Drones are becoming popular nowadays. They have become very useful in many fields such as agriculture, surveying, search and rescue etc. However they can cause some problems if not used properly. There are several types of drones available today: small quadcopters (like DJI Phantom), medium sized fixed wing drones like the Parrot AR Drone 2 or even larger ones like the DJI Mavic Pro. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the DJI Mavic Pro is a good choice for those who want to fly high above their house or business without having to worry about crashing into something. On the other hand, it might be too big for your backyard.
The most common type of drone is the small quadcopter which comes with a camera and can stay airborne for up to 15 minutes before needing to recharge. These drones are perfect for taking pictures and videos of your kids playing around the house or garden.
They can also be used to take aerial photos.
A few years ago, there were only two options when it came to drone landing pads: plastic and metal. Plastic was expensive, hard to work with and had a tendency to break easily.
Metal was much cheaper but required extra care since it could scratch or dent anything you put on top of it. Fortunately, those days are now over thanks to the amazing technology we have today.
Safety and Durability
Whether you are using a small quadcopter, a medium sized fixed wing drone or even something bigger like the DJI Mavic Pro, you are probably going to want to put it down on a landing pad in your backyard every once in awhile. This article will focus on the best landing pads for those who have a small quadcopter.
If you have something bigger or smaller, the information in this article should still be useful but you might have to do a little more research.
When picking a landing pad, make sure that it is made of a durable material and has some sort of anti-slip surface. If you are using a small quadcopter, then it probably doesn’t weigh too much so even a thin and inexpensive landing pad will do.
However, if you have something bigger or heavier like a fixed wing drone then you definitely need to get something sturdier and more reliable.
An anti-slip surface is also important for obvious reasons. If the landing pad that you are using doesn’t have any then it might start sliding around when a drone lands on it or picks it up into the air.
It might also be hard to grip a slick surface if you need to move it around.
The most common materials that are used to make landing pads are plastic and metal. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages so it is up to you to decide which one you prefer.
Plastic: plastic landing pads are relatively inexpensive, very lightweight, soft enough to not damage expensive drone parts and easy to store. However, they can break easily, especially if you are using something heavy like the DJI Mavic Pro.
They also have a tendency to slide around when a drone lands or picks one up into the air.
Metal: metal landing pads are much more durable than plastic ones but also quite a bit heavier and more expensive. However, they do have an anti-slip surface on them which helps them stay in place better.
The size of your landing pad is going to vary depending on what size of drone you are using. If you are using something small like the Parrot Bebop then even a small plastic tablecloth could work as a landing pad.
However, if you are using something heavy like the DJI Mavic Pro then you are going to need something much larger. Be sure to measure the dimensions of your drone before buying a landing pad. You don’t want to buy one that is too small.
Regardless of what material your landing pad is made out of or what size it is, it is only going to be able to hold a certain amount of weight before it becomes unstable. For example, let’s say you have a plastic landing pad that is big enough for a large drone like the DJI Mavic Pro but very light so it can easily lift up into the air when the drone lands on it.
Even if the drone doesn’t slip off the landing pad when it lands or picks it up into the air, the wind created by the propellers might be enough to lift up the landing pad with each pass. The same thing can happen if you have a large and heavy enough landing pad but it isn’t big enough for a large drone like the Mavic Pro. It would still be holding up the weight of the drone, just not stably enough to avoid being blown around by the wind.
As I have already mentioned, some landing pads have an anti-slip surface which helps them stay in place without having to weigh so much that they are a danger to your drone’s health. Others also have retractable legs that come out from underneath to raise it up off the ground a bit.
Metal landing pads are a bit tougher and can be used outdoors without having to worry about them getting destroyed by the wind. If you are using your drone for professional purposes, then this might be something to look into.
Where To Buy Price Comparison
I have created a list of the prices for these landing pads that you can take a look at below. Prices obviously fluctuate quite a bit and are also different depending on what size you buy since some are much larger than others.
Name Dimensions (inches) Weight (kg) Price ($) Store Link Plastic A4 16.5 x 23.4 0.72 Check Here Plastic A3 23.4 x 35.5 1.04 Check Here
Name Dimensions (inches) Weight (kg) Price ($) Store Link Aluminum 15.75 x 21 0.82 Check Here
Personally, I use a plastic landing pad that is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper and it works just fine for my Parrot Bebop. It is light enough that the wind doesn’t mess with it at all and big enough that my drone has plenty of room to land without crushing itself.
Plus, it isn’t so big that I have a hard time lifting it up to fly.
Make sure you measure the dimensions of your drone and then buy a landing pad that is about the same size or even a little bigger. You don’t want it to be so small that your drone has to hover while pulling up which could cause it to flip over or drift away because there isn’t enough space for it to land.
As far as the material the landing pad is made out of, I would go with plastic over metal since it is much lighter. I have read several stories about metal landing pads getting destroyed in high winds and falling on people or their drones.
Plus, most drones are made out of plastic and can get scratched or even seriously damaged if they hit a metal surface rather than a soft one.
This brings us to another consideration and that is price. Landing pads can be pretty cheap or extremely expensive, it just depends on what you are looking for.
I have included a few different options above along with their pros and cons. I have heard of people using pool noodles as landing pads which would be the cheapest option but your drone still might get damaged if it hits the ground at any significant speed.
Landing your drone can be one of the trickier parts of flying it if there isn’t a proper landing area. Just go slowly, give yourself plenty of time and keep an eye on the battery life since you don’t want your drone to get too low on juice before it reaches its destination.
Always fly drones safely and responsibly.
March 2018 Update
It has been about a year since I purchased my DJI Mavic Pro and I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite toys. I have been using if for much more than just filming real estate properties.
It is incredibly fun to fly and the video quality is some of the best that I have seen from a drone of this size.
It is amazing how much technology has advanced over the past few years. When I first started looking at drones, the technology was pretty limited and the prices were way higher.
It definitely pays to wait a year or two before buying most technology. You will get much better features and a lower price.
I have recently been using my drone to film some cycling videos that I am going to be posting on my website in the next few months. The footage looks incredible combined with my own narration and music.
I can’t wait to start posting these videos because I think they are going to be a big hit and get me a lot more views on my site.
I also use my drone for real estate photography on a regular basis now. I can get some great overhead shots of properties that just don’t look as good when taken with a normal camera.
Plus, I don’t have to ask the homeowner if it is okay first since they never care. They aren’t even aware that I am shooting them since I am safely in the air far above their home.
If you are on the fence about buying a drone or have been thinking about upgrading to a new one like I recently did, I highly recommend the DJI Mavic Pro. It isn’t the cheapest option out there but I have found it to be the best compromise between cost, quality of product, and features.
There are cheaper options out there but I think you get what you pay for and some of the cheaper drones have too many problems with durability, easily breakable parts, App issues, customer service complaints, etc.
I hope this review has been helpful and thanks for reading!
Sources & references used in this article:
SwarmCloak: Landing of a Swarm of Nano-Quadrotors on Human Arms by E Tsykunov, R Agishev, R Ibrahimov… – SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 …, 2019 – dl.acm.org
The sky really is the limit when it comes to places to fly your drone. We asked some of Australia’s best drone photographers for some of their favourite spots to shoot … by WA LITTLE BEACH–ALBANY – search.informit.com.au
Autonomic drone landing system based on LEDs pattern and visual markers recognition by M Skoczylas, Ł Gadomer… – … , Industry, and High …, 2018 – spiedigitallibrary.org
Drone charging stations over the buildings based on a wireless power transfer system by A Raciti, SA Rizzo, G Susinni – 2018 IEEE/IAS 54th Industrial …, 2018 – ieeexplore.ieee.org
SlimDeblurGAN-Based Motion Deblurring and Marker Detection for Autonomous Drone Landing by NQ Truong, YW Lee, M Owais, DT Nguyen… – Sensors, 2020 – mdpi.com