Drone Did Not Come Back: Troubleshooting & Prevention Tips

Experiencing a drone did not come back? Learn troubleshooting steps and preventative measures to ensure safe drone operations. Find helpful tips here.


Drones have become increasingly popular for various applications, from aerial photography to surveying and even package delivery. However, one common issue that drone operators may encounter is when their drone does not come back as expected. This can be a frustrating and concerning situation, but understanding the potential reasons behind it and learning how to troubleshoot can help address the problem effectively.

Common Reasons for a Drone Not Coming Back

There are several factors that can contribute to a drone not returning to its operator. It’s important to be aware of these potential causes to better understand and address the issue. Some common reasons include:

  • Low Battery: When a drone’s battery level reaches a certain threshold, it is programmed to automatically return to its takeoff point. If the battery is too low, the drone may not have enough power to make it back.
  • Signal Loss: In some instances, drones can lose connection with their remote controller due to obstructions or interference. This can cause the drone to fail to respond to commands and not return as intended.
  • GPS Issues: Drones often rely on GPS signals to navigate accurately. If there are problems with the GPS system, such as weak satellites or signal interference, the drone may struggle to find its way back.
  • External Factors: Environmental conditions like strong winds or unexpected obstacles in the flight path can disrupt a drone’s navigation and prevent it from coming back.

Troubleshooting Steps for a Drone That Did Not Come Back

If your drone did not come back as expected, don’t panic. There are several steps you can take to troubleshoot and potentially resolve the issue. Consider the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check Battery Level: First, ensure that the drone’s battery is not depleted. If it is low or critically low, the drone may not have enough power to return home. If the battery is low, try to recall the drone manually before it completely runs out of power.
  2. Check Signal Connection: Verify that the drone is still connected to its remote controller. If the signal connection is lost, attempt to regain connection by moving to an open area and adjusting antenna positions.
  3. Review GPS Signal: Determine if there are any issues with the GPS signal. Some drones have indicator lights that show the current GPS status. If the signal is weak or absent, move to a different location with better GPS reception.
  4. Activate Return-to-Home (RTH) Function: Most drones have a Return-to-Home feature. Activate this feature to prompt the drone to automatically return to its takeoff point.
  5. Consider Drone Recovery Tools: In some cases, specialized drone recovery tools such as GPS trackers or signal boosters can help locate and retrieve a lost drone. These tools can be particularly useful in vast or challenging terrains.

It’s important to note that troubleshooting steps may vary depending on the drone model and manufacturer. Always refer to the user manual or contact the drone manufacturer’s support team for specific guidance.

Preventative Measures to Ensure a Drone Returns Safely

While encountering a situation where your drone does not come back can be worrisome, taking proactive measures can greatly reduce the likelihood of such incidents. Here are some preventative measures to ensure your drone returns safely:

  1. Perform Pre-flight Checks: Before every flight, conduct thorough pre-flight checks. This includes inspecting the drone for any physical damage, checking the battery level, and ensuring the GPS signal is strong.
  2. Plan and Map Your Flight Route: Prior to operating your drone, plan and map out the flight route. Identify any potential obstacles or restricted areas that may pose navigational challenges.
  3. Familiarize Yourself with Return-to-Home (RTH) Function: Take time to fully understand and test the Return-to-Home function of your drone. This ensures that you can rely on it if the need arises.
  4. Monitor Battery Level: Stay attentive to your drone’s battery level during flight. Avoid pushing the battery to its limits and consider setting a safe return battery threshold to ensure you have enough power for a safe return.
  5. Maintain Signal Connection: Keep a clear line of sight between the drone and the remote controller to maintain a strong and stable signal connection.
  6. Stay Updated on Regulations: Stay informed about the latest drone regulations in your area. Adhere to guidelines on flight boundaries, altitude, and prohibited zones to prevent accidental loss of your drone.

By taking these preventative measures, you can minimize the chances of your drone not coming back and ensure a safer and more enjoyable flying experience.


The situation of a drone not coming back can be a stressful experience for drone operators. However, by understanding the common reasons behind it and following the troubleshooting steps provided, you can increase the chances of resolving the issue and retrieving your drone safely.

Additionally, implementing preventative measures such as performing pre-flight checks, planning flight routes, and staying updated on regulations can significantly reduce the likelihood of a drone not returning as expected. Remember, proactive measures and preparedness are key to a successful and hassle-free drone operation.

Happy flying and may your drones always return safely!


I'm Martijn, your dedicated drone enthusiast and writer here at Drone Operator. With a passion for all things UAV drone related, I'm committed to providing you with insightful and unbiased content.

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