Drone won’t hover in place: Solutions

One of the troubling experiences of most drone pilots, especially the newbie, is the inability of the drone to hover in a place. You booted up your drone, prepared for flight, throttled, but your drone simply drifted to a side and hit the wall. It’s a costly technical glitch because of the cost of investment. But how can you stop this strange experience and fly your drone like an expert?

Findings have shown that the commonest reasons drones drift and won’t hover is simply because of improper calibration of the compass or the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Efficient calibration of the sensors sets your drone on the path of perfect hover and amazing flight. With mini drones, you will need to calibrate the controller because they lack compass and inertial measurement units.

Drones have many sensors that synergize to enhance the efficiency of the flight. Making the sensors work perfectly well means ensuring the sensors have an accurate measurement. Calibrating your drone is a simple act of removing errors that triggered inaccurate sensor measurements. Beyond the drifts caused by inaccurate sensor measurements, aging, impacts, and vibrations could trigger drifts and make it impossible for your drone to hover.

Precautions before IMU/Compass calibration

Before you calibrate your drone, you need to make sure the following are in place:

  1. Calibrate only in an open area free of people and other obstacles such as concrete, buildings, overhead power lines, pipes, et cetera.
  2. Make sure you put away all guards and accessories from your drone before calibration, as they may affect the process.
  3. You need to ensure the environment is free of metal objects such as rings, watches, or any other metallic instruments as they may interfere with the process.
  4. You cannot emphasize enough the importance of calibrating on an open surface.

Stepwise Guide for calibrating your drone’s IMU and Compass

  1. Prepare for the process

The first thing to do is to ensure you do not calibrate a hot drone. Switch off your gadget and allow it to cool off for close to 10 minutes. Note that calibrating in a dry and cool environment is key to avoid overheating. A fully charged battery is the ideal. Remember to remove the gimbal guards, propellers, etc.

If you are using a DJI drone such as the Mavic Pro, ensure that you have the latest version of the DJI Go app. Then plug your battery and connect the controller as should.

  1. IMU Calibration

The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) is an electronic device that uses the gyroscope and accelerometers to gauge the rotation and acceleration; thus providing positioning data. It helps to set a standard for your drone’s altitude. 

A YouTube channel, USA Toyz recommended a process for calibrating an FPV drone, and this can take a similar process for other UAVs.

Turn on your drone and allow it to blink yellow light. The LED will start blinking. While this is on, ensure your landing gear is already on and on a flat surface.

Gradually arm your drone. Push down the left stick and then up. Push it down again. Now push the right stick down and then to the right. The LED will automatically stop blinking. This signifies the end of the calibration process.

  1. Compass Calibration

Calibrating the compass helps to ensure control and safety of flight. The compass helps to gauge the drone’s magnetic field in comparison with the surrounding magnetic field.

To calibrate your drone, especially a DJI unmanned aerial vehicle, observe earlier-stated precautions by removing all metals around you and ensure there are no dirt, grass, and no obstacles such as concrete.

Once set, power on your drone with all the 3rd party accessories such as the GPS tracker and others. Tap the Calibrate button in the “Aircraft Status,” of the DJI Go. If you do not see the calibrate button, you need to calibrate the compass and you can find this at the Advanced Section of the DJI Go.

Confirm the rear arm light is solid yellow. Pick your drone and turn it steadily and smoothly a complete 360 degrees until the rear arm light turns green.

Pro Tip: while you can turn your drone in your hand, it may be professional and safer to turn yourself in a circle. Then, you can also point your drone straight down and turn as recommended until the lights go green.

Drone Remote Calibration

If the need arises for you to calibrate the remote, here is a simple guide, assuming you still have your DJI drone, perhaps a Mavic Pro. Power your drone and ensure that you center the sticks. Let’s believe you have observed all precautions, connect your phone and open DJI Go. Press the controller icon at the top-right corner and tap the Remote Control Calibration. Press start and follow the prompts shown on the screen.

Note: You must be careful to avoid one of the commonest errors of newbie pilots. Understand that radiofrequency or magnetic frequency sources can ruin your drone compass. To avoid compass failure, ensure you keep your gadgets away from magnets such as those from cars, speakers, et cetera. You also need to avoid high electromagnetic interferences. This means you won’t fly close to high voltage lines.

Here is why your Drone Calibration could Fail

  • When you calibrate your drone and still record errors, here are some likely instances that may have interfered with the process.
  • If you calibrate your drone when the arm of the drone is folded. Or in the presence of metallic objects; powering your drone while you are moving, and also calibrating the drone where magnetic interferences exist.

 How to hover your drone: Newbie Guide

  1. Power your drone and throttle with 10% to ensure that every control works efficiently before full throttle.
  2. Gradually throttle until your drone is about two inches off the floor. Move the control to have a feel for your drone’s reaction. If your drone has long landing gear, fly only at one foot to prevent the gear from entangling with the ground. If for any reason you lose control, throttle down and stop.
  3. Assuming things go as planned, fly your drone at 3 feet. You will have little interference with the air current. Once you are at the point, try to land and fly to a new mark and land again. This little practice will help you master precision and landing.
  4. You need to master orientation. You may start with your drone at a 10 ‘o’clock position and proceed to 2, 9, and perhaps 3. Hover at each position until you are sure of mastery.
  5. Hovering is one of the challenging parts of drone flight, especially if you are a newbie. Other key orientation practice you need to master include Noise In Hovering and Noise In Hopping. To master flying drones like a pro, master everything that will improve your proficiency.
  6. Finally, errors in inaccurate sensor measurements trigger the problem of drones won’t hover in a place. You can solve this challenge by simply calibrating the IMU, the compass and remote with mini-drones. Once you properly calibrate the sensors and observe all precautions, the challenge of drones not hovering in a place will be over.



A challenging experience that can ruin your opportunity for a great drone flight is the inability of drones to hover in a place. One common cause of this problem is an improper calibration of the IMU and the compass, and with mini-drones, the remote. By implication, proper calibration of the IMU and the compass will enhance the efficiency of your drone flight and enable your drone to hover at any place you so desire.

Before calibration, you need to observe some precautions that can interfere with the process and ruin your chance of correcting the sensor measurements. In this piece, you will discover all the precautions that can hamper a successful drone calibration and the stepwise guide for the proper calibration of your IMU and the compass.


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