Can you fly a drone through the clouds?

When in Madeira, we spotted loads of clouds, hanging above the mountains. I was wondering: how would it look, when flying with my drone, through the clouds? It was time to figure it out.

Putting the DJI Spark to the test

My drone is the small one from DJI. The DJI Spark. A great piece of technology, especially when considering its size. I recorded some (in my opinion) great footage already.

Why flying through the clouds is a bad idea

A cloud is in fact a gathering of small water druplets. That is the first reason, why it is a bad idea to fly through the clouds. Electronics and moisture don’t mix very well.

Secondly, the bottom sensors of the drone, may view the cloud as the ground, so it is possible that the drone won’t get down, or very slowly.

Lastly, it’s out of sight. Taking into account these risks we tried it anyway:

I am still a beginner drone pilot and editor. However, I think I shot some great footage, above the clouds. First there is nothing to see when suddenly there is the blue sky, sun and a glimpse of a mountain with some trees.

Landing it safely

When descending, I got a downward sensor error and was messaged to land ASAP. Descending was however no problem at all. The Spark was in Sport mode, reacted normally and came down quickly. Landing in the sand was no good idea though. The combination of wind from the propellors, sand and a wet drone made the drone quite dirty. But aside from that, it landed safely.

Tips for flying through the clouds

If you want to give it a try, be aware that you might lose your drone. The electronics could get confused, or it might be difficult to land it because of the clouds. Besides, it’s also flying out of the line of sight. If you want to try it anyway, make sure to:

  • Have a flightplan. It’s a good idea to just fly straight up so you know where the drone is, although you don’t see it
  • Be fast. I would put it in Sport mode and ascend and descend as soon as possible. Because descending could take a bit longer, make sure you have plenty of battery left.
  • Bring something like a towel to dry and clean your drone
  • Bring deodorant, it might be exciting 😉

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