R1 is designed to be easy to use, and using a few common sense guidelines should help you to find an appropriate and safe place to launch and fly.

When choosing a time and a place to operate your R1, please follow these general guidelines and suggestions, and be sure to check out our related articles for even more detail.

Follow the law

In the US, it’s illegal to fly drones within 5 miles of an airport. Always follow FAA guidelines for drone piloting and check out helpful resources like knowbeforeyoufly.org or apps like UAV Forecast or Airmap for more info.

Fly when your R1 can see clearly

Your R1 navigates visually using 13 cameras to build a 3D map of its surroundings that includes trees, people, buildings and more. Because it needs to see clearly to navigate past these obstacles effectively, your R1 can only fly in normal daylight conditions. Its advanced computer vision won’t work at night or in other low-light conditions. The Skydio app will warn you of low-light conditions and may suggest you land if there isn’t enough light to fly safely.

When low on the horizon, the sun can temporarily blind the R1’s cameras depending on the angle of flight. Note that your R1 may be cautious or jerky when flying into the direct sun.

Be cautious around water

R1 is not waterproof. Use caution and common sense guidelines when flying over bodies of water wider than 30 feet across. Check out this article and video for more tips on flying over the water: Using your R1 over water

  • Important Note: If you don't see the green GPS icon in the Skydio app, it’s not currently safe to fly over water.

R1 should not be flown in rain, falling snow, or fog. Use these guidelines when flying in the snow (or in cold temps).

Avoid thin structures

Also, be extra careful when flying in environments that contain thin branches, telephone or power lines, ropes, netting, wires, chainlink fencing, transparent surfaces like windows, or reflective surfaces like mirrors.

Make sure you have enough clear space to take off

When launching from the ground, the area 9ft above and 3ft around the R1 should be clear and free of obstacles.

When hand launching, the area 10 feet above you, 15 feet in front of you, and 3 feet on either side of you should be clear.

Note: While R1 is designed for use outdoors, it can be flown indoors in certain environments with caution. Only fly indoors in large, open areas with good lighting, like large warehouses, gymnasiums, or similar spaces.  When you fly indoors, avoid flying near glass, mirrors, solid textureless walls, or polished, reflective flooring. Use the above clearance guidelines when flying R1.

See our related articles for more info and tutorials.

Watch out for high winds

Fly with caution on windy days. Your R1 performs best on days when wind speeds are under 12 mph. While in flight, the Skydio app will warn you if it's too windy, but in very windy conditions it's best not to fly at all. Before you fly, if in doubt, you can use your favorite weather or drone app to check the wind speed in your location beforehand.

Be especially cautious when hand launching in the wind. It’s best to have the wind at your back when hand launching, and if it’s particularly windy, or if the wind is changing direction rapidly, don’t attempt to launch by hand (or at all).

Never fly on public roads when using the Car Follow skill

Car Follow skills are ONLY for use while off-road or on a closed course. Check out this article for more information: Using the Car Follow skill

Check out our related articles for more information.