Drone flying is an exciting new area in the leisure industry and with new aircraft being introduced all the time, it’s very tempting to look to the second hand market to invest in your first UAV.

Prices have fallen as drones have become more popular and technology has advanced to a point where really very advanced technology is available in relatively entry level aircraft.  Of course the rapidly advancing pace of change has meant that many drone pilots have upgraded as their needs have progressed and are looking to offload older models to keep their fleet trim.

Buying second hand is a great way of getting a more advanced model while causing less damage to your wallet – perfect if you’re just testing the water of the drone world as a new hobby.   There’s a few things to keep an eye out for so you can increase your chances of getting a bargain.

  • Ask the seller to fly the drone for you so you can see it in the air.  Keep an ear out for strange noises and the drone should move smoothly through the air in the hands of an experienced pilot.
  • Take a close look at at the propellers to check for cracks and dents.  These are usually interchangeable parts so it’s not the end of the world if you spot some damage but you might want to use it in your negotiations on price.
  • Battery life is key as drone flights even with healthy batteries are pretty short.  It’s best if you can see that the battery is fully charged before use.
  • Take a look at the general condition of the UAV. Just like when you’re buying a car, great paintwork without scratches would suggest it’s been well taken care of and it’s less likely to have been involved in any rough landings.
  • Ask about what the drone has been used for. If it’s been in the hands of a professional pilot, it may have had heavier usage but been well maintained.

Don’t forget if you buy any drone – secondhand or new from a store – you’re still committing to flying it safely and responsibly within the Drone Code. You’ll also now need to pass an online competency test and register as a drone operator before you begin to fly – making sure your operator number is displayed on your drone.