Dones are continually getting more expensive and advanced, so it’s a great idea to try and protect your drone as much as you can. Drone landing pads help to prevent damage to your drone, but do you really need a drone landing pad? No, not necessarily. But they can certainly help extend the life of your drone and bring several quality of life improvements, particularly for first-time fliers.
It’s widely known that most accidents occur during take-off or landing and drone landing pads can help pilots by providing extra support for users operating on unsettled terrain. You’ve heard reports of drones crashing into sand, getting propellers stuck in mud or getting cameras scratched or smashed due to messy landings. Well, drone landing pads can prevent all of this while also bringing about public awareness and helping out at night with landmark lighting.
What Drone Landing Pads Are and How They Can Help You
Drone landing pads are small portable platforms that can be used to launch or land a drone. These landing pads can be made from various materials and come in numerous sizes depending on your needs. But what do they actually do? Well, as it turns out, a lot.
Protect Your Drone
One of the best things a drone landing pad can do for you is to protect your drone. Quadcopters, propellers, guards, and cameras can all be expensive and you’ll want to avoid having to replace them frequently as the costs can quickly spiral out of control.
Prop wash is the turbulence around the propellors when they are spinning.
Flying around grass, water, mud or sand can pose a danger to your drone as there’s always a small chance that something can enter one of the motors and damage your drone. In other cases, grass, rocks, mud or dust can sometimes block propellers, leading to accidents that may severely damage your drone.
A drone landing pad can prevent all of this from happening as it provides you with a solid area to launch off and land on. You won’t have to worry about landing on uneven ground, on grass or sticky mud. And you won’t have to worry about your propellers blowing sand or dust around, potentially getting into your eyes or scratching your camera.
Drone landing pads are stable surfaces and they provide pilots with enough area that these sorts of problems quickly become nil. As we mentioned above, these landing pads can stop your propellers and other accessories from getting scratched up and can actually save you a fair amount of money in the long-run.
Some of the latest drones have special GPS technology which allows you to utilize their Return-to-Home (RTH) feature. Return-to-Home is a mode which allows you to command the drone to return to a home point, often the area the drone launched from.
The feature is most commonly found in DJI drones. When the quadcopter takes off, it receives GPS signals and sets its current position as the Home Point. So if you ever need to quickly land the drone because it lost signal or encountered a problem, you can do so without a problem. The drone will fly back to its Home Point, potentially preventing you from losing the quadcopter.
Check out this post on Let Us Drone about how many satellites are needed to acquire a GPS signal.
On top of that, several drones use their cameras to recognize the Home Point. Using a drone landing pad that stands out from its surroundings or has reflective lights will help the drone recognize its Home Point and land safely. Some more advanced drones also feature lighting which can help you land when flying at night or on dark, cloudy days.
Unfortunately, GPS features are usually only found in more expensive drones. Cheaper drones will not have this technology implemented, though may still offer a rudimentary Return-to-Home feature. Just make sure to do your research before purchasing a drone so you're not disappointed with the features the drone may or may not have when you pop it out of the box.
Check out our drone guide which walks you through the features of some of the top drones.
One of the best benefits of using a drone landing pad is that it improves public awareness regarding your quadcopter. Let’s be honest, you probably get frustrated with how often people get in your way when flying your drone. Not only is it a safety concern for everyone nearby, but it can also put your drone at risk.
Using a drone landing pad will bring attention to your done, making anyone nearby aware of the quadcopter. This will be an indication to them that you need some space to safely operate the drone. But it’s worth remembering that US drone laws prohibit you from flying around populated areas, over large groups of people and around public events anyway. Ultimately, using a drone landing pad can prevent people-related incidents, which is a great help when flying.
One last benefit of using a drone landing pad is that it can be used for training. The pads provide an easy target and can be used to improve your landing or takeoff skills, particularly if you’re a first-timer or are looking to fly professionally. They’re also great to check whether or not your drone needs to be recalibrated, which is incredibly important when it comes to flying. Here is a post where we walk you through the process of calibrating the IMU (inertial measurement unit) on a DJI drone.
What to Consider When Buying a Drone Landing Pad
If you now believe that owning a drone landing pad can greatly help you, why not grab one? Drone landing pads can be found at most online retailers, including Amazon, as well as drone stores across the US. But before you purchase a landing pad, it’s important you research them to ensure you select one that suits your needs. Take a look at the pad’s size and design, features and compatibility.
Size and Design
One of the first things to consider when purchasing a drone landing pad is its size. You have to ensure that the landing pad is large enough to accommodate your drone with some additional spacing on the sides too. However, getting a landing pad that’s too large can make it difficult to carry around and travel with, which leads on to our second point.
Consider the landing pad’s design before you purchase anything. Take a look at the material the landing pad is made from, you’ll want something that is sturdy and will last. The landing pad must also be portable, which means finding a pad that can be folded up and isn’t too heavy to carry around. It’s also a good idea to think about the pad's color as lighter or brighter colors are easier to spot while flying.
It can be hard finding a pad that meets all of these requirements, so don’t be afraid to take some time to research the best drone landing pads. Don’t simply rush and purchase the first drone landing pad you can find as it could lead to some problems further down the line. Watch videos, read reviews and contact fellow droners for additional advice and opinions.
Features and Extras
A lot of higher-quality drone landing pads may provide you with additional features and extras than cheaper pads. We’ve already touched on how some landing pads may have reflective strips or lights built into them to assist you when you’re flying. Other drone landing pads will be made of waterproof material, which is incredibly helpful if you’re landing your drone on mud or if the weather takes a sudden turn for the worst.
However, one issue many pilots express concern over is how to keep a landing pad on the ground. Firstly, purchasing a drone landing pad that is made of a heavier material will help keep it in place. But some drone landing pads come with loops and stakes you can bury into the ground, holding the drone landing in place. Depending on the landing pad you purchase, you should also receive a small pouch to carry your landing pad.
Our Top Pick
We've covered everything you need to know about landing pads, so it's time to share with you the landing pad that we recommend!
It's easy to fold and comes with reflective stickers and spikes for securing it to the ground. It's the one I personally use and recommend one-hundred percent.
DIY Drone Landing Pad
If you’re a little tight for money but would still like a drone landing pad, you can make your own. Several internet guides can help you create your very own pad with various materials but it’s as simple as this:
- Find a sturdy material for the drone landing pad
- Cut the material into the required shape and size
- Paint the mat your desired color
That’s it! After doing this, you’ll essentially have your very own DIY drone landing pad. If you do decide to go this route, you’ll need to ensure that the material you choose is sturdy and will protect the drone, try not to go for something weak. It's worth noting that your DIY drone pad may not last as long as those that are made professionally, which is fine if you’re looking to only use it temporarily for training purposes.
Those of you who are looking to purchase a landing pad for long-term or frequent use are better off purchasing a professionally-made landing pad. These will last longer than DIY drones and will provide you some of the extra features we’ve detailed below. Whatever you choose, however, all landing pads will help protect your drone and keep it safe.