Skydio R1 flight tips

For the best performance - and to keep your R1 flying safely - here are some tips, tricks, and guidelines to follow when you’re out and about.

Choose the right place and time to fly

  • There are some common-sense guidelines to consider when choosing a time and place to fly. Please check out this article for details: Where can I fly my R1?.

Check your R1 before you fly

Once you’ve found a safe place to fly, follow these steps before every flight:

  • Make sure your R1 batteries are fully charged (charge your phone too!)
  • Clean each of the 13 camera lenses using a microfiber cloth before flying (we’ve included a microfiber cloth in the box for exactly this purpose).
  • Remove the gimbal clip from the top of the gimbal. This holds the front camera gimbal stable during shipping or transport but isn’t meant to be on the vehicle when flying.
  • Check each of the four propeller lugs to make sure the fit is snug, especially if you’ve recently replaced your propellers. No need to over-tighten, just make sure that they have not been loosened during transport and are securely holding the propellers in place. When tightening, by way of example, use as much pressure as you would tightening the cap on a bottle of water - not overly tight, but enough to feel snug and secure.

General flight safety tips

  • Your R1 can’t see certain visually challenging obstacles. When you’re choosing an environment to capture with your R1, be extra careful around thin branches, telephone or power lines, ropes, netting, wires, chainlink fencing, transparent surfaces like windows, or reflective surfaces like mirrors.
  • If your R1 does hit an obstacle it can’t see, it will do its best to stabilize itself and continue the flight.
  • When the sun is low on the horizon, it can temporarily blind the R1’s cameras depending on the angle of flight. Your R1 may be cautious or jerky when flying directly toward the sun.
  • You can launch Skydio from the ground or your hand. If you’re launching in an environment with tall grass, sandy/dirty/wet ground, or similar, hand launching is a great option, but it takes a bit of practice, so be careful! Check out our related articles for more information.
  • Your R1 can fly up to 25 mph under most conditions, which is fast enough for anything on foot -  and most of what you do on a bike, a skateboard, or other human-powered activities.
  • Note that the R1 tracks only one person at a time and depending on the environment and the cinematic mode you choose, it may fly relatively low. Other people, especially if they are in motion, may not be seen quickly enough for the R1 to avoid them safely.
  • If you know that you’ll be around others in motion, choose a cinematic mode like Tripod or Stadium to help avoid them. You can use the height slider in the Skydio app at any time to raise (or lower) your R1’s elevation. You can also the zoom slider within the Skydio app to move the R1 away from you (or towards you).
  • If your R1 can’t see you, it may stop following you temporarily. It will wait until it reacquires you visually or uses your phone’s GPS to find you. If your R1 can’t find you, it will land itself safely.
  • The R1 only avoids obstacles that are not in motion. Cars, balls, animals, other drones, or similar moving objects will not be avoided if they’re moving faster than walking speed.
  • Check out skydio.com/safety for more information and helpful tips.

Our related articles are another great place to start if you’d like even more information.