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How to find an unloaded drone?

How to find an unloaded drone?

Imagine that suddenly your drone loses signal and lands who knows where. Frustration rises, and time is ticking. What to do in such a situation? How to find a drained drone? Fortunately, there are several proven methods that can help you locate the lost machine. From tracking the last known GPS position, using mobile apps, to physical searches in the field—each of these strategies can be effective. In this article, we will suggest how to effectively and quickly recover your drone, minimizing stress and increasing the chances of success.

What actions can be taken to find a drone?

How to find a drone without GPS

Searching for a drone is obviously the first action anyone would rationally start with. However, steps can be taken to effectively help find the lost item. DJI drones are professional equipment that records information such as the drone's location, altitude, etc., via GPS in the app. You can also use a free tool like Airdata, which, when connected to the controller, shows even more detailed data.

We know because we fly. A few months ago, during risky flights, our DJI Mavic 3 fell into the water. It happened quite close to the sea shore near Kuźnica. It was cold, so manually retrieving it was impossible. However, we decided to attempt to recover the equipment with an underwater drone with a gripper, which is also part of our drone fleet. But first, we had to find out the exact last location of our drone. For this purpose, our technician connected the controller to a computer with the Airdata application. We were able to see the drone's location, the entire course of the last flight, and even how the operator controlled the sticks.

airdata system

Airdata application

The end of this story was that we couldn't deploy the underwater drone because the waves and sea currents were too strong… but maybe you, dear reader, will find our Mavic while swimming at Hel? (in case, it's entry No. 31 Kuźnica :)

How to avoid losing a drone

It's worth considering how to avoid such situations. Advanced equipment is equipped with various functions that inform the user of any malfunctions and improper operation. When something is wrong, appropriate notifications appear in the app. Therefore, to avoid such incidents, it is essential to thoroughly check the equipment.

Checking the equipment before flight

Before starting, check for any errors. Examine the propellers carefully for any damages and ensure they are correctly installed, as even a small crack can lead to aerodynamic disturbances and an accident. For safety, the drone can be periodically given a professional check-up.

Proper training

Drones are valuable tools for monitoring and recording aerial footage. It is important to have the appropriate qualifications and technical knowledge to ensure safety during drone operations. Proper education is fundamental.

Signal loss

Equipment malfunction can be affected by other interferences, such as telecommunications towers. The drone has an option to set what to do if it loses signal. It can return to the starting point or stop and hover in the air. If the operator chose the second option and couldn't find the drone, the machine would wait in place until the landing procedure started.

Equipment failure

A drone is an electronic device that, like any other equipment, can fail. We have been running a service for years, so we know there are many possibilities. Most often, these are mechanical damages, malfunctioning wires or strings, transmitters, or uncalibrated sensors. If you have doubts about the functionality of your drone, you can contact our service.

How to recover a drone after battery depletion?

How to find a drained drone

Recovering a drone after battery depletion can be challenging, but there are a few steps you can take to increase the chances of finding it. If your drone is equipped with an automatic return to home (RTH) feature, you should configure and enable it before each flight. In case of battery depletion, the drone will automatically return to the starting point or another defined location, which greatly facilitates its recovery.

Battery care

Many people who use drones are unaware or ignore how important it is to properly care for the batteries. Regular maintenance of batteries extends their lifespan and improves safety during flights. Neglected or damaged batteries can lead to drone failure or even loss. For those interested, we leave a link to an article with six tips on how to maintain your battery.

Placing contact information on the drone

This is a useful tip for both you and your friend who flies a drone. Always place your phone number on the drone. In case all other methods fail, it may happen that someone finds the drone and contacts you to return it.

How to check the last known GPS location?

How to locate a drone

If you do not have access to the RTH feature or the drone landed elsewhere, there are other methods. You can try to track the last known GPS location using the drone management application, such as DJI GO, DJI Fly, or another appropriate for your model. These apps often allow you to locate the last known position of the drone on a map, which can be very helpful during searches.


The drone has a built-in GPS, but if it discharges, it will not provide the location. Therefore, it is worth attaching a separate locator to the drone, which will help in such a situation. A similar solution is to use an independent LED that would help locate the drone at night.

Find My Drone

Many drones have a "Find My Drone" feature. It allows you to quickly locate the drone by showing its position on a map. If your drone has this feature, it is worth using it.

How to find a drone without GPS?

How to find a drone

However, if your drone is not equipped with a GPS module, or you do not have access to telemetry data, manual terrain search will be necessary. Focus on the area where you suspect the drone may have landed. You can also try using other drones for the search. Reporting the drone's loss to the relevant authorities or community groups can significantly increase the chances of finding it.

Radio location

You can use radio signals to determine the drone's position, which is useful in places where GPS signal is unavailable, such as enclosed spaces or dense forests. Radio communication allows constant contact with the drone, and telemetry systems transmit information from the drone to the control station, providing full control over its position.

IMU technology

It monitors the drone's movement using accelerometers and gyroscopes. This allows for tracking the drone's position even without a GPS signal, which is useful in areas of high electromagnetic interference or inside buildings. IMU records data on the drone's movement and orientation. Analyzing these data can help determine which direction the drone flew before losing contact.


Finding a lost drone can be challenging, but several effective methods can help. The best approach is to use GPS data recorded by applications like DJI GO or Airdata, which track the last known position of the drone. It is also worth using the automatic return to home (RTH) function and regularly taking care of the batteries to avoid power problems.

If the drone is not equipped with GPS, manual terrain searches or using other drones for the search will be necessary. Additionally, radio locators and IMU technology can help determine the drone's position even without a GPS signal. Regularly checking the equipment before the flight and proper operator training is very important and can prevent losing the drone. Place contact information on the drone in case it is found by someone else. Happy flying, and may your drone never decide to get lost!


Marcjanna Hubert
Chief editor of the Megadron blog, professionally involved with drones for 5 years. Student of New Media in Communication. Enthusiast of graphics and travel, fascinated by the magic of storytelling through video. Bridges the gap between Megadron and clients by adding content to social media: Instagram and Facebook.
Bartłomiej Rasztar
Editor specializing in e-commerce for 3 years. Master's degree in Management - Marketing and Social Media. Enthusiast of sports, extreme experiences, and challenges, shared on his Instagram. Inspired by using technology to showcase the world in an exciting and interesting way.
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