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Jonathan's picture
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10 Essential Accessories for Drone Travelers

National Geographic writer Kike Calvo has come up with a great list of must-haves for drone pilots. Got others? Add them in this thread!

from http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/07/10-essential-accessories...

1. Remote Control Wind Protection: Allows you to operate your remote control in cold and windy environments, making it possible to fly in difficult weather conditions. It will also help to avoid the rapid discharge of the battery.

2. Portable Solar Recharging Kit: You can directly charge your smartphone in about an hour. It comes with a USB Power Pack to charge AA and AAA rechargeable NiMH batteries. Full charge will allow you to recharge your phone 1-3 times per charge. It also works with iPads and other tablets.

3. Personal GPS Tracker: Track your drone via web or smartphone app anywhere GSM 2G cellular reception exits. Highly accurate current location and one year of history. First year is free, and then a low fee is charge after the 12-month period included is over. Besides tracking your drone, you can add a luggage tracker to your list. It allows you to check to see what city your luggage is in and help find it in case it gets lost.

4. Airflow Meter: Using an app for your smartphone, the environmental meter connects using Bluetooth. The ABM sensors allow you to accurately measure and record temperature differential, wind speed and direction (gusts), air density, barometric pressure, relative humidity among many other things. The meter is built inside a ruggedized housing.

5. Logbook: Its is essential to keep detailed record of all your flying missions, regardless of your flying experience. It provides an easy way to keep track of all your Lipo batteries. A classic Moleskine Notebook could work and in fact, there is no need for this logbook to have a whiff of adventure. But what is truly important is that it has been designed to be compliant with Federal Aviation Regulations, COA and Section 333 Exemptions.

6. Book selection: Every drone pilot library should include at least two of these publications: Getting Started with Drones, So You Want to Create Maps Using Drones , Drone Entrepeneurship or Drones: Their Many Civilian Uses and the U.S. Laws Surrounding Them.

7. Shoulder Strap Belt Sling: For those of us who may spend long hours out in the field flying, ergonomics becomes a priority. This shoulder strap helps ease the pressure to the cervical vertebra.

8. Monitor Sunshade Hood Cover: Fits on popular cellphones, and its perfect to remove glare from your phone when flying FPV. If you use a tablet, there is a larger model. Both include multiple tiny suckers to keep the device in place.

9. Indoor training mini quadcopter: If the weather is not right to fly outdoors, it is a great idea to have a small copter for indoor use and training such as the Hubsan X4 or the X4 with FPV, that provides live video from a distance of around 100 meters.

10. Notepad: A pocket –sized notebook to take notes on the field, write ideas that may arise while on the road, remark on incidents or just to keep information from people you may meet while on your mission. The notion of journaling (logging your life) but applied to your drone projects and travels.

Airwolf's picture
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battery transport tips

ALWAYS make sure you store your LiPo's properly when traveling!

If traveling by plane, LiPo's MUST be carried on board with you and CAN NOT be placed in checked in luggage! Swift change in temperature and air pressure make LiPo batteries susceptible to catching fire!

Not traveling with fully charged batteries helps. It's a good idea to deplete your batteries before you attempt to transport them regardless of your mode of travel. I drain 'em to about 30%.

Be sure to check dangerous goods regulations involving the shipment of lithium-based batteries on passenger and cargo aircraft as well. When in doubt, declare!

Place batteries in LiPo safe bags to help prevent short circuits. Or shrink wrap the battery connectors with saran wrap.
Label the bags with a "Lithium Ion/Polymer Rechargeable Batteries Inside” - helps your chances of carry-on not getting decline by airport security.

Never transport any batteries showing the signs of swelling or ones that are punctured in any way. Also do not transport batteries that should be retired soon. 

And, of course, don't keep anything sharp near those batteries so they don't get punctured in the first place!

Vertigo's picture
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Some very good tips on

Some very good tips on transporting LiPo bateries safely - thanks, Airwolf. I like the saran wrap idea.