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Drone Won’t Take Off? Here’s How to Fix it

8 mins
Drone Blog
Table of Contents

Drone flying is one of the hobbies that is quickly rising in today’s modern world where people enjoy being able to pilot a drone and take aerial photos with it. But while drone flying is indeed becoming more popular, more and more people are running into problems with flying a drone. One such problem is that the drone might not take off. So, why won’t your drone take off?

**Your drone may not be taking off for one of several reasons such as battery problems, internal damage, compass issues, software problems, or propeller damage. In some cases, your drone might just need to warm up before it can fly. In some cases, the drone is not permitted to fly in that airspace. **

The reason your drone is not taking off in your particular case needs to be assessed to find the fix to get your drone up in the air. Let’s look at some of the common issues. 

The drone turns on but isn’t taking off #

Let’s get straight to the meat of our discussion. What if your drone will turn on but just refuses to take off? What happens in that case? Let’s say the drone’s indication light is turning on and that you are getting a live feed from its camera. But the only problem, in this case, is that it just isn’t taking off.

In this case, you can check into a few technical issues that you need to look at to find a definite answer as to why your drone is turning on but just isn’t taking off no matter what you do.

1. Needs warming up #

There will be times when the only reason your drone isn’t taking off is simply that it needs to warm up a bit. This can be quite common in a lot of drones as it is a feature in the more advanced models. In such models, there will be a message that will say that the drone is still warming up. If this is the case, all you need to do is to be patient while the machine is still warming up.

We have no definite timetable for how long a drone warms up, but you can plan on it usually taking about 2 to 5 minutes to finish warming up. But what we can say for sure is that there are factors that may contribute to a long warming-up period. A good example is when the weather is cold and it needs an extra minute or so to warm its rotors up. Being shelved for a long time may also require the drone to warm up longer as it hasn’t been used for quite a while.

2. Problem with the compass #

Another possible reason why the drone isn’t taking off could be due to problems with its compass. Smart drones are very intuitive and are capable of knowing when there is something wrong with the compass. This could mean the compass isn’t calibrated well or the compass could be wrong. 

Try calibrating the compass or troubleshooting it for issues and then try to see if your drone takes off after fixing the issue. Remember that some drones are intuitive enough that they will not take off when the compass has problems to prevent any accidents caused by a problematic compass.

3. The drone is damaged #

The problem that you are hoping isn’t the case is that your drone may have physical damage that will prevent it from taking off properly or even taking off at all. This can happen if, let’s say, the propellers are damaged or, at the very least, not positioned correctly. Such a problem can be a big issue because the propellers need to be able to spin freely so that they can propel the drone in the air properly. After all, you don’t want a drone to have problems flying just because one of the propellers isn’t positioned correctly.

It can also be common for the propellers to be spinning in place but the drone isn’t moving up. Again, positioning matters when it comes to a drone as it propels itself up into the sky. If at least one of the propellers isn’t positioned the right way, the other propellers that are positioned the right way won’t be enough to allow the drone to take off. That’s why you might want to check on the drone to see if the propellers are damaged or if they are just positioned the wrong way.

If you have a newer drone that can self-troubleshoot, you are in luck because some drones will send a message to your phone to tell you what the problem is. This makes it easier for you to tell what damage is preventing the drone from taking off. All you need to do after that is to make a simple Google search to determine the right way to fix the issue.

4. Software problems #

A non-hardware reason why your drone might not be taking off could be related to software problems. This is one of the reasons that is easiest to fix because there isn’t anything wrong with the drone or its controller. That said, you can try to change some settings, or perform a system or firmware update to see if that fixes the problem. 

5. Restricted zone #

Finally, it could simply be that you are attempting to fly in a restricted zone. Some drones have built-in geofencing, which means that the drone will be programmed to “know” which areas are prohibited for it to fly based on GPS location. That means that the drone won’t fly if it senses that there is geofencing in that area and you are not allowed to fly your drone there. This can be relieving to know that the issue is not related to your drone. Simply check your map to find a non-restricted zone to try to launch and fly your drone. 

Drone not turning on #

As mentioned, while we would like to discuss the problem of how drones may be turning on but are not taking off, there are also cases where the drone won’t even turn on in the first place. As such, it is needless to say that it won’t be able to take off because it doesn’t even turn on. This is evident when no lights are turning on or when there is no transmission from your drone to your controller or smartphone. That said, here are the common culprits of why a drone isn’t turning on.

1. The battery charge is too low #

The first thing you need to do here is to look at the battery. Arguably the top reason why a drone isn’t turning on is that its battery isn’t charged. This usually happens when you take your drone right out of the box. Typically drone batteries are shipped with a minimal charge and must be charged before use. 

In such a case, the first thing you need to do when your drone isn’t turning on is to try to charge the battery. Again, a lot of drones that aren’t turning on can be traced to an empty battery. Make sure that the drone is charged before you try to see if it is turning on. If that works, you just found the easiest solution ever!

2. Bad battery #

If you tried charging your drone but it still did not turn on, then one of the reasons could be that it has a bad battery. In some cases, drone batteries can become damaged due to a crash or exposure to moisture. In other cases, the battery might just be too old to function as well as it did in the past.

In any case, the best you can do here is to buy a new battery so that you can try to see if you can make your drone start-up and hopefully take off again. Batteries can be quite problematic in drones because they require precise and careful maintenance procedures. That’s because most drone batteries come with smart features that require you to know how to charge them properly and how much charge you should leave behind.

3. Drone damage #

Finally, another reason why your drone won’t even turn on could be that the drone might have gotten damaged. Don’t rule out the possibility of damage, because it can be normal for drones to crash, get caught up in power lines, or get wet. Such cases are quite normal when it comes to drone pilots that are still learning the ropes and are still trying to learn how to properly fly a drone.

So, if the drone still doesn’t turn on after you charged it and after you tried replacing the battery, there could be internal damage that resulted from a crash or from getting wet. The only way you can fix this issue is to take it to an expert or the nearest service center so that you can have the drone fixed. In the worst scenario, you might end up having to buy an entirely new drone if your drone was damaged beyond repair. This is why taking care of your drone and knowing how to properly fly one should be one of your top priorities.


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