As drone fliers we tend to go to great lengths to protect our investments from flying away. There’s nothing quite like that awful feeling in your gut when you realize you are watching your drone get blown steadily out of sight, having a mid-air battery failure over irretrievable terrain, or undergoing some kind of internal, unexplainable self-determination to chart a course for a new life that no longer includes you.
Been there, done that.
While I go to careful lengths to make sure that this is not likely to happen to me, what I am kicking myself for is not being as focused on what happens in terms of the possibility of your craft being found and being easily identifiable for possible return.
(Admittedly, I’m an optimist who still believes that people are basically good and will try and do the right thing, especially if it’s easy for them to do the right thing. After all, DroneLife lost a drone and gave up on it, only to have it returned two weeks later.)
I had a couple of address stickers secured to the outside of my recently lost Phantom 2, but what happens if a little bit of weather removes them? What happens if someone decides the Phantom would look better on their shelf without them? And Sharpies don’t leave a permanent mark on either the plastic shell of the Phantoms or on the plastic battery covers.
Then I had the thought that so many of you have already hopefully had; why not place a message inside the microSD card on the GoPro that will eventually get read by someone, sometime, if it is ever found and they try to put it to use?
From now on, all my remaining drones and their data cards will now include, on the opening page of the SD card contents, an all-caps “REWARD IF FOUND” document file for the viewer to read. You can personalize yours to whatever you best think will encourage a finder to contact you, but mine reads like this:
Hi there. If you are reading this it means that you have found my camera, and likely the drone that is carrying it! If you would please contact me by my email below or by a phone call or text, I would greatly appreciate it and be happy to reward you for its return.
Maybe this can be the warning you need to take that little extra step to help improve the chances of getting your gear back in the event that you are so unlucky as to lose it in the first place. Isn’t it always so much nicer to be ahead of the curve on the simple things before they become the painfully obvious simple things!?