(FIXED) Drone Keeps Drifting And Not Flying Straight (Why, How to Fix)

You might have faced situations like your drone keeps drifting and not flying straight even though you just pushing the joystick forward. It makes it so much hard to control the drone and so annoying. I also have faced this kind of situation first I didn’t care and eventually, it started to drift more than I expected.

So if you notice your drone is drifting even though there is no affecting weather, you need to pay attention to fix the issue immediately. Usually, you can fix this issue by doing some software options so it wouldn’t take days. So let’s look at why drones not flying straight and how to fix them.

Why drone not flying straight.

In most cases, drone keeps drifting and not flying straight, because of miscalibrated drone or controller, motor issues and distorted propellers. Also, mounting items to drone like Gopro would cause drifting because of changing the drone’s center of gravity and unstable the drone.

As I mentioned above there are a bunch of reasons for the drifting drones. So it’s better to keep looking from reasons which cause more to less causing reasons. Then we would be able to tackle – the reason why your drone not flying straight.

Reason 1: Miscalibrated IMU.

The Inertial measurement unit (IMU) is built into the drone with many sensors to keep track of the surroundings of the drone. Also, it measures the force, altitude, and angular velocity of the drone. By combining all the data from sensors, the Inertial measurement unit is able to fly the drone stable without drifting.

If your drone got IMU miscalibration or IMU failure, it won’t be able to collect correct data and perform the right operation to keep to drone stable during the flight. It would misunderstand the surroundings by the collected data from the miscalibrated system and ultimately it would start to drift.

Solution: In order to fix the miscalibrated IMU, you need to calibrate the IMU properly. There are different ways to calibrate IMU of different ways but there are common steps to do it. While calibrating the drone you shouldn’t bring metallic or electronic stuff near the drone. Also before calibrating charge your drone at least 50% charge.

  • Step 1: Remove the gimbal cover and turn on the drone and place it on a flat surface.
  • Step 2: Power on the controller and connect the drone.
  • Step 3: Launch the Drone app (examples: DJI GO, DJI Fly, FreeFlight6).
  • Step 4: Go to the main menu and IMU section.
  • Step 5: Then hit “Calibrate”.
  • Step 6: Press “Start” and move your drone as the demonstration on the app screen.

Reason 2: Gyro initialization issues.

Although every drone doesn’t have a unit named “Inertial measurement unit”, every drone has a gyroscope. Actually, the gyroscope is one component of the IMU. The gyroscope is the sensor that detects the drone’s movements relative to the x-axis and it is responsible for a stable and smooth flight.

Once you have a miscalibrated gyroscope it won’t be able to keep track of its position on the horizontal axis simultaneously. Also, the gyroscope is the one that controls the angular velocity of each propeller. If you have miscalibrated gyroscope each propeller would spin at a relatively different angular velocity. So there would be an unstable side force to fly the drone sideways.

Solution: If you have an IMU system in your drone calibrate the IMU system because the gyroscope is a component of the IMU system and there is no way to calibrate it separately. If your drone hasn’t an IMU system, you would have to calibrate the gyroscope by trimming the drone. You would find four trimming buttons which are responsible for each direction.

  1. Take off the drone a little bit from the ground and notice which direction it’s drifting to.
  2. Once you notice the direction press the opposite direction button of the trimming button until it stops drifting in that direction.
  3. Keep trimming until the drone hovers stably in the air.

Reason 3: Motor issues.

We can all expect and accept that motor issues can be a reason why drones do not fly straight. because propellers are responsible for supplying the force to fly the drone in each direction and motors are responsible for spinning propellers to proper angular velocity to make that force. If some motors malfunction, there would be an unstable extra force that occurs drifting the drone.

The most common and easy fix to the issue is tanged motors. When you fly your drone near to the ground so often, the propeller would suck up hair, grass, and other debris. Then those stuff wrap around the motor gear. Also, another motor issue is damaged motors. Even though the motor is getting sufficient voltage and current but the motor still spins slower than other motors, and the motor might have been damaged. Usually, motors get damaged because of crashes and aggressive flights.

Solution: If you have a tangled motor, it would be easy to fix. You just have to uncover the drone and clean and remove the wrapped debris—from the motor safely. If there are many layers of wrapped hair, try cutting them instead of pulling them. If you suspect that you have damaged motors, and you have no idea about repairing it, get help from an electronic repairist to check them and replace them.

Reason 4: Distorted propellers.

The unique shape of the propeller is the magical spell to supply the upward force to the drone. Believe or not a small difference in the propeller can cause drone unstable drone. That’s why many propellers are made with hard plastic. Even though they are hard to rip, they can be bent or get distorted due to crashes.

Solution: If some propellers are distorted or bent because of a crash, you would have to replace propellers. If you are buying propellers, you would have to be careful and find suitable propellers. If you are unable to find the same specific propellers, try to buy suitable propellers and replace all propellers.

Reason 5: Miscalibrated remote controller.

Joysticks on miscalibrated remote controller won’t work as you expect because the physical joystick and virtual joysticks are not aligned with each other. Because of that many controllers would keep beeping if it’s the left or right joystick is out of alignment or not detected in the center of the joystick’s movement.

Solution: If you have miscalibrated controller, you would have to calibrate it before flying. Also, make sure to wait until the calibration is completed after performing the process.

  1. Turn on the drone and the controller.
  2. Then connect the controller to the phone.
  3. Turn off the drone.
  4. After that, launch the drone app and navigate to the main menu.
  5. Visit the “RC settings” then hit calibrate remote controller.
  6. Then calibrate the controller by pushing virtual joysticks on the screen in all directions.
  7. Wait until the process is finished successfully.
  8. Once calibration is finished successfully, restart the controller.

Reason 6: Damaged circuit or wires.

If your drone has a damaged circuit or wires, it would be hard to distribute expecting current and voltage to perform the action. When motors get a lower or higher amount of power than it needs while flying it would start to drift.

Solution: Uncover the drone and take out the propellers. Then turn on the drone. Take a multimeter and check each and every motor is getting the same amount of current and voltage doing the specific operation (taking off and flying forward, backward, and sideways). If you are noticing some difference with those values you would have to check those wires and the circuit. If you’re not with hardware stuff you can get help from professionals. They would do all the figuring out and fixing the issue. Especially if you have a circuit issue, I wish you would get help from professionals.

Reason 7: Mounting accessories to the drone.

Mounting heavy different accessories like Gopros to the drone would cause changing its center of gravity. Because of that drone would be unstable and keep drifting. Also, make it harder to take off and fly. If you really want to attach accessories to the drone, choose something that is bearable and light-weighted relative to the drone.

Reason 8: EXP Settings.

Another reason why drone keeps drifting is because of the sensitivity of the controller’s joysticks. You can tune the sensitivity of the controller to your preference by tunning the EXP settings of the controller. Adjust the EXP setting until the forward/right graph is at 0.5. This was recommended by a user of the DJI forum – click here to view the full post.

Reason 9: Electromagnetic interference.

Electromagnetic environments like near power lines with a high amount of current and voltage can cause affect the gyroscope sensors and the connection of the drone. That’s why pilots have experienced drones flying away when they fly in those environments. So always avoid flying your drone near industrial or commercial areas or large structures with high electric currents and look for wide-open spaces to fly your drone.

Reason 10: Unbearable wind.

The wind is a heavy external force on the drone, so there is no doubt about drifting the drone while you flying in windy weather. Different drones have different resistance against the wind and many modern drones have impressive resistance against the wind. So if your drone can’t resist the wind it would drift and won’t fly straight. Even though your drone is strong enough to stand against the wind, it’s better to stay away from flying the drone in heavy wind.

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