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Protecting Your Drone: Cases, Trackers, and Insurance

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Guest post by Michael Plambeck, Dronethusiast.com

protect your drone investmentOnce you have the drone that you have always wanted and have been enjoying taking it out to shoot as often as possible, you’ll begin to realize just how important it is to protect it from getting harmed. Weather, safe travels while moving from location to location, and sudden crashes are all going to be some of the things that can happen to harm your brand new purchase.

We are excited to provide a guest post here on DroneLife.com to share some important things that the entire drone community will find useful when it comes to protecting your drone. Even after just a few short flights where you begin to get used to the controls and manning the camera, you may want to get more serious about what you are doing with the drone, and you want all of your belongings to stay in one piece.

Drone Cases – The First Line of Protection

Whether you are a hobbyist or a commercial drone operator, one option for carrying safely and making sure that your drone remains unharmed is the GoProfessional Hard Case for the DJI Phantom 3 Plus. It fits every model from DJI Phantom on up to the 3 Plus, and is designed with extra space to carry landing gear, spare batteries, chargers, and antennas.

Built from custom foam in a military spec case, this is a very solid means of making sure that your drone arrives at your destination in tip-top shape, whether you are traveling through international airports, or just driving to the next town over for a shoot.

A casket seal renders this case absolutely watertight: and this case could withstand quite a bit of damage or accidental throwing around. Getting in a fender-bender with this as your carrying case would be perhaps not as much a headache as anticipated: it’s sturdy enough that it’s also TSA recognized and carry-on compatible with many major airlines.

For the price, this is one of the best carrying options out there: you can fit all of your gear into one place, and the trigger release locking latch system is pretty cool. It’s even resistant to most corrosion and fungus, which alone makes it much more than just a carrier.

This Dji Phantom 4 case by Pelican is a very top of the line protective case with a very competitive price that has a foam cut especially for the popular new drone from Dji. You can pack the drone with the propellers attached, and there is room for 3 batteries, a space for the Ipad Mini, charger, cables, and a slot for spare propellers as well.

We used this one to travel from Orlando to Houston, and security seemed familiar with the shape and function immediately, and we were delighted to have no issues at all with that mid-country haul. We actually used it as a carry-on, and it fit overhead much easier than some families’ standard carrying fare.

There are two hasps that you can seal easily with a padlock, and the handle just seemed very soft and comfortable when picked it up for pre-boarding and boarding. Luckily, we did not have to find out the hard way whether or not it is truly waterproof, and really enjoyed having it to secure our drone on the trip. It comes with a lifetime guarantee, and it seemed to us to be the best match for our Dji Phantom 4.

This Dronesafe Water-proof Travel Hard Case W/foam for Quadcopter Drones and Accessories is a carry-on with a bit more universal approach, and will fit most brands of drones and accessories. The foam interior is Customizable, and you are able to design separate compartments to give it the ability to store almost any drone you want.

It can definitely withstand impacts and pressure, and is a pretty good deal for the price. At first glance, it seemed so basic that we were not going to think it fit its purpose very well, but it functioned pretty well when we took it on about a 4-hour car trip.

We actually just used this one for carrying an inexpensive Hubsan x4, to help a close friend who was just learning to fly get their bearings on the controller and drone itself. Just needing a simple carrying case that would get from A to B, this one was perfect for a haul that for us, did not include airport travel.

There are plenty of great backpacks available for drones, and they are a bit more universal as well. We focused on hard cases here because they truly protect the drone in transit a bit more, but for the drone pilot that is ready to set out on foot and get a quick flight, some of the best brands are Manfrotto, Atomic, Lykus, and Swiza.

Trackimo GPS for Drones

trackimoWhen you are out flying around and you don’t want to lose sight of your drone, there are also very handy GPS units now that you can use to make sure you don’t lose it, and always know its whereabouts. The Trackimo Personal GPS and GSM is our pick for the best way to make sure you have a high-tech locating system.

Here are some of the cool features of this tracker that are the most important to anyone who wants to begin flying without worry will appreciate.

  • It’s very small and easy to attach
  • The Trackimo can be monitored through it’s own app, or the company website
  • The user receives 12 months of GSM service, and it’s just 5$ per month afterwards
  • 10 monthly text alerts are included with product
  • Has around a 3-hour charge time
  • Easy website registration, without having to go through a cell carrier’s red tape

Customer Support for this product is known to be a bit slow, but this is still the GPS tracker of choice for many drone pilots. It’s great that it works with any model or size, and if the drone flies away, you just follow its precise flight path anywhere worldwide.

In the event that you need it for other emergency situations, you can also push an SOS button, if you are camping during a drone flight expedition, or want to offer your children a very modern option to stay safe. The low monthly service cost after the first year of use is about the cheapest there is, and it’s well worth it to have the peace of mind that you will always be able to track the location of your favorite flight or racing drones.

Once the device is connected, you can see where it is by using your smartphone or laptop, and set boundaries that notify you if it goes out of an area that you specify. You are also able to check the history of the device, which is useful if you have asked a sibling or friend not to use it, or just need to know where it has been located for up to 48 days.

The app was designed with users in mind that aren’t the most savvy with smartphones and other modern technology, and tasks such as looking up the location and checking device history are pretty easy to accomplish quickly, which you usually need to do!

The Trackimo, for the most part, is more practical and efficient than other trackers which cost up to double or triple as much, and the ease of activation is a real high point on the list as well. This method of protecting your drone could very well be the simplest yet most important: we are pretty excited to see products such as this that will really make a difference to those that are trying hard to get every bit of enjoyment possible out of their hobby.

Securing Your Drone Investment

Just as it is within the realm of other products that we love to use involving a degree of cost and high technology, protection plans are another great way to assure that you protect the investment you worked hard for, and your new drone itself. Dji is most definitely considered the best manufacturer for drones, and they rolled out this protection plan to cover perilous events like crashes and drops.

The coverage comes in 6 and 12 month length options, and prices fluctuate from $100 on up to $700 depending on factors such as which drone you want to cover. While it should be noted that plans like this don’t usually cover theft, they can really give you piece of mind if you are anywhere from a beginner on up to an expert, since there is simply so much that can happen out there.

If you are using your drones for professional photography or running any kind of business, it seems that this is almost a must: you don’t want to have a mishap and then be scrambling to cover the costs entirely by ordering a brand new drone. To really appreciate the importance of something such as drone insurance, imagine taking one up the very first day, not knowing enough about the controllers, and steering it right into a tree, or worse.

These are just some of the options out there for securing your drone investment. After you get a cool carrying case or backpack, a tracking device for location, and perhaps an insurance plan for accidents, you’ll be a lot more at ease with the awesome process of flying without fear of sudden loss!

This article was written by Michael Plambeck, a drone enthusiast and writer over at Dronethusiast.com. When he’s not writing or flying, he’s taking care of his two kids and spending time with family.

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