Drone Landing Pad Review
Why Use a Landing Pad
When I first heard about drone landing pads I couldn't imagine why I would ever want one. Once I got one I can't imagine not having it. I don't use it every time I fly, but when I am in a situation where I don't have a good take off or landing spot it is invaluable. Here are three good reasons to use a landing pad.
Prevent Damage From Dirt
One reason to use a landing pad is prevent dirt from damaging the camera and internal electronics. Think about it. When your drone is sitting on the ground with the props spinning it creates a substantial amount of wind. If your take off area has any dirt, it is going to get picked up by the prop wash and will end up on your camera lens. Your drone also has a fan that draws air in through ventilation slits and circulates it around the interior electronics. So any fine pieces of dirt stirred up by the props have a good chance of getting sucked up. If you ever fly on a beach you should definitely use a landing pad. A few grains of sand in the wrong spot can cause some serious problems.
Prevent Props From Damage
Another reason to use a landing pad is to protect your props from getting damaged. This is especially true if you are using a DJI Spark or Mavic Pro. These two drones sit very close to the ground. If the grass is tall, or if your drone settles into the grass at all, the props are going to end up chopping it. While it probably won't do significant damage to the props it's not something you want to do on a regular basis.
Provide a Dry Take Off/Landing Spot
A landing pad guarantees you always have a dry place to take off and land if the ground is wet. I have even used a pad to take off from the edges of creeks where the ground was muddy. They're waterproof, so if they get dirty you can just hose them off and let them dry for a few minutes.
Landing Pad Features
Landing pads come in a variety of sizes ranging from 6" to 36". The one I use is 30" and I've never wished it was any bigger. Folded up, it is less than 12" in diameter and slips easily into my camera bag.
Most landing pads come with little stakes you can use to fasten them to the ground. I've never used them, but I suppose if you are on a windy beach they might be helpful. Mine also came with reflective strips you can apply to the edges. I threw them out and have never missed them. I have seen some pads that have LED lights around the edges. If you fly at night in really dark places you might find that useful. I figured it was just more batteries I would have to replace.
I really only have one suggestion. As I mentioned above, most landing pads come with stakes you can use to attack the pad to the ground. The stakes go through loops that are sewn to the edge of the pad. As you can see in this picture, the straps stick up on the side to which they're sewn. If I land my drone too far off center, the props hit the loop. I thought about just cutting off the loops since I never use them. But since I might want the option at some point, I decided to keep the loops and just use the other side to take off and land.