Drones can be hard to find because they are small and are able to fly, which makes them easier to lose than most other objects. There are several ways of How to find a lost drone. If you’re piloting a drone indoors, the best way to find it is by turning off all the lights in the area and searching for its flashing lights.
The first thing you should do is check the app. It’s possible that your drone just got stuck in a tree or something, and it’s waiting for you to come find it. Try rebooting your phone and resetting the drone.
Outside, if your drone is at least partially visible, you may be able to spot it from the ground with binoculars or a telescope. If it has flown out of sight, however, this method won’t work—your only hope is that someone else saw where it went down and was kind enough to help you out.
If there’s still no trace of your drone after a thorough search of its last known location (and even places around there), then unfortunately you probably won’t get your baby back. Your best bet for preventing this from happening in the future is keeping tabs on your drone’s flight time so that you know exactly how much longer it will stay airborne before needing another battery charge or landing area.
1: Start The Drone To See If It Responds
If your drone is still responding, it’s probably within range and you can locate it. Check the status of its battery level and signal strength to get an idea of how far away it might be. If the drone is close by, the battery level may only be slightly lower than when you started flying, even if you’ve been in a long flight. The signal strength should indicate whether or not the drone is still within range.
If you’re having trouble accessing important information through your controller’s display, use the app on your smartphone or tablet instead; this may require updating to a newer version of the software that’s compatible with your device.
2: Launch A Gps Tracking App
A GPS tracking app is your best bet for locating a lost drone. To use one, first check to see if your drone has its own brand-specific tracking app (many do). If it does, download the app and follow the prompts to track your drone’s location. If there isn’t an app associated with your drone brand, try using a third-party GPS tracker like Find My Drone.
Don’t forget to check to see if the GPS option on your lost drone has been turned off. If so, you can still use other methods listed here to find it—just remember that it may be harder for the app or Wi-Fi signal to reach your lost machine.
3: Track It Down Manually
If you don’t have the option of using a GPS tracker on your drone, you will have to manually track it down. This is going to take longer, but if done right, it can still be effective.
Use audio feedback. If your drone makes a loud noise when it’s flying, use this noise to help track it down. It may also help if you listen for when the audio stops; this could be an indication that the drone has crashed or landed somewhere and isn’t in flight anymore.
4: Look Out For Flashing Lights
Most drones have LED lights on them so they can be seen at night and during bad weather conditions. Use these lights to locate or even see your drone’s movement through thick trees or obstructions. Remember that the lights will only be visible up to a certain distance – which depends on how bright they are and how busy/bright the environment is around where you’re looking for your drone – so don’t expect too much from them!
5: Check On Flight Logs For Clues
- Make note of the altitude, distance, time, direction, battery indicator, GPS coordinates build up a mental picture of where you were flying when things went wrong.
- If you were flying inside (and you probably should not be), check the accelerometer logs for any sudden drops in speed that might point to a crash.
- After checking through your logs and determining what happened, head out to the last known location and see if you can find your drone.
6: Move To Higher Ground
- Stay in place and pay attention to landmarks. If you know your drone is low on battery, keep it within sight. If your drone seems to be flying away, don’t follow it! It may seem like a good idea at the time, but if the drone’s battery dies while you’re following it, you won’t be able to use landmarks to help you find your way back!
- Instead, try standing on higher ground that will give you a better view of the landscape. Landmarks will make it easier for you to find your way back when your drone does come down later.
- Look for anything unusual. When looking for your missing drone, look for anything unusual or out of place in the area around where you lost track of it.
- For example, if there’s suddenly an abandoned road sign lying next to someone’s rose bushes across the street from their house, that might be something worth checking out further.
- Unusual activity in an area can mean someone found your drone and decided they wanted to keep it as their own without letting anyone else know about where they live or what they’ve done; this could help lead authorities closer towards finding them and bringing them justice—something everyone deserves.”
7: Ask For Help On Social Media
If you are still no closer to finding your drone, it’s time to expand your search efforts and ask for help. Luckily, there are few more effective means of asking for help than social media. People love to talk, especially if they can share their own stories of losing things in public before being reunited with them.
Hashtags are the best way to combine the powers of social media with the unifying forces of community and common goal. They allow people on different platforms to follow along with a single story, which is often shared in pieces as information becomes available.
They also make it easier for users to share the story with others outside their network who may be able to offer assistance. If you use a hashtag when sharing your lost drone story on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you’re creating a digital trail that makes it easier for people in your community (and beyond) to contribute and keep up with new developments in your quest for a reunion.
Asking for help online may seem counterintuitive at first: if you don’t know where the drone is, how will you be able to retrieve it? The key here is having someone else find it: whether they see it lying on the ground or spot its propellers poking out from between two branches in a tree, posting about what you’ve lost could lead someone else directly toward locating what’s been missing this whole time!
8: Buy A Signal Transmitter
A signal transmitter is a small box that sends the location of your drone to your phone or tablet. It plugs into the battery of your drone and uses Bluetooth, GPS or cellular service to transmit the location.
Once you’re near enough to locate your drone, simply walk in its direction until you can see it. If it’s too far away for you to see on foot, consider flying another drone equipped with a transmitter and camera so that you have an aerial view of where it has landed.
9: Use A Drone Tracker App For Tracking Your Drone
There are apps that can help you find your drone. These programs provide a GPS tracker for your drone and transmit its location to your device in real-time. Drone tracker apps also offer features to prevent loss, such as geofencing and battery alerts.
Many of the best tracker apps integrate with the DJI series of drones, which is one of the most popular models for hobbyists and professionals alike. Most DJI drones come equipped with an app that offers a variety of tracking options, including the ability to create a geofence around your area of flight.
This is especially useful if you are flying in an unfamiliar area—your drone will not be able to fly outside of this virtual “fence” that you have set up around it. If your drone does stray beyond its boundaries, the app will notify you so that you can go retrieve it before anything happens! There are other tracking devices available too; however, they all work in similar ways by using GPS technology on your smartphone or tablet device.
10: Find Your Drone’s Serial Number
If your drone is lost, knowing the serial number will help you if you need to contact the authorities to file a police report. The serial number is usually printed in tiny letters on one side of the drone near its label or with other documentation that came with it.
If you can’t find it in the packaging that came with the drone, look for it on the device itself. It may be printed on a sticker somewhere on the body of the drone. Be careful not to confuse your drone’s serial number with its model number, which describes what type of drone it is and how many functions it has. The two numbers are likely to appear very close to one another; check both of them carefully before deciding whether a particular number is your serial number or model number.
11: Use The Return-to-home Feature
If the drone has a return-to-home feature, use it to bring the drone back. You should be able to turn this on using the “RTH” button on your controller (see your owner’s manual for details).
However, make sure there’s enough battery power in your drone and that it is within range before you do this. The drone may have gone too far away for it to work properly, especially if you are flying in 1st person view (FPV) mode where you see through the camera of the device.
Also note that since most drones usually travel faster than a person can run, they will typically reach their destination much faster than you would by chasing after them. As such, even though RTH can be a useful tool as long as there is enough battery power in your device or it is still within range, do not rely on this method alone when fpv drone racing or searching for lost drones.
12: Use The Beeping Feature
Your drone may be equipped with a beeping feature that will sound when your drone is out of range. You can switch this feature on by pressing the left-hand button on the remote control, and it may help you locate your lost drone.
The beeping function is not available on all drones, and it’s not always reliable. It can also be difficult to hear the sound in noisy environments, and the beeping can only occur once your drone is out of range.
13: Turn The Gps Off And Home On The Remote Control
If you have a drone with GPS, then you can turn it off, or your drone will return to its starting point (if it’s still in range). If you have a drone without GPS, you should turn it off manually, as even though this won’t make an immediate difference, if you let it fly out of sight and lose battery power, then your last chance to find it is gone.
14: Turn Off All Lights So It’s Easier To See
Lights will reflect in your drone’s body, making it harder to spot if you’re searching from a distance. Turn off all lights on the drone itself and on the remote control you use to pilot it. Make sure any devices connected to your drone are also turned off—otherwise, those light sources will make it harder for you to spot your machine.
If you’re outside at night, turn off any lights inside your house as well: they’ll shine through windows, reflecting in the glass and making it easy for your drone to blend in with its surroundings.
15: Use A Tracking Device Like Trackimo Or Tile
If your drone is equipped with a tracking device, you can use it to locate it! These devices are super simple to operate and are not expensive.
Tracking devices like Trackimo or Tile attach to your drone and can be found using a phone app. They cost around $60-$100 but require monthly services that range from $5-$20 a month depending on how many features you want to pay for.
Trackimo is recommended if you want geo-fencing, which allows users to set up an invisible fence around their drone’s location. If the drone leaves that invisible fence, the user gets notified. This is a great way of protecting against theft!
16: Contact The Authorities
If your drone has a tracking device installed, report its location to the authorities and ask for help retrieving it.
Similarly, if your drone contains sensitive information, like photos of a construction project or sensitive government data, it is in your best interest to contact the authorities and ask for help retrieving it.
If you find someone else’s drone, it is probably in the owner’s best interest that you contact the authorities and let them know where it is.
Finally, if your drone has gone down in a dangerous location—like across a border, or on airport property—contact the authorities and ask for help securing it.
How To Prevent Drone From Getting Lost
Don’t Fly In “no Fly Zones”
Before you take off, make sure you are in a legal area to fly. If your area has a lot of high interference from other radio waves, it may be difficult for aerial drone to communicate with the controller on the ground. Also, any strong winds can cause your drone to get lost or crash. Make sure you are flying in safe conditions.
Fly Around The Top Of Your Wifi Router
Place your drone at the top of your WiFi router. Then, move about 10 feet away from it and turn it on. You can now fly in full range of your drone. Your phone will need to be connected to your WiFi router for this tip to work.
Know What To Do If You Lose Signal
- The easiest thing to do is follow your drone tracking app’s instructions on what to do if you lose signal.
- If you can’t find the drone in the air, fly in a square pattern, which is the most efficient way of searching an area. Some drones have geofencing features that don’t allow them to fly too far away from their controller. This will increase your chances at finding it in no time!
- If you still can’t find your drone after extending your search radius, fly in different directions and look for it above trees or buildings—you want to get as high as possible so you can see farther and winch down any lost signal connection faster than usual.
How Far Can I Fly? (distance)
The guidelines that apply to most recreational drone pilots are as follows:
- Keep your drone within sight at all times.
- Never fly beyond your line of sight (i.e. do not stare at your mobile device, because you’re not looking where you’re flying).
- Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations.
- Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying.
How High Can I Fly? (altitude)
If you’re flying in an area with a lot of tall objects, it’s important to keep your drone at a specific altitude. The recommended maximum altitude for the Drone is 400ft above the ground. If you set a height in the app and the drone exceeds it, it will stop and hover until it comes back below that limit.
You can also view its current altitude by tapping on the screen when controlling your Drone.
The barometer inside your Drone measures atmospheric pressure to determine its relative height from the launch point. This means that even if you drive somewhere else, if you fly there without resetting home, your Drone will still measure its altitudes relative to where it took off from.
Wind speed can also affect the accuracy of your drone’s altitude reading, so be careful not to fly too close to buildings or trees!
- Check for the geofence by looking at the map before you fly. Just click on the “Fly” tab on the top menu and scroll down to see all of the no-fly zones and restricted areas that are geofenced.
- Check your drone’s flight logs. This can also be done by going to the “Fly” menu, clicking on “Log,” and then viewing recent flights.
- Watch out for alerts on takeoff—if there’s a no-fly zone or restricted area in your path, you have a few options: either change your course or press cancel if you do not want to fly through these areas.
What To Do If You Lost Your Drone?
If you’re reading this article, chances are your drone is lost. Before you start to freak out though, a lot of people have been through what you’re about to go through. And the best thing that you can do for yourself is not to freak out!
The first thing that you will want to do when your drone goes missing is stay calm and not blame yourself. While it’s easy to think “I should have never flown there” or “I shouldn’t have launched it in those conditions,” these thoughts aren’t helpful at all and don’t help with retrieving a lost drone.
Drone pilots make mistakes, and hobbyists make errors in judgement all the time – that doesn’t mean we should beat ourselves up over them. At some point in our flying careers we’ve all been there, don’t panic and give up – instead follow these tips on finding your quadcopter which may be closer than you think!
Take A Moment To Remember The Last Known Location Of Your Drone
One of the most important things to do if you lose your drone is to take a moment to remember the last known location of your drone.
The first thing to do is try and pinpoint exactly where it was the last time you saw it. If you can’t, then try and remember the last place you used it. Was there something unusual or memorable about that flight?
Next, try and remember the last time you charged it. Retrace your steps between charging and flying scenarios. Ask yourself: “What else could I have been doing with my drone during that time?” Chances are, whatever activities were occurring may be able to jog your memory as to where you left your beloved quadcopter.
Finally, think back on the last time you flew it. If these steps don’t help, then consider looking for more recent signs of activity: Has someone seen or heard from your drone since then?
Has anyone mentioned seeing a strange object in the sky lately? Have any nearby radio stations reported anything unusual going on in town? Answering these questions might just provide some insight into what might have happened to your wayward craft!
Gather Up A Few Buddies
When you’re searching for something, it’s usually a good idea to have extra help—especially if the item is small. And no one knows that better than drone owners.
If your drone is lost in an urban area, the chances of someone finding and returning it are slim (unless you can find your lost drone based on its GPS coordinates).
But if you happen to lose it in a rural area, there’s still hope! If a good Samaritan finds your drone after you’ve put up flyers and they know who to contact, they can give you a call and get your lost drone back to you.
Scour The Area
Go back to the area where you lost your drone, ground yourself and look for landmarks. By hiking along the path of your drone’s flight, you can narrow down its last location.
If possible, get some elevation by climbing a tree or hilltop. While it’s still unlikely that you will spot your quadcopter way down below, it’s worth a try. For a long-range search, you’ll want to bring some binoculars along.
If the particular terrain makes it difficult to see whether your drone is laying on the ground or not (for example, tall grass), go back at night and use a flashlight to scour the area again. In this case using red light will help preserve night vision and reduce glare from dew or frost that may be on plants in the field of view. You can buy inexpensive red lens covers for flashlights at outdoor sporting goods stores or make them yourself with red cellophane tape.
Call It In
If your drone is lost in an urban or suburban area, you should contact the local authorities and news agencies. This is actually a pretty good way to get your drone back. You can usually find an email address for the local news channel on their website.
Simply send them an email describing the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of your drone along with a photograph of what the drone looks like, and where it went missing from. If you have any friends or family close by that can help out that would be great as well!
Frequently Asked Question (how To Find A Lost Drone)
What Should I Do To Find My Drone?
The following steps will help you find your drone:
- Use the location feature. On some drones, a location button can be used to indicate where the drone has landed. This is not possible on all drones and may not work if you are in a remote area or if there are tall buildings around where your drone could be landing.
- Use the return-to-home feature. Most drones have this feature built in to them so that they can automatically return to their launch point when they lose contact with their controller or run out of battery power. However, this does not always work as planned because sometimes things can go wrong during flight that cause your drone not to return home automatically (such as flying into an object).
Why Did I Lose Connection With My Drone?
- Check the battery level. If your drone’s battery is running low and you know it, then that might be your problem. The best way to avoid this is by keeping an eye on your remaining power.
- Check the GPS signal. If you are flying in an area with poor satellite reception or if the GPS signal is weak due to environmental factors such as trees blocking satellite signals, it could be causing issues with connecting to your drone via the app or remote controller (RC).
- Check connection between RC and drone itself: Turn off RC so that all communication goes through WiFi network only; if there are no problems here then move on to checking connection between RC and phone/tablet/laptop via WiFi network or direct Bluetooth connection (depending on what type of device you use).
- Check connection between phone/tablet/laptop that runs mobile app software and WiFi network where smartphone has internet access but not necessarily connected directly via USB cable first because sometimes those can cause issues too!
Can We Touch The Propellers When It Is Powered On?
If you do lose your drone, don’t touch the propellers. If you come into contact with them while they are spinning, it may cause serious injury. Instead, turn off the drone and then remove the propellers safely by using pliers or a wrench to loosen each screw before pulling them out of their sockets.
First, check the controller for any lights or indicators that might indicate where the drone is (like a blinking light). If there aren’t any lights, try turning on the controller and listening for a beeping noise that indicates the drone is nearby.
There are several ways that you can try to help find your drone, no matter what model it is or what you last saw it doing. Applying a few creative techniques, such as making a call out to the community of users on Facebook, Twitter, forums and even YouTube and Reddit, can really help get the word out about your lost drone.