Flight Planning & Execution

I typically have three phases to each of my DJI Mavic 2 Zoom "missions":

  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Post Flight



The amount of time devoted to each depends on a number of factors which may include, but not be limited to:

  • Is it close-up work to capture specific details?
  • Are there tasks which require pre-flight inquiries?
  • Or, will multiple flights be required due to prevailing light?

Planning and Preparation

I typically start this several days (maybe longer) before I actually fly the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. The primary objective is to visit the location I have been asked to or I have offered to fly my M2Z drone to meet with the property owner to discuss or assess on my own (not in a prioritized order), bullet points that follow below. If I cannot meet the owner on-site, I communicate with him or her as applicable.

  • What imagery is requested and how will it be captured by the drone
  • Determine what hazards exist including proximity to nearby airports or "no fly" areas
  • Identify drone launch and recovery areas – primary and contingency
  • Identify when the imagery is required
  • Discuss “times of day” and weather conditions for optimal drone photography based on the orientation of the property and applicable structures on it
  • Review with the property owner how weather conditions will affect the flight, if the flight will be in FAA controlled air space or if there are “no fly” areas adjacent to the property.
  • Gather information in order to plan and prepare for the drone flight which includes emergency contact information and contingencies.
  • Determine whether the property owner will be “on location” during the drone flight.
  • Advise the property owner what to expect from me on the “day of the drone flight” .
The above bullet points do not constitute a complete list of items performed.

Depending on the type of mission, where and when it will be executed, I may do further "pre-flight" work the day before the mission. This may include, but not be limited to, checking the weather forecast, checking if there is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR), confirming the flight will not be in controlled airspace, inspect the M2Z drone and check I have the necessary support equipment, documentation and approvals. Based on the above, it may be necessary to reschedule the mission or limit the positioning of the M2Z when it captures images.
The above information does not constitute a complete list of items performed.

On the day of and prior to going to the location to actually fly the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, I do the following which could include, but not be limited to, checking the current weather conditions and forecast for the location, check there are no TFR’s in place, charge the M2Z drone and remote controller batteries, check for current firmware, check memory cards are installed and have sufficient storage, confirm the FAA registration is affixed to the drone and I have applicable support equipment, documentation and approvals. Based on the above, it may be necessary to reschedule the mission or limit the positioning of the M2Z when it captures images.
The above information does not constitute a complete list of items performed.

Execution

At the location, I speak with the property owner if he or she is there about the flight objective(s) and safety items. I also walk around the area in which the flight will be conducted to check conditions. If there are issues that cannot be mitigated, I may amend the flight objectives, reschedule the flight or cancel it. If applicable, I ask the owner to monitor the flight and provide real-time feedback.


There are many details associated with safely and responsibly launching, flying and recovering a remotely piloted camera drone. It is not the intent to itemize and describe them in this website, but I can make myself available to discuss them if so asked.


As point of note, prior to launching the M2Z, I wear a High Visibility vest and helmet to identify myself and provide some protection. I carry in the pocket of the vest my FAA remote pilot certificate and my FAA registration for my DJI Mavic 2 Zoom.

Post-Flight

After landing the M2Z, shutting-off power and making it safe, this may involve, but not be limited to checking the remote controller to confirm imagery has been transferred to its memory card, looking at some of the imagery with the property owner (if available), complete an inspection of the M2Z then store it and support equipment for transport.


Later, I will look at the recorded imagery, decide what to keep, crop or delete then convey applicable content to the “client”.


I will also record applicable flight and battery information in a journal and record flight details in a log book.