How windy is too windy to fly a drone?
This question comes up a lot in regard to flying a DJI Phantom, wind speed, maximum wind speed – just how windy is too windy to fly a drone?! Perhaps though the better question is what is the maximum wind you can fly safely in?
The first things to consider in relation to wind speed needs to be your own competence as a Phantom pilot. Remember you have spent hundreds of £ on this piece of kit, so as desperate as you might be to go for a flight, don’t take any unnecessary risks and stay safe.
If you don’t feel safe, don’t fly. Also worth thinking about – if you loose GPS, you won’t loose that gust of wind, but you might lose your phantom!
The next thing to consider is not how fast the wind is when you are flying (and the gusts) but how will you control your DJI Phantom on ascent and descent – it will be much harder to control. Also even if you land in high wind or gusts, there is a possibility your phantom will tip over and cause damage.
Another thing to remember is that, wind speed will affect battery life. If your phantom is battling a headwind, it will take more battery to get home / go out on its trip.
There is no set speed – use common sense – a rough rule of thumb seems to be don’t fly in speeds more than 20 mph and perhaps limit yourself to 15mph. Overall common sense would also say don’t fly in wind speed faster than your Phantoms maximum speed!
How can you tell the current wind speed?
Whilst it is useful to know the theoretical wind speed you can fly safely in, how do you actually tell what the current wind speed is? There are a few ways we recommend:
- Get an Anemometer – you can pick these up from Amazon for anywhere from £9.99 upwards. They will give you a fairly accurate reading of the current wind speed where you are standing – just remember the wind speed higher up could be different!
- Download an app like UAV Forecast – Free app and you can set the altitude that you are interested for the wind speed. Whilst we recommend this app sometimes it does feel a little inaccurate so use common sense combined with it’s guidance. This at least helps guide on how windy is too windy to fly a drone.
- Use the Beaufort Scale The Beaufort Wind Scale is named after Sir Francis Beaufort, an admiral in the British Navy. He developed the scale in 1805 in order to estimate wind speed by noting how sails move in the wind. It turned out to be a great help and was later adapted for use on land. See the image below for a definition of the beaufort scale:
Finally another useful resource for checking the wind speed is Wundergound
Hopefully this answers your question on how windy is too windy to fly a drone!
Overall, stay safe and happy flying!