DST Drone's Phantom 4 Preflight Checklist

The PDF below is the checklist that I’ve developed over the past six months or so of commercial drone operation. I find it to be a useful tool to review right before I head out on a job just to make sure that I have everything ready to go for both the flight and the desired documentation. Hopefully it will help others out as well!

Here are some notes as to why some of the items on this list came into existence:

  • In at least two instances, I arrived to a site without a prerequisite SD Card. Fortunately, I was able to “borrow” a SD Card from my car’s dashcam. I also have been trying to put the SD Card in the drone before leaving the site, as I had one instance where I dropped the card as I was putting it into the drone and was unable to find it on the ground below. I have been very happy with the Kiorafoto SD Card Holder to store and transport my collection of SD cards. I also packed away a cheap 16GB card deep in the reccesses of my drone’s case for emergencies.

  • I carry a set of ND Filters for when I’m planning on shooting video. These help maintain (or get close to) a preferred camera shutter speed of 50 at 24 frames per second (FPS). For still photos, I haven’t found a need to use filters.

  • I find that documenting the weather for my flights using a combination of UAV Forecast and Evernote is a useful practice.

  • I will be adding some post flight actions to this list in the future. These will include:

    • Logging flight time, location, battery number, and any notes. I keep my logging simple, choosing to use a Google Spreadsheet, but there are other apps out there for this task.

    • Running down batteries to about 50% capacity if the drone is not scheduled for use within the next seven days. Although DJI batteries advertise an automatic discharge feature, I do not rely on it and instead will do a “discharge” flight (usually in my backyard) to discharge batteries.

Do you have any tips or suggestions that I am missing? Please feel free to use the comments below to share!

Michael ShanafeltComment