Altitude University Pre, During, & Post Drone Flight Checklist

piloting tips Jan 05, 2019


Here at Altitude, drone safety is always our number one priority, ensuring a safe flight from the ground up, and that all missions are flown in Part 107 Compliance. Our safety procedures and checklists for pilots include: Pre-Flight (Offsite, before leaving the house or office), Pre-Flight (Onsite, before taking off onsite at your mission), In-Flight, and Post-Flight.

Altitude Drone Pilot Pre-flight Checklist (Offsite)

  1. Check sectional charts for any unexpected airspace authorizations that may be required.
  2. Check for NOTAMs and TFRs that may affect flight.
  3. Check the current and forecasted weather of the closest airport to the specific flight area.
  4. Ensure you have your drone and inspect for any visible damage.
  5. Ensure you have enough batteries for your fight and make sure they are all charged.
  6. Ensure you have propellers and they are in working order.
  7. Ensure you have at least two microSD cards with at least 10GB of free storage on each.
  8. Ensure you the RC remote is present and charged.
  9. Ensure iPad/iPhone is packed and fully charged.
  10. Ensure you have a functioning lightning to USB cable (iPhone/iPad charging cord) packed.
  11. Check that firmware is up to date for drone, controllers, batteries and flight computers.
  12. Complete final drone box check to ensure everything previously checked off is packed in box that is being taken to flight.
  13. Ensure Drone Deploy is downloaded to your device you will be flying with. Make sure appropriate flight path is ready to go.
  14. Ensure Ground Control Points as well as construction safety equipment are in good condition and ready for the mission.

Altitude Drone Pilot Pre-flight Checklist (Onsite)

  1. Clear of all no-fly zones
  2. Make note of flight obstructions
  3. Establish takeoff/landing area
  4. Identify secondary landing zone
  5. Clear bystanders
  6. Check KP index and weather conditions
  7. Confirm weather conditions permit a safe flight
  8. Inspect drone for any damage or loose fasteners
  9. Tablet/phone batteries charged
  10. Controller battery charged
  11. Drone battery charged
  12. Props securely attached
  13. Micro SD card formatted and inserted
  14. Remove gimbal lock from drone
  15. Place drone on clean level ground or landing pad
  16. Connect tablet/phone to controller
  17. Power up controller and tablet/phone
  18. Place tablet/phone into airplane mode
  19. Turn volume up to maximum level on tablet/phone
  20. Adjust controller antennas to ensure they are parallel
  21. Start flight app
  22. Power on battery/drone
  23. Check connection between controller and drone
  24. Check status of batteries
  25. Check IMU calibration
  26. Calibrate compass
  27. Ensure "PAF" switch is set to "P" unless needed otherwise
  28. Ensure GPS lock is active
  29. Recheck flight path
  30. Take-off with battery facing operator
  31. Continue with flight plan

Altitude Drone Pilot Ground Control Point Guidelines (Onsite)

Count to the number of GCPs you have

1. For most flights 5 GCPs are sufficient

Place the first GCP

2. Place this GCP close the landing area

Activate the GCP

Altitude Drone Pilot In-flight Guidelines

  1. Confirm expected flight plan.
  2. Safely start and takeoff UAS.
  3. Hover close for 20 seconds - look/listen for UAS defects.
  4. If flight plan is autonomous ignore the hover but still look/listen for possible UAS defects
  5. Keep UAS in Visual Line of Sight throughout entire mission.
  6. Visual line of sight must be maintained without visual aids e.g. binoculars
  7. Monitor and keep track of battery levels throughout entire mission.
  8. Monitor signal strength throughout entire mission.
  9. Bring back UAS with safe amount of battery life to return and land.

Altitude Drone Pilot Post-flight Checklist

  1. Turn off Aircraft
  2. Remove and inspect Propellers
  3. Remove and inspect propellers for defects & perform maintenance as necessary.
  4. Check hull for defects
  5. Do a check of the hull for defects or issues after the flight. Identify areas for maintenance as needed.
  6. Remove Battery and inspect
  7. Remove Camera and inspect
  8. Put aircraft, remote, and batteries back into case.


As we have stated before, our licensed drone operators here at Altitude University cannot stress enough how important it is to be Part 107 Licensed before conducting any commercial drone flight. Receiving a drone license will allow you to avoid large fines implemented by the FAA and will make you a MUCH safer pilot in order to acquire and retain clients in the future.

Find more information about why you should become licensed in our blog post Drone License 101: Is Acquiring the Part Drone License Right For You? And if you are ready to take the exam refer to our Step-By-Step Guide to Taking the Part 107 Drone License Exam


Safe Flights!!!


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