The biggest problem with trying to fly drones in Iceland

Trying to fly a drone in Iceland? If you’re operating in the winter, good luck with the wind.

Wind speeds (particularly in the wintertime) in Iceland typically reach 30-40 mph, but it’s not unusual for them to get much higher than that. A storm in Reykjavik in December 2015 saw wind gusts reaching 162.4 miles per hour. And that’s certainly not an environment for drones to be flying in.

For comparison, the DJI Mavic Air is built to have a maximum wind speed resistance of 18 – 23 mph. Even a heavier-duty drone, like the DJI Inspire 2, is only built to withstand wind speeds of up to 22 miles per hour.

Iceland wind drone
Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik, Iceland

And that’s exactly why you won’t see Iceland’s most popular drone delivery company, Flytrex, operating during winter.

“The wind gusts in Iceland in the winter are horrible,” said Yariv Bash, CEO of Flytrex. “It’s dangerous even for people being outside, so certainly not a drone.

Flytrex, an Israel-based startup that deliveries food via drone to various points around the city of Reykjavik, only operates in the summer.

Drones have been wildly popular in Iceland, as travelers try to capture the unique landscapes from an aerial view. A quick glimpse at drone video social network AirVuz makes it pretty clear how the country’s fascinating landscapes have enchanted drone pilots.

But if your travel plans involve a trip to Iceland in the winter, be aware that you might not be able to fly your drone if the conditions are too dangerous.

Travelers have cited cars getting blown off roads, and even having to reschedule hotel bookings because it is too dangerous to travel to their intended location because of extreme weather. Most rental car companies in Iceland won’t even cover wind damage in their insurance packages.

Before flying in Iceland, check for severe weather warnings, which are issued by both the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Road and Coastal Authority.

And make sure you follow regulations around drone flying issued by the Icelandic Transport Authority (ITA), including the rule that drones cannot fly more than 120 meters high without permission, and that all drones must be registered with the ITA.

Here are more rules from the Icelandic government around hobby drone use:

And commercial drone use:

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