How To Find A Lost Drone? – 2021 (Updated) – 9 Tricks That Works

Let's discuss list of actionables that will get your downed drone back. Also, the things that you must know if you don't want to loose your drone.
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Losing a drone is painful!

If you have already lost it, you know what I am saying (and my feelings).

Recently launched drones [that equips modern technology] comes with a set of safety features.

However, accidents like software glitches, communication interference, drained battery, malfunctioning, strong winds etc. are inevitable.

Many times the connection drops OFF suddenly, and everything becomes chaos.

You cannot anticipate few issues from very beginning.

So it is a wise choice to take precautions or have a tracking system installed on your drone.

This article contains list of instructions that you can follow to find your lost drone or avoid losing one.

Table of Contents

If you don’t want to lose your hundreds [maybe thousands] dollars drone in future, then read this article till the end.

It will definitely help you.

Also, don’t worry! If you already have lost a drone that did not have a tracker.

We have few suggestions for you as well that might get your downed drone back.

How to Find A Lost Drone (Tricks)

How to Find A Lost Drone - 9 Tricks You Must Know - ULTRAdvice

1. Using GPS Tracker co-ordinates

This is the most common advice by the drone community.

It gives you the precise location of your drone in terms of longitude and latitude.

Few GPS trackers that work with Google Maps gives you more accurate and real-time location.

Modern DJI drones are equipped with GPS technology.

But if your drone lacks a GPS Tracker then you can buy one at the price of $25-$30.

2. Have you done a screen capture

It is the quick action that you need to take once you realize that your drone signals are weak.

Immediately take a screenshot when there is sudden footage loss from your drone. This way, you will have your drone’s last known location.

This trick is proven to provide excellent results. But it will work only in the case of a drone with a camera.

3. Do not turn off the controller

As long as the drone’s battery doesn’t die, there is a strong possibility that you might find it.

Follow these simple steps,

Step #1 – Do not turn off the controller

Step #2 – Look at the last telemetry co-ordinates at the bottom screen of the controller

Step #3 – Press the RTH button on the controller

Step #4 – Move towards the drone’s last known location or at least in the direction that the drone was flying.

Step #5 – If you are lucky, the drone will get into the controller network area, and you will see the distance number on your telemetry screen start decreasing.

If the battery of both the drone as well as the controller is not dead and you’re lucky, this trick will work for you.

4. Use “Find My Drone” App

This excellent app is best choice for finding your drone even if it has crossed the maximum flying range.

You might have heard about the MAVlink protocol used by the open-source autopilot programs. The “Find My Drone” app is free and uses the same protocol to locate and direct you towards your drone.

But unfortunately, this app is compatible only with iOS devices and not android or any other devices.

It saves the drone’s last telemetry co-ordinates.

The DJI drones can be connected to your smartphone using the “DJI GO” app. It has an excellent find my drone feature.

We highly recommend these apps to every drone pilot. So you as well don’t forget to install them!

5. Search your drone using a drone

Do you have an extra drone with you?

If you have then let it help you to locate your wandering drone.

This trick will narrow down the searching time by allowing you to have a bird’s eye view of the areas where you lost the drone.

It doesn’t matter if your extra drone is too old, unless it can fly and capture good photos, it will help a lot.

Or you can take help from your supportive friend who has a camera drone.

6. Search at night

Let the sun go down. Fly your second drone and try searching for the lost drone.

If the battery of your drone has power left in it, you are supposed to see a blinking paradise somewhere in the grass, trees, water, or rocks.

If you are lucky, you can quickly locate a lost drone.

But be very careful while flying your second drone, and remember you are flying it at night. Do not let it go out of the sight.

7. Carefully observe the light and hear the sound

This ain’t a trick, but it is an art of extra attentiveness while finding your drone.

Throughout your drone search make sure that you keep your eyes and ears focused.

Try to focus on the blinking of the anti-collision lights and a buzzing sound coming from your lost drone.

8. Download Log Files

This feature is available in DJI drones.

The flight logs are beneficial. They record every flight by you.

Follow the steps below to see the flight logs,

Step #1 – Head over to the DJI GO app

Step #2 – Click on the “Me” section (find it at the bottom of the screen)

Step #3 – Select flight logs

Step #4 – Click on any one of the flight logs, and a map will open

This map will show you the exact path your drone was traveling.

Use it to know the last location of your lost drone.

9. Additional Tricks

If you fail to recover your drone by any one of the above methods, then follow the instruction below as a final try,

  1. File a Police Report – Go to the local police station and file a report. A good person might handover your drone to the Policeman after finding it.
    Make sure to submit the serial number and FAA registration number at the police station.
  2. Spreading Lost Drone Posters – Lost drone posters may sound weird to you, but it doesn’t have to be.
    Because you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to recover your losses.
  3. Spying local market places – Few wise people might find your drone and try to sell it.
    If you had noted the serial number and FAA registration number, go to the local market place and find your lost drone.

Take this Precautions to Avoid Losing a Drone

Precautions - How to Find A Lost Drone - 9 Tricks You Must Know - ULTRAdvice

 1. Install “Find My Drone” app

Such apps are free, so nothing should take you away from installing them.

Here are the links,

  1. Find My Drone
  2. DJI GO

Apart from finding a lost drone, these apps provide a tone of other excellent functionalities like battery levels and current status.

2. Buy a GPS Tracker

As we mentioned earlier, “Your drone must have a GPS Tracker.”

If it doesn’t, then consider buying it right now so that you will not regret later.

Installing a tracker on your drone means using modern technology to find a drone.

3. Configure RTH (Return-to-Home)

Nowadays many drones come with this feature. So make sure to check and configure it.

You just need to follow few instructions from the manufacturer to configure the RTH feature.

It is advantageous while finding your lost drone.

Using this RTH feature, drones return to their starting position with a simple click .

4. Be extra careful at Night

Are you the one with the FAA permission to fly your drone at night?

If yes, then be extra careful.

Make sure that you don’t let your drone fly out of sight.

Check the LED blinks on your drone are working fine or not before the take-off.

5. Gadget Insurance

You might think of this option as one more unplanned investment.

But I will say an extra ounce of care is always good to go, at least during the initial days.

Make sure to check if any insurance policy is available by the provider or manufacturer.

Final Words

Please do not feel like you have to take too many precautions while flying your bird. In my opinion, it is the matter of time and habits.

Many people have lost their drones because of their careless behavior and newbie level flying skills.

Follow the precautions right from the beginning, and eventually, they will turn into habits.

There is no worst feeling than knowing that your drone is out of your control and flying away from you.

Followed by this painful realization finding your drone becomes an adventure.

We highly recommend installing the “Find My Drone” app and using a GPS tracker.

Happy Flying!

If you are about to buy a drone, then don’t forget to check out our following articles,

  1. Best Drones under $200
  2. Best Drones under $500
Rakesh Kurhade
Rakesh is a tech enthusiast, engineer, team leader and digital growth hacker. He is working for Robu.in (robotics e-commerce website) for the past 4+ years. His expertise includes research, reading, writing, thinking, planning, organizing and striving for perfection. He is passionate, hardworking and committed to plan and develop the brand Robu. In his free time, he writes articles at ULTRAdvice to help people find the answers to the questions that Google cannot answer. Contact him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.