Flying the Mavic Air 2 at Night

Recreational drone pilots often face the dilemma of flying their drones at night. While several forums have helpful guidance in this area- there are still several grey areas. In this article, we answer questions about flying the popular Mavic Air 2 in the night skies- safety concerns, legal considerations, and best suitable camera settings.

Pilots willing to fly their drones at night must consider the following technical, as well as legal aspects:

  1. The capability of the drone to actually fly at night
  2. The legal regulations of the jurisdiction regarding drone flying at night

Legal concerns of flying Drones at night in the US

The Part 107 rules in the US have, prohibited flying at night without a waiver from the FAA, however, the FAA also says that recreational flyers can fly at night as long as the drone “has lighting that allows you to know its location and orientation at all times.” The FAA requires 3-mile minimum visibility of the drone at all times- this can be achieved by adding accessories such as strobe lights to the drone. A forward-facing white strobe light will help fulfill these requirements. The forward-facing light will also help in orienting the drone in the correct position.

Safety concerns for flying the Mavic Air 2 at night

It is safe to fly the Mavic Air 2 at night only if there are no obstacles or traffic around. It is safest to fly in a clearing devoid of any such obstacles. There are several risks to flying at night- unseen obstacles, loss of line of sight of the drone, privacy issues, focus issues, or even finding landing spots in case of an emergency. The anti-collision sensors on the drone do not work at night. Flying a drone at night could also raise privacy concerns as drones have been known to be used as spying instruments. Flying at night is not recommended for beginner drone pilots. However, for a safe night flight make sure you have an active GPS connection and a powerful strobe light on your drone.

Using Return to Home while flying your Drone at night

The Return to Home feature on drones works on 2 factors- a strong GPS signal and the LED light on the drone. The GPS signal may dwindle due to environmental factors. The LED light on the drone cannot illuminate the landing position from far up and matching the landing area against an image taken during takeoff. This may result in landing errors- it may not be as precise as in daylight. Using a drone landing pad could provide a distinctive landing feature for the drone and make a precision landing more feasible. It is best to use manual landing when flying drones at night.


Does the Mavic Air 2 have Night Vision?

The Mavic Air 2 is not equipped with night vision. The Mavic Air 2 does not come equipped with thermal imaging or image enhancement using the infrared light spectrum. However, it can shoot decent video when flown over a well-lit area such as the LA skyline.



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