the DJI Mini 2 can only be used down to zero degrees Celsius.

It’s significant to look up this information on the manufacturer’s website to stay informed before heading out to fly.

Operating a drone below its specified temperature range could lead to malfunctions or reduced performance.

4. Taking care of batteries in cold conditions

Cold temperatures can significantly affect battery performance.

Cold batteries have reduced capacity, leading to shorter flight times. To mitigate this, warm up your batteries before flying and ensure they are fully charged.

5. Warming up batteries

To warm up your drone’s batteries, avoid placing them in cold environments, such as the trunk of a car.

Instead, keep them closer to your body or use warming pads in your drone bag to maintain a higher temperature.

6. Maintaining full battery charge

Cold weather can cause batteries to self-discharge faster.

Always inspect that your batteries are fully charged within 24 hours of flying to ensure you get the maximum flight time.

7. Carrying spare batteries

Bringing extra batteries on your flights is a smart move.

While individual flight times may be reduced in cold conditions, having multiple batteries allows you to extend your total flight time.

8. Taking off and hovering

When flying in cold and wintry conditions, it’s recommended to hover your drone in front of you for about 20 or 30 seconds before starting your flight.

This helps the battery warm up to an appropriate operating temperature. It’s also a chance to inspect for any error messages related to battery temperature and ensure the drone operates smoothly.

Additionally, this method allows you to gauge the drone’s behavior and responsiveness in cold conditions.

9. Dealing with propeller icing

Another consideration is propeller icing, which can occur when flying in cold and foggy conditions. Ice can form on the propellers due to moisture in the air, potentially causing vibrations and affecting video quality.

Regularly inspect the propellers for icing and clean them off if necessary.

10. Preventing condensation on the camera lens

High humidity and temperature differences can lead to condensation forming on the camera lens.

Check your camera regularly during flights and wipe off any condensation to ensure clear images and videos.

11. Planning short flights and staying warm

While flying in light snow showers is feasible, it’s advisable to keep the flights brief.

Planning shorter flights allows you to monitor the drone’s condition, check for any issues, and manage battery life effectively.

12. Avoiding snow glare and positioning sensor issues

The reflective nature of snow can interfere with downward positioning sensors and obstacle avoidance systems.

Fly higher to avoid these issues and maintain a safe flight.

13. Using ND filters in bright conditions

Snow-covered landscapes can lead to overexposed areas in your footage. Using ND filters helps control exposure and allows you to capture well-balanced images and videos even in bright sunlight.

14. Opting for sports mode

In extremely cold conditions, the drone’s motors may take longer to reach full power. Utilizing sports mode compensates for this by delivering a quicker response time.

However, bear in mind that even in sports mode, the drone’s performance might not match that in warmer conditions.

15. Landing in heavy snow

If heavy snowfall starts during your flight, it’s best to bring your drone back and land it immediately. Drones are not waterproof, and moisture can damage their internal components.

Prioritize safety and protect your equipment.

16. Drying and cleaning the drone after flight

After flying in snowy conditions, use a microfiber cloth to thoroughly dry and clean your drone.

This prevents moisture from seeping into sensitive components and ensures your drone is ready for the next flight.

17. Avoiding clouds in cold temperatures

Flying into clouds can lead to issues such as propeller icing and loss of visibility. Avoid flying too high or into clouds to ensure a safe and smooth flight.

18. Fly from the comfortable location

Whenever possible, position yourself in a warm area to operate the drone comfortably.

FAQs about fly FPV drone in the snow

Final words

Thank you for taking the time to read these tips. Always prioritize safety, take necessary precautions, and make the most of your drone flying experience in snowy weather.

Happy flying!

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Written By Kristen Ward

My name is Kristen R. Ward. I’m an adventure Filmmaker and I run a production company based out of New York. FPV drones are integral to my business. I'll be teaching you everything I've learned over the years creating videos for clients.

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