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Flying in Cold Weather
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hallmark007
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Ensure batteries are fully charged: Some drone batteries include technology that automatically discharges battery power after a certain period of inactivity. This maintenance feature helps extend the battery life, but if you haven’t flown for a few weeks it can be easy to forget that your batteries may no longer be at the levels you expect. Before you head out the door, take a minute to verify that your batteries are fully charged.


Minimize heavy control inputs: Flying at high speeds or at full throttle requires a heavy current from the battery and can cause a sudden voltage drop. Avoiding full throttle, especially during the first few minutes of your flight, and minimizing heavy control inputs will help extend the flight time.

Avoid draining the battery: Under normal weather conditions, maxing out the flight time and flying to a low battery level is common. But when you’re flying in cold weather, completely draining the battery can be risky. Fly until the battery drops to 30-40 percent capacity, and then bring the drone back down. Pack a few spare batteries if you know you’ll need a lot of time in the air.
Bring a portable charger for your mobile device: Many popular drones stream live video to a mobile device on the controller. Remember that the battery in this device will also be impacted by cold weather. You may want to purchase a small portable charger to power up your mobile device if needed.

Steer clear of precipitation

Most drones aren’t waterproof and precipitation of any kind can damage the camera and gimbal, short out a motor, or cause other malfunctions to the drone or controller. If your drone does get caught in the rain or snow, land it as soon as possible. Make sure to dry off the props and body of the drone. In particularly cold weather.


2017-11-7
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DJI Grace
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You made it? Soooo nice tutorial.
Do you mind I move to the "Tutorial"  spark category.
2017-11-8
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DJI Grace
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so great !
2017-11-8
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DJI Mindy
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Wow, you really made it? Looks very professional and impressive.
You are so great.
2017-11-12
DJI Mindy
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You really made it? Looks so professional and impressive.
Great video, you are so great.
2017-11-12
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Anuvis
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Greece
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Thank you very much @!!!!!
2017-11-7
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nixuspix
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Latvia
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Nice and very in right time. Cold is coming step by step in Latvia. Thank You Captain
2017-11-7
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Viking-Pilot
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This is an outstanding post you made here hallmark007 really good information and tips for the weather to come now, thank you very much for sharing, very appreciated
2017-11-7
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mtnlandpix
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Thanks for a wise post Captain!
2017-11-7
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hallmark007
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nixuspix Posted at 2017-11-7 09:45
Nice and very in right time. Cold is coming step by step in Latvia. Thank You Captain

Yeah feeling the cold here today, you can get some video/ photos during the winter if you can get out to fly.
2017-11-7
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hallmark007
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Viking-Pilot Posted at 2017-11-7 10:14
This is an outstanding post you made here hallmark007 really good information and tips for the weather to come now, thank you very much for sharing, very appreciated

Your welcome..
2017-11-7
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hallmark007
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mtnlandpix Posted at 2017-11-7 10:39
Thanks for a wise post Captain!

Your welcome mtnlandpix..
2017-11-7
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hallmark007
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Anuvis Posted at 2017-11-7 09:40
Thank you very much @!!!!!

Your welcome, hope it can help
2017-11-7
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Todd in Chicago
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Thx Hallmark....

When I was flying last night it was about 40F, and my hands sure got cold!

I tip I heard on a podcast today was, for cold weather, take off  and let the drone hover at the 4ft mark for about 30 seconds, then bring it back down and power it down.  And then power it back up and proceed as normal.  I'm not sure of the science behind it, but it is supposed to increase the longevity of the battery in cold weather.

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
2017-11-7
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Javey
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Thank you for the info . Another thing I’d add that I did on my hike the other week is to keep the batteries in your glove to keep them warm. Almost ended up not being able to fly due to the batteries being too cold!
2017-11-7
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Gunship9
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Javey Posted at 2017-11-7 20:45
Thank you for the info . Another thing I’d add that I did on my hike the other week is to keep the batteries in your glove to keep them warm. Almost ended up not being able to fly due to the batteries being too cold!

I kept lipos in my pocket when flying model airplanes.  Kept them warm.  I think there should just be a short walk from the warm car before you launch a Spark.  The smart phone screen should be fun when it is really cold.  Expect it to quit when it feels all goose pipple-ie.
2017-11-7
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muntos
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So, for Spark what exactly means extreme cold temperatures ? From what I see in the Spark's specs, the lowest operating temperature is 0C, which doesn't seems that low for me. Meaning that if I take my Spark to a sky slope and want to take some photos, it will be probably below 0C (let's say -5C) up in the mountains, so it will be impossible to take off/operate the Spark ?
2017-11-8
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muntos
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Sorry, I meant to say SKI slope
2017-11-8
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hallmark007
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muntos Posted at 2017-11-8 00:46
Sorry, I meant to say SKI slope

Well 0 is the recommended temp, but I have seen many use in lower temperatures it’s something you will know yourself, if battery temperature is to low your aircraft won’t take off you would need to try keep the temperature up, it’s best to hover for a minute or so at low temperature to try warm everything up, you will be the pilot and you have to make the decision.
Good luck.
2017-11-8
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muntos
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-11-8 02:21
Well 0 is the recommended temp, but I have seen many use in lower temperatures it’s something you will know yourself, if battery temperature is to low your aircraft won’t take off you would need to try keep the temperature up, it’s best to hover for a minute or so at low temperature to try warm everything up, you will be the pilot and you have to make the decision.
Good luck.

Aha, good to know, thank you, I don't plan to do anything fancy, just be able to take off and take some aerial pictures of the surroundings
2017-11-8
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hallmark007
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DJI Grace Posted at 2017-11-8 02:30
You made it? Soooo nice tutorial.
Do you mind I move to the "Tutorial"  spark category.

No problem.
2017-11-8
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Wachtberger
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Excellent hallmark007, thank you very much!
2017-11-8
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Montfrooij
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Great one!
2017-11-8
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hallmark007
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uǝʞoɹq ɯnɹoℲ something not right with forum can’t reply directly strange prompt box coming up.

sɯǝlqoɹd ǝsǝɥʇ ƃuᴉʌɐɥ ǝslǝ ǝuoʎuɐ sI
2017-11-8
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Todd in Chicago
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Test reply for Hallmark....

I am using the mobile version of the site, and it appears normal....

Todd in Chicago
2017-11-8
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ImTravis
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"Winter is Coming!" Thanks for the great tutorial.
2017-11-8
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Todd in Chicago
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Test reply to Hallmark....

This reply was done from the desktop version, everything appears to be normal for me.

Todd in Chicago
2017-11-8
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hallmark007
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Todd in Chicago Posted at 2017-11-8 06:07
Test reply to Hallmark....

This reply was done from the desktop version, everything appears to be normal for me.

It’s ok now thanks Todd.
2017-11-8
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hallmark007
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Wachtberger Posted at 2017-11-8 03:04
Excellent hallmark007, thank you very much!

Yeah just taught yesterday I’m spending Christmas and new year in Sweden and I intend bringing a couple of my drones, I know it can very cold in Sweden , so just getting my mind ready for it.
2017-11-8
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hallmark007
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ImTravis Posted at 2017-11-8 05:39
"Winter is Coming!" Thanks for the great tutorial.

Your welcome Travis, looking forward to seeing some great winter shots.
2017-11-8
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OneMatt
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Just so some folks know, one of the features of the Intelligent Flight Battery is temperature sensing.

When temps are low, you may get the warning on screen "propulsion limited". This is to protect the battery by preventing full throttle punches as was recommended in the original post. You can keep flying, but keep in mind it won't be as fast as normal. Don't expect sport mode to be any faster than normal, and even normal mode may be "tripod mode" kind of slow. DONT FLY IN ANY WIND, as the reduced power may not be able to fight it effectively.
2017-11-8
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hallmark007
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OneMatt Posted at 2017-11-8 10:42
Just so some folks know, one of the features of the Intelligent Flight Battery is temperature sensing.

When temps are low, you may get the warning on screen "propulsion limited". This is to protect the battery by preventing full throttle punches as was recommended in the original post. You can keep flying, but keep in mind it won't be as fast as normal. Don't expect sport mode to be any faster than normal, and even normal mode may be "tripod mode" kind of slow. DONT FLY IN ANY WIND, as the reduced power may not be able to fight it effectively.

Great advice OneMatt I think your right many may not be aware of this occurrence. Safe to say we should always land as soon as it’s safe to land once we get battery warning. Thanks for that.
2017-11-8
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Javey
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I did not know that Matt and may have already made that mistake once ;). Thanks for the added insight!
2017-11-8
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HomePoint
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I remember quite a few months ago seeing some boating YouTube guy get a free replacement Mavic as he was flying in Canada in an  area near water where it had snowed, obviously very cold and the aircraft just suddenly landed in the water without much warning or control.  I assume he would not get a replacement these days with tutorials like this warning of these dangers.  I thought it was strange that he got a new craft at the time, but obviously DJI may have been a little lenient on him since he was posting regularly on YouTube with an increasing subscriber count.
2017-11-12
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hallmark007
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HomePoint Posted at 2017-11-12 02:29
I remember quite a few months ago seeing some boating YouTube guy get a free replacement Mavic as he was flying in Canada in an  area near water where it had snowed, obviously very cold and the aircraft just suddenly landed in the water without much warning or control.  I assume he would not get a replacement these days with tutorials like this warning of these dangers.  I thought it was strange that he got a new craft at the time, but obviously DJI may have been a little lenient on him since he was posting regularly on YouTube with an increasing subscriber count.

I think by and large these little drones will do well in Cold Weather, but I think they should be flown close and for short periods, if you need a shot you are best getting as close to it as possible before launching. Winter is a great time for photography/Video and I’m sure we will see some very extreme shots appearing on the forum over the winter.
2017-11-12
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Todd in Chicago
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Folks...

I had a really enjoyable time flying my Spark yesterday,  and testing out my new Crystal Sky monitor as well,  and flew through 4 batteries.

Yesterday's temperature was 37 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind of approximately 10 miles per hour, so it was pretty chilly.  I thought the Spark performed absolutely admirably and to be honest I did not notice any difference between flying in this colder weather versus flying in any other weather.  I did take some precautions such as keeping the extra batteries in an inside pocket close to my body to keep them warm.

Actually, as a matter of fact 2 of my flight records indicate flight times of 13 minutes.   I felt confident enough to have the spark up to the maximum altitude of 400 feet and a max distance if I remember correctly of 1800 feet or so.

I do have a normal routine that I use which I think is also very helpful for cold weather.  Basically that consists of using my first battery as a test battery meaning I do a certain number of things to make sure that all systems are good, into a gain an understanding of the area that I am flying in.  I usually let the spark sit on the Launchpad for 30 seconds before taking off.  Then I hover at the four foot mark for about 30 seconds, and then bring the aircraft up to 30 feet and let hover another 30 seconds.  I do this to ensure I get a good return to home point and to allow the aircraft to get its visual clues for precision landing.  On my first battery I then usually fly around to see how the aircraft is handling in the given conditions and the environment.  I'm always looking to make sure that I have good number of satellites and that I'm not getting any error messages or Compass problems.  If that all looks good I then make sure that I fly to 100 feet in 100 feet away and then initiate a return to home to ensure that all of that functionality is up to snuff.  Then I can use the rest of that first battery to fly around and do whatever I want and I can feel confident that the for the area that I'm flying in I understand the environment and how my aircraft is responding.

I went flying with my brother and my father for this trip.  Both of them were very impressed with how the Spark handled and how easy it is to fly as well as the Crystal Sky Monitor and what that brings to the table.  They were also pretty blown away when I was able to initiate a return to home even after the spark had been as far as 1800 feet away and 300 feet up and to see the Spark come right above us at 300 feet of altitude and come all the way down, go into Precision Landing mode and land right back on the very launching pad it took off from without any intervention from me....blew them away!!

The kind of flying that occurred yesterday is what makes this hobby I'll be so much fun.   Even though the weather was cold the Spark flew extremely well with zero errors.  The more times you fly the more experience you gain,  and the better experiences that you have (no errors) really increase your confidence in flying the Spark.

When you are in a nice wide open environment and the Spark is behaving as it should, it gives me the confidence as a pilot to focus on enjoying the flight rather than worrying if my aircraft will survive.  I was confident enough to let my father take the controls and have him actually launch the spark and fly it around for one whole battery.  I was right there ready to take the controls of necessary but that experience was pretty priceless.

Having some awesome fun in Chicago with my Spark.

Cheers....

Todd in Chicago



2017-11-12
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Todd in Chicago
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As an update,  I also let my fatger fly a good part of my third battery.  

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago

2017-11-12
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hallmark007
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Todd in Chicago Posted at 2017-11-12 13:24
Folks...

I had a really enjoyable time flying my Spark yesterday,  and testing out my new Crystal Sky monitor as well,  and flew through 4 batteries.

Good job Todd, sounds like a great day flying, being prepared and going through the safety checks will always help for a successful days flying.
2017-11-12
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Wachtberger
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Todd in Chicago Posted at 2017-11-12 13:28
As an update,  I also let my fatger fly a good part of my third battery.  

Cheers...

Thanks a lot for this nice report Todd! Sounds like a great time with your father and brother and if I might add, if only all would be as conscientious as you in flight preparations... Really great job!
2017-11-12
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BerkoZg
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Great tutorial. Tnx.
2017-11-12
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Todd in Chicago
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Wachtberger Posted at 2017-11-12 14:17
Thanks a lot for this nice report Todd! Sounds like a great time with your father and brother and if I might add, if only all would be as conscientious as you in flight preparations... Really great job!

Wachtberger...

Thx!  I think if you follow a good, safe repeatable routine and fly in open areas and be mindful of local/Federal laws and restrictions, your give yourself the highest probability of success.

I don't think following a good "Safe Flying" routine is difficult, I think where most tend to cut corners is by flying in not so wide open areas (myself included) as sometimes that is more difficult as you may not have the time to drive to that great wide open space, and may make a decision to fly in a more risky area versus not fly at all.  Additionally, and I'll provide my .02 in the CS post, but having a display like the Crystal Sky can easily lull you into flying FPV.  Indeed, a few times I needed to STOP and "re-locate" my Spark in the sky to keep that visual LOS going.

Having my father who is 70+ years old come into a cold field with his two sons and experience the joy of flying was really priceless.  We brought a chair for my father to sit in and relax (also easier for him to fly from).  My brother brought his drone which is a Hubsan GPS version (around $180), even though the Spark costs 3x as much, it was clear why DJI is an industry leader with the combination of their software and hardware.

After our flights, we continued the father/son/brother bonding experience by going to a local pizza place for pizza and beer, while watching our fights on the Crystal Sky monitor (another benefit of CS).  Even from my brothers Hubsan drone, we just loaded his SD card in the Crystal Sky to see his flights.

What fun!

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
2017-11-12
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