With drones becoming more and more accessible to the masses, there are questions if they have any operational limitations.
One question that has many owners confused is whether Drones can land on water. The answer to that is twofold.
There are waterproof drone models designed for water landings available on the market. Landing these drones on the water will have no serious consequences. But don’t worry if you have a stock model, as you can adapt almost any drone for water landings using readily available modification kits.
While it may be tempting to bring your drone along on your next cruise, we suggest going through the drone’s specifications before you take off on your maiden flight.
If there is no mention of the drone being waterproof, you will have to invest in a water landing kit before your drone can be pronounced seaworthy. Luckily for users, there is a vast market of products catering to this need.
Drone Landing Floating gear makes sure that your drone stays on top of the surface of the water. The floating pads ensure that the delicate electronics of your drone stay safe from any water damage. Most floating gears are designed to be lightweight and do not obstruct the camera’s field of vision.
The primary concern of users is whether adding additional weight to their drones will cause issues with stability and/or reduce flight time. If you are afraid of this issue, there is no need to be concerned. Most landing gears are designed keeping weight considerations and dynamic balancing in mind.
Investing in good-quality landing gear once would ensure that the performance of your drone is not impacted.
With floating kits costing as much as 100 bucks, buyers like to know the underlying principle behind their product. Unfortunately, these devices rarely have an active stabilization system, so the primary focus must be on the material used to ensure buoyancy.
Most floating landing gears consist of buoyant tubes secured to mounts. The mounts can be easily attached to drones providing quick setup times. In addition, some advanced water landing kits have individual floating pads for better support and stability and LED lights for night-time visibility.
As a buyer, you should always ensure the materials' quality and whether the mount is compatible with your drone.
Investing in more expensive Landing gear might seem like a tough choice, but most high-end models can work with different drones saving you the need to buy additional drone landing gear for each of your drones.
Floating gears are designed to assist the pilot in taking off and landing the drone on water. So there's no reason to fear that your drone might be damaged with proper use.
With a good quality floating gear kit, your drone will remain safe from any water damage upon landing. But, of course, usual restrictions apply. Although kits are designed to keep the drone afloat, the equipment may not protect the electronics from splash damage in case of a crash landing.
However, with an experienced pilot, the chances of a crash landing become pretty rare. Kits are designed with stability in mind, so the chances of your drone tipping over are next to none.
And to prevent any splash damage, most landing gears come with extensions, so your electronics remain at a safe distance from the water surface.
However, here’s a complete guide if your drone gets damaged by water.
Most drones are designed to land and take-off from solid surfaces. However, water landings can be necessary with more people using their drones for adventure photography.
With proper landing float gear, it is possible to land your drone on water. There are specialized waterproof drones available for this purpose as well. But generally, any drone can be modified to land on water using kits available on the market.
Moreover, these kits are designed to keep your camera away from the surface of the water. So in case of an abrupt landing, your electronics are unlikely to be harmed. However, it is always preferable to land and lift your drone from a solid surface.
If you plan to fly your drone over a body of water like in the open sea or on a lake, there are some precautions you should take.
Before taking out your drone, you should plan your route to avoid obstacles.
Massive objects like ships, yachts, or lighthouses can adversely affect drones' navigation systems. In addition, it would be best if you took care to avoid flocks of birds. Birds such as seagulls have been known to respond aggressively to drones.
Getting the perfect shot is not more important than ensuring your drone returns in one piece.
Most drones come with a Built-in Vision Position system enabled. This feature allows drones to orient themselves by mapping the surface below. However, when flying over water, the system can cause problems due to the light reflecting off the water's surface.
It's best to turn off VPS when flying over water. Maintaining a height of at least two meters above the water's surface is also recommended. There's a tendency for drones to start drifting downwards over distances, so always keep your drone in sight over water.
With these precautions, you can easily take off and land your drone over water for the perfect shot.
If your drone is not a specialized waterproof drone with built-in floating landing gear, you need to attach a floating gear to your drone before embarking on your flight.
Make sure that the pads are attached securely to the mounts. Most kits have easy-snap attachments that must be secured to available slots in the drone. Once you are sure that the pads have been fixed, place your drone on the water and take it for a test flight.
Once you are satisfied with the results, you can continue with your planned route.
You should regularly update your home point manually before your drone's flight if you're on a boat.
Drones are programmed to return to their takeoff location in the event of low-battery. If you're on a moving boat and forget to update your Home Point, this could leave your drone stranded in the middle of the lake or sea.
If you want to avoid this possibility, it's best to update the homing location manually.
Your DJI can be modified to land on water like any other drone.
There are specialized brands on the market catering to DJI. These Floating kits are specially designed to be compatible with DJI mounts and give them water landing and takeoff capability.
You can always consult your drone’s user guide on instructions on t’s specifications and whether or not it has been designed to resist water damage. If your drone is specified to be waterproof, chances are it is also capable of landing on water.
The DJI mini 2 is not waterproof. That means the drone is not designed to resist splash damage. However, kits are available on the market that helps the drone make a water landing.
While the Mini 2 is a great drone, it would be wise to invest in proper floating landing gear before you decide to take it along on your next cruise.
The Air 2s has not been designed to be waterproof. However, the drone can easily land over water with a suitable modification kit and landing.
If you want to land an Air 2S on water, there are multiple products on the market designed for this drone, and you should have no trouble attaching them before a flight.
The DJI Phantom 4 is the most suited among the drones we have discussed for water landings.
This sturdy drone is somewhat water-resistant and should withstand some splash damage. However, the base model does not have water landing gear in the package, so you will have to invest in a separate landing gear if you want to land on water.
There are many ways you can give your drone some water landing capabilities. The drone community has plenty of hacks and DIY tips to ensure you can get your perfect show over water without any worry.
Most hacks involve attaching Styrofoam balls to each skid. The attached components mustn't weigh too much, or the drone's air time could be affected. If you are looking to design your landing gear, make sure you get the weights and the balancing right.
We strongly recommend buying a tried and tested product, as any oversight in the design could mean the loss of your drone. A couple of dollars could be the difference between a functioning drone and a destroyed one.
Moreover, you can also find readily available floating drones and save effort on converting your standard drone into a floating one if you’re flying over water frequently.
Many drone enthusiasts have taken to creating their landing gears at home.
Standard designs feature Styrofoam balls and pool noodles attached to 3D printed mounts. These mounts are then secured to the drones using fasteners and screws.
Always test your kit in a secure and controlled environment before taking it out for a flight in extreme conditions. Since most drones have payload limits, it is best to keep your gear as lightweight as possible to prevent any impact on performance.
Each gear kit can have different mounts. Before mounting your gear to your drone, you should always read the manufacturer's instructions.
The most common methods use screws to secure the holders onto the drone, and then the buoyant supports are snapped in. Other models have individual pads that can be attached to the skids using snap-easy attachments.
Depending on your drone, various options are available on the market.
There is no such thing as the perfect landing gear. It would help if you searched for floating landing gear compatible with your drone. Each drone has its own particular set of mounts that you cannot use interchangeably.
We went ahead and selected some popular floating kits to give you an idea of what to look for.
This kit is one of the most secure you could get for your drone.
The set includes a hand-operated air pump and two vinyl floats that ensure your drone will be able to land on water smoothly.
One of the more expensive options on the market, this kit will be the first and last kit you get.
This floating kit is perfect for serious photography enthusiasts with unparalleled stability and balance.
The Thekkiinngg Water Mod Landing Gear is an ideal investment for more inexperienced users.
While the kit lacks the finesse some other models have, it is easy to install and use on multiple drone models.
Among the most popular kits in use, the Mavic Mini 2 Water landing gear is easy to install and reliable. Not only is the platform stable, but its prominent color also ensures you will be able to spot your drone easily in case of an emergency landing.
No matter what landing gear you choose, always test it before taking your drone out for a spin.
If you are a photographer who routinely uses drones to take shots over water or just an adventurous pilot, then you must invest in a Floating kit.
A floating kit can prevent water damage and allow you greater freedom in selecting your flight paths. Just remember that floating kits do not make your drone waterproof. In addition, your drone may get damaged in case of splashes and crash landings.
If you are someone who limits their drone to flights over land, then there is no reason to pay extra bucks for something you will never use.