When I fly my drone, most places have dust, dirt, sand or vegetation and other debris on the ground. Even when there is asphalt, there is most often dirt, dust, small sticks or stones, that gets kicked up from the wind generated by the rotors/propellers.
Why use a landing pad?
Protect the drone’s electric motors
The most important reason to me is to keep fine dust, dirt and sand out of the electric motors that power the drone. Each motor has an intake, that draws in air, to keep the motor cool. I have been told by technicians in the industry, that they have had customers who had failures, due to the motor drawing in fine quartz sand and other abrasives, causing the motors to stall in flight and resulted in crashes.
Protect the camera’s lens
This one is important to me because most of my flights are about shooting videos and photographs. Keeping dust and dirt off my lenses and filters helps me get better results. There have been many times where the takeoff/landing spot has wet grass or leaves or wet concrete and when the rotor wash hits it, the spray goes everywhere, including on my lenses and filters.
Protect rotor blades
Another great reason to use a landing pad is that it can prevent your rotor blades from striking things like tall grasses and small branches that be around your launch site. When you lay down the landing pad, you will either remove them or cover them. Damaging your rotor blades/propellers often means replacing them.
Makes landing easier and safer
And finally having a clear takeoff/landing area can help prevent you from accidentally landing your drone on a rock or branch. When this happens, sometimes it can cause the drone to tip over, striking the rotors on the ground or other objects and damaging them and sometimes other parts of the drone.
What to consider when purchasing a landing pad
- What size do you need?
- Do you want a weighted edge to prevent it from lifting or are you okay with staking down the pad?
- How durable do you want?
- Do you want a carry bag?
- How much weight are you willing to carry?
- Does it pack up quickly and easily?
Which landing pad do I use?
I choose the Hoodman Drone Launchpad in the 5’ diameter for the following reasons.
- The most important reason for me was that the Hoodman Drone Launchpads have a galvanized-steel perimeter weight. This weight means that they are less lightly to lift up from the rotor wash when taking off or landing, or from the wind. While they do have the option of staking them down, I haven’t had to, and I’ve flown in the Columbia River Gorge, on some pretty windy days. The downside is it is heavier because of the steel perimeter weight.
- I wanted a larger sized landing pad since I primarily fly the Inspire 2.
- The high visibility bright orange color makes it easy to see on the ground and from the air.
- It collapses to 20” and includes a carry bag.
- It is heavy duty denier polyester pad
- I was willing to pay a premium price for these options.
Other landing pads
While the Hoodman is a great pad, there are a number of others available, so check them out. Based on your needs, you may choose another brand. Here are a few options for you to choose from. I have included links for you below.
Hoodman Drone Launch Pad
Freewell Drone Landing Pad
ExpoImaging FlatHat Collapsible Drone Pad
Fly safe and have fun!
Chris started The Anson Group Drone Videography and Photography company with the focus on working as a contractor for other companies, flying their drones and his own, as well as capturing stock videography and photography. Chris flies a DJI Inspire 2 drone with Zenmuse X5S camera.
See examples of his work here.