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I understand "fly aways" now. It tried to happen to me!
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2506 64 2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
Captain
Flight distance : 927185 ft
United States
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This weekend, I decided to fly the Spark at an overlook of Lake Tahoe.  Even though there was no reason not to fly the drone, I am always cognisant of others' views on drones, so when I am in a very public area with people, I try to take off quickly and fly away before people think I am "spying on them" or "taking photos of their kids" or other ridiclous theories.

On this day, I did so at the expense of compas calibration and GPS connectivity.  I've done this many times before, and I just fly out a little bit and wait for the GPS to pick up.  Even if the compas isn't perfect, I am generally able to get good shots and then return manually to land and put the Spark away quickly before people make a big deal out of it.

Unfortunately, the GPS never picked up.  The winds were very gusty, and rather than the normal very slight drifting if any with no control input, the little drone seemed to "take off" and fly around erratically.  Fortunately, I've been flying small cheap quad-copters for a number of years and I was in visual range.  I was able to fly it back via line of sight and land it.  

Until now, I have to admit that I've been a little judgy about "fly aways," but now that I've seen the way that the Spark can behave with a lost signal or some interference, I am far more sympathetic.  This could have very easily resulted in a lost or destroyed drone.  I was fortunate.

Be safe out there!
2018-2-27
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Rustic17
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United States
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Great flying...basic skills are important to have.  I have done just what you described.  I'm in a location next to a cliff or mountain or buildings where I only have a few satellites so I launch and fly away from the obstruction to get more satellites up.  It always seems to work so I'm not sure why it didn't work for you.  Based on your experience, I won't try that technique on windy days.  Thanx
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Rustic17 Posted at 2018-2-27 09:44
Great flying...basic skills are important to have.  I have done just what you described.  I'm in a location next to a cliff or mountain or buildings where I only have a few satellites so I launch and fly away from the obstruction to get more satellites up.  It always seems to work so I'm not sure why it didn't work for you.  Based on your experience, I won't try that technique on windy days.  Thanx

I've had this happen a number of times, where I start everything up and for whatever reason, the drone just never acquires enough satellites for GPS triangulation.  In these instances, I am able to turn everything off and restart and everything works as normal.  Easy enough in most instances since I haven't yet taken off, but if I've already flown out, I am left to fly back under my own nerve and control, which was definitely worrisome on this occasion.  Luckily everything turned out ok!
2018-2-27
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Flighty
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Flight distance : 1977175 ft
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Wow, very fortunate no lost drone due to some good flying skills, well done.  It just goes to show how important it is to have sufficient satellites, and home point recorded!!
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Flighty Posted at 2018-2-27 10:11
Wow, very fortunate no lost drone due to some good flying skills, well done.  It just goes to show how important it is to have sufficient satellites, and home point recorded!!

yep!

I'd say 25% of my flights do not have a home point recorded at the beginning.  I am thinking about bringing that percentage down to 0% now though.

With LOS and under normal conditions, I do not have a major problem guiding my drone back to me without use of the FPV or GPS or compass.  Conditions change quickly around here though!
2018-2-27
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Smark
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I have not had a flyaway yet, but these forums have definitely kept me very aware of the possibility. Excellent reminder!
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Smark Posted at 2018-2-27 10:49
I have not had a flyaway yet, but these forums have definitely kept me very aware of the possibility. Excellent reminder!

These drones are amazing pieces of equipment.  It is very telling when none of the safety features work and you're forced to do it all on your own!

Hopefully you won't run into circumstances like this!
2018-2-27
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GoldenSun
Captain
Flight distance : 681903 ft
Poland
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Good that you were able to get it back. Maybe instead of "fly-aways" we should start calling them "drift-away-with-the-wind-ays"...
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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GoldenSun Posted at 2018-2-27 11:00
Good that you were able to get it back. Maybe instead of "fly-aways" we should start calling them "drift-away-with-the-wind-ays"...

Haha that’s a mouth-full!
2018-2-27
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Cookster670
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Australia
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That’s always been my theory...that flyaways are just driftaways.   The spark is so easy to fly that inexperienced pilots can use them...that’s fine as long as you have GPS and a video connection....but once you get into trouble, you have to pilot the thing home..   If you don’t have the skills, or out or VLOS...you’re in big trouble.
2018-2-27
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Rodador
lvl.4
Flight distance : 427520 ft
United States
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I've wondered if flyaways are actually the AC flying away to its last home point.

In other words, if the Spark or whatever has a previous home point set & then is fired up and flown off without updating the home point and then something goes wrong mid flight to cause it to enter RTH mode automatically would the AC try to return to that last set home point?
2018-2-27
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GoldenSun
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Poland
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Cookster670 Posted at 2018-2-27 11:41
That’s always been my theory...that flyaways are just driftaways.   The spark is so easy to fly that inexperienced pilots can use them...that’s fine as long as you have GPS and a video connection....but once you get into trouble, you have to pilot the thing home..   If you don’t have the skills, or out or VLOS...you’re in big trouble.

Exactly, sometimes it's all too easy to just let it all do the work and as long as it works - one might think - why bother practicing?
2018-2-27
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Wachtberger
Captain
Flight distance : 261509 ft
Germany
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Congratulations for your happy landing in difficult circumstances! But hey, taking off without sufficient satellites and without home point recorded is bound to end up with problems. For me an absolute no go. Fundamental pre flight checks are a must if you want to enjoy your AC for a longer time.
2018-2-27
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BeastMaster_101
First Officer
Flight distance : 1082992 ft
Canada
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Glad to hear your spark is safe and sound!
2018-2-27
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Flying Wolf_NOLA
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-2-27 13:36
Congratulations for your happy landing in difficult circumstances! But hey, taking off without sufficient satellites and without home point recorded is bound to end up with problems. For me an absolute no go. Fundamental pre flight checks are a must if you want to enjoy your AC for a longer time.

I agree with this. No disrespect to the OP at all. In fact, very impressive flying! I don't have any desire to test my skills to that degree, however. I don't take off until I have enough sats and I've checked to make sure the compass is acting normally. Again, I'm glad you were able to land safely, but there's no photo or video worth risking my equipment.

One thing the OP said got my attention. That is the desire to want to quickly take off and kind of get away from people rather than risk annoying anyone. I do understand this and, in the beginning, I felt the same way. Now, I just take my time and, if approached by anyone, I show them what I'm doing (if they're interested). In my experience, people are fascinated by the drone and think it's really cool. One women watching me set everything up called her kids over to see what I was doing. They thought it was the coolest thing - what young boy wouldn't?  :-)

The media has given drones a bad rap. We're the only ones who can change it now.  
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Cookster670 Posted at 2018-2-27 11:41
That’s always been my theory...that flyaways are just driftaways.   The spark is so easy to fly that inexperienced pilots can use them...that’s fine as long as you have GPS and a video connection....but once you get into trouble, you have to pilot the thing home..   If you don’t have the skills, or out or VLOS...you’re in big trouble.

My thoughts exactly.
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Rodador Posted at 2018-2-27 11:53
I've wondered if flyaways are actually the AC flying away to its last home point.

In other words, if the Spark or whatever has a previous home point set & then is fired up and flown off without updating the home point and then something goes wrong mid flight to cause it to enter RTH mode automatically would the AC try to return to that last set home point?

Interesting theory. I haven’t seen it fly anywhere with purpose other than the recorded home point.
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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GoldenSun Posted at 2018-2-27 13:22
Exactly, sometimes it's all too easy to just let it all do the work and as long as it works - one might think - why bother practicing?

Indeed. The obstacle of price has been removed, and I for one am totally pumped!
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-2-27 13:36
Congratulations for your happy landing in difficult circumstances! But hey, taking off without sufficient satellites and without home point recorded is bound to end up with problems. For me an absolute no go. Fundamental pre flight checks are a must if you want to enjoy your AC for a longer time.

Indeed. The Spark looks like a toy, so I think that’s why I am so inclined to use it like one!  It’s been great fun!
2018-2-27
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Wachtberger
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Flying Wolf_NOLA Posted at 2018-2-27 14:14
I agree with this. No disrespect to the OP at all. In fact, very impressive flying! I don't have any desire to test my skills to that degree, however. I don't take off until I have enough sats and I've checked to make sure the compass is acting normally. Again, I'm glad you were able to land safely, but there's no photo or video worth risking my equipment.

One thing the OP said got my attention. That is the desire to want to quickly take off and kind of get away from people rather than risk annoying anyone. I do understand this and, in the beginning, I felt the same way. Now, I just take my time and, if approached by anyone, I show them what I'm doing (if they're interested). In my experience, people are fascinated by the drone and think it's really cool. One women watching me set everything up called her kids over to see what I was doing. They thought it was the coolest thing - what young boy wouldn't?  :-)

Great post and I can absolutely confirm the same experiences! Whenever I see people around watching what I am doing I invite them immediately to have a look on my screen and explain to them what I am doing, which are the rules I follow etc. Never ever a negative experience so far, the opposite is the case. As you wrote, they are fascinated and grateful for the insight.
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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BeastMaster_101 Posted at 2018-2-27 13:57
Glad to hear your spark is safe and sound!

Me too! Relief!
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Flying Wolf_NOLA Posted at 2018-2-27 14:14
I agree with this. No disrespect to the OP at all. In fact, very impressive flying! I don't have any desire to test my skills to that degree, however. I don't take off until I have enough sats and I've checked to make sure the compass is acting normally. Again, I'm glad you were able to land safely, but there's no photo or video worth risking my equipment.

One thing the OP said got my attention. That is the desire to want to quickly take off and kind of get away from people rather than risk annoying anyone. I do understand this and, in the beginning, I felt the same way. Now, I just take my time and, if approached by anyone, I show them what I'm doing (if they're interested). In my experience, people are fascinated by the drone and think it's really cool. One women watching me set everything up called her kids over to see what I was doing. They thought it was the coolest thing - what young boy wouldn't?  :-)

I agree with your last words. Unfortunately, bad news makes for “good news.” No one wants to watch a report on a bunch of guys flying responsibly, but one guy crashes into the Golden Gate Bridge and we are all villianized!
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-2-27 14:20
Great post and I can absolutely confirm the same experiences! Whenever I see people around watching what I am doing I invite them immediately to have a look on my screen and explain to them what I am doing, which are the rules I follow etc. Never ever a negative experience so far, the opposite is the case. As you wrote, they are fascinated and grateful for the insight.

Maybe I’m just not as social. I just like flying around and getting my shots. Plus, people here are super judgy. I’ve had more than one poor experience already and I’m not keen on having more.
2018-2-27
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Flying Wolf_NOLA
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-27 14:25
Maybe I’m just not as social. I just like flying around and getting my shots. Plus, people here are super judgy. I’ve had more than one poor experience already and I’m not keen on having more.

If that's the case, then I really don't blame you. I'm not very social either, but if someone shows an interest, I go out of my way to show them what it's all about. I'm always surprised to hear that my drone is the first one they've ever seen!  With so many of us out there, that seems unusual.

However, I don't see any either now that I'm thinking about it.  LOL
2018-2-27
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Wachtberger
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-27 14:25
Maybe I’m just not as social. I just like flying around and getting my shots. Plus, people here are super judgy. I’ve had more than one poor experience already and I’m not keen on having more.

Try places with less people around then would be my suggestion, but take pre flight checks more serious too ;-)
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Flying Wolf_NOLA Posted at 2018-2-27 14:29
If that's the case, then I really don't blame you. I'm not very social either, but if someone shows an interest, I go out of my way to show them what it's all about. I'm always surprised to hear that my drone is the first one they've ever seen!  With so many of us out there, that seems unusual.

However, I don't see any either now that I'm thinking about it.  LOL

Yep. Kids love the thing. I hear kids yelling look a drone and stuff excitedly, but I don’t go over to them and start explaining how it works. If people come over and engage me politely, I will converse, but I do not actively seek interaction and I am always on guard due to past experiences.
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-2-27 14:29
Try places with less people around then would be my suggestion, but take pre flight checks more serious too ;-)

Duly noted.
2018-2-27
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teknikal90
lvl.3
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i never fly without gps signal and recorded home point. its just not worth the risk for me.
2018-2-27
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Ednorris
lvl.2
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I'm just a newcomer and probably I should keep my mouth shut but here goes. it seems to me that taking off around other people no less without ensuring that you have all of your controls working is a recipe for disaster if you have controls available to you and don't ensure that they're working you're risking people's well-being unnecessarily. sorry, that's just the way I see it
2018-2-27
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Cookster670
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Australia
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GoldenSun Posted at 2018-2-27 13:22
Exactly, sometimes it's all too easy to just let it all do the work and as long as it works - one might think - why bother practicing?

i don’t really have an issue with DJI making things easier and opening up the technology to more people.  I spent hundreds of dollars repairing planes and heli’s when I first learned to fly RC.   DJI make it more accessible now

The catch is these same pilots don’t know how to fly themselves out of problems., which could represent a safety issue
2018-2-27
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GCburke
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Good job flyn her home.  I think everyone should invest in one of the small cheap quads and learn to fly without gps. May just save your expensive Spark some day like it did with you. Plus the little micros are fun to play with .
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Cookster670 Posted at 2018-2-27 15:26
i don’t really have an issue with DJI making things easier and opening up the technology to more people.  I spent hundreds of dollars repairing planes and heli’s when I first learned to fly RC.   DJI make it more accessible now

The catch is these same pilots don’t know how to fly themselves out of problems., which could represent a safety issue

At any expense level, it’s about practicing. Having a little $20 drone to fly around inside your house and get used to controlling something in 3 dimensions is great practice and very practical if you’re spending $500+ on a “real” drone.
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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GCburke Posted at 2018-2-27 16:34
Good job flyn her home.  I think everyone should invest in one of the small cheap quads and learn to fly without gps. May just save your expensive Spark some day like it did with you. Plus the little micros are fun to play with .

Plus, no flight restrictions!

Well, within reason.
2018-2-27
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Gunship9
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So you are saying that one should not fly over water or near water?

More info on the "seemed to take off and fly erratically," please.  Like the controls were overly sensitive?  Or the inputs were really laggy?  Or the controls inputs resulted in the drone doing the opposite.

I assume the IMU wouldn't keep the drone perfectly level when in ATTI and the pilot would need to control the hover.  the non-level hover causing the drone to skate around.  Then ATTI mode would be a matter of getting a feel for how responsive the controls were or planting it in the ground where it could be found.
2018-2-27
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DJI Elektra
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China
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-27 16:46
Plus, no flight restrictions!

Well, within reason.

Robert, glad you did not lose your drone. I believe that you will learn from this experience and become a skilled pilot.
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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Gunship9 Posted at 2018-2-27 18:11
So you are saying that one should not fly over water or near water?

More info on the "seemed to take off and fly erratically," please.  Like the controls were overly sensitive?  Or the inputs were really laggy?  Or the controls inputs resulted in the drone doing the opposite.

Good questions!

It definitely would not hover. If I let go of the sticks it went up and toward the mountain. Fast.

My normal inputs (I’ve been flying for quite a while now and have a very good feel for what my inputs result in) were VERY exaggerated. I kept checking to see if I had accidentally flipped it into sport mode, but it was not in sport mode.

I was also far enough away that it took me a moment to get oriented. Flying LOS is very different from first person view, especially at a distance.

This was a very different experience than I’ve had with the spark over my ownership experience. Just wanted to share!
2018-2-27
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RobertWSimpson
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DJI Elektra Posted at 2018-2-27 20:06
Robert, glad you did not lose your drone. I believe that you will learn from this experience and become a skilled pilot.

Always an opportunity to learn!
2018-2-27
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Ednorris
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Cookster670 Posted at 2018-2-27 15:26
i don’t really have an issue with DJI making things easier and opening up the technology to more people.  I spent hundreds of dollars repairing planes and heli’s when I first learned to fly RC.   DJI make it more accessible now

The catch is these same pilots don’t know how to fly themselves out of problems., which could represent a safety issue

I flew RC planes back in the day there's one trick that might save a bunch of people with theirdroness flying toward them is a daunting task to get yourself organized as to which stick to push where just remember simple Aid to memory  put the rolls stick under the low side *when it's flying toward towards yous*  Put the pitch stick under the low end of the drone.   an RC plane doesn't hover when you're on Final you're on Final and you better get it right or you're going to ball it up in the grass. it's always flying toward you when it's on Final it's kind of important to  accurate fly with no hesitation this maxim made this possible for me and a lot of other students to successfully land an oncoming plane.  don't complicate anything by thinking about why this works trust me it works you need to be just doing it when you're flying towards yourself. with a drone I don't imagine you had wings to see which one is low but you can see which way it's veering/yawing  if it's moving to your right push the roll  stick to your right if it's moving to your left  then push the roll stick that way.  hope this helps
2018-2-27
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Bing Err
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I agree that taking off quickly seems to make less people take notice, but before you even start your props you can just hold the Spark up and wait for GPS to connect. It doesn't take that long or draw much attention. Not trying to criticize, just pointing out what works for me, and doesn't draw much attention.
2018-2-27
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Cookster670
First Officer
Australia
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Bing Err Posted at 2018-2-27 22:02
I agree that taking off quickly seems to make less people take notice, but before you even start your props you can just hold the Spark up and wait for GPS to connect. It doesn't take that long or draw much attention. Not trying to criticize, just pointing out what works for me, and doesn't draw much attention.

I just leave it on the ground, props still until I get GPS.  Only then do I start the props, take off and fly away.
2018-2-27
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