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A Warning for New Pilots
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3938 106 2018-5-15
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3-D
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--This from a fellow new pilot--  This is long, so i apologize ahead of time.
So you did it.  You did all the research, you've read all of the rules.  You've watched countless videos of drone footage (of both glory and fail). You went and took the plunge, and purchased that new drone.  The cost alone makes you very cautious in your first few flights.  But then you realize how incredibly easy it is to fly.  You realize that these little machines are steady in the wind.  the sticks are always responsive to what you want them to do.  You've gained a little confidence.  Here is where my cautionary tale begins.  Here is what I WASN'T told.

YOU have done the research.  Your friends, and family haven't.  They only see the cool new toy that you have.  It's easy to say, "no, i'm not going to fly over the maximum altitude", or "no, i'm not going to fly that close to people", or "no, i'm not going to take it that far out.  i need to keep it in VLOS".  

The real pressure comes when they ask you to do things that are very legal, and feasible, but just not safe for your drone.

example:  today, whilst still in the hotel room, my wife says to me, "hey, you can launch your drone from in the room and fly out of the door.  You can take video of that clock tower."
The clock tower is about 3 stories high, and has a little pool around it.  pretty to look at, and to be honest, I should have already gotten footage of it before now.  But i'm on the 16th floor.  Yes it's a sliding glass door, so the opening is large enough for even a 1st timer to get through.  The wind on the beach is a slow 6mph.

"There is plenty of room to launch in here." she says.  "this way, we don't have to go downstairs" she says.
I wasn't feeling great about it, but I gave in.  I launch the drone in the hotel room.  It gets up, gets it's bearing, and i take it out the sliding door.  I flew it about 10-15 feet out of the door, and it just didn't look stable.  That's when I realized that even though the wind is only 6mph on the beach, the up-draft around the building is significantly more.  So I decided (albeit late) that this flight was not a good idea, and i want to bring it back in.  Except I can't.  The draft is fighting the drone significantly.  I can't keep it steady.  And now i'm feeling very uneasy about the 16 story drop i'm about to suffer.  Do i try to take it away from the building, and land it, and go out and get it?  Do i back away from the hotel to get out of the draft, and then try to speed into the room?  What can I do?  All of these things are going through my head as i'm pushing the sticks trying to make it come in fighting the draft.

The draft won.  There was a gust and all of a sudden, the drone was off to the right, and then I heard the collision.  My drone just crashed into the sliding glass door of the room next to mine.  My heart sunk.  I literally felt sick.  I peeked over the railing (i can't even call it a balcony.  its just a rail that is 1 foot away from the window), and looked down to see where the drone had fallen.  But i didn't see it.   Could I really be that lucky?  Did it crash into the window and fall into this little 1ft space in the room next door?  I never even thought to look at the screen to see what the camera was seeing.  I ran to the room, but nobody was in it.  Housekeeping was in the hallway, so I explained what happened, and asked her to let me in the room. Confused, she did let me in.  I went to the door and there it was.  Sitting between the sliding door and the railing.  No damage at all.  I am truly blessed this weekend.

Here is the warning.   

TEMET NOSCE - Know Thyself.

And more importantly, trust yourself.  If you're not 100% certain of your conditions, don't fly.  If you don't have an emergency landing plan, don't fly.  Don't let someone who doesn't know what your drone does, affect what you do with it.  In the end, you are responsible for your aircraft.  You are responsible for anything that happens.  

Today, I was lucky.  I didn't cause any damage, and I didn't lose my Mavic Air.  I also learned a valuable lesson.  

I hope someone else learns from my lesson.  You may not be as lucky.
Fly safe!


2018-5-15
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lvl.4
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Very sad and cool story!
2018-5-15
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A CW
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Great advice. Glad you recovered the drone to fly again. Irrespective of the draft, NEVER fly from indoors to outdoors with a drone. The compass will be off, GPS will be unstable and you will have a damn good chance of entering ATTI mode. Quick panic and it takes seconds to smash a drone to bits. You were very lucky but thanks for sharing your experience and yeah, never be influenced by others in your judgement. If they want to do something with a drone then tell them to go and buy one and fly it themselves although the wife is obviously very different
2018-5-15
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HedgeTrimmer
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my wife says to me, "hey, you can launch your drone from in the room and fly out of the door.  You can take video of that clock tower."

Not from room.  But if you don't mind leaning way over railing, holding drone for takeoff, will give it a try.  
  

2018-5-15
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3-D
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-5-15 07:00
my wife says to me, "hey, you can launch your drone from in the room and fly out of the door.  You can take video of that clock tower."

Not from room.  But if you don't mind leaning way over railing, holding drone for takeoff, will give it a try.

  hmmm...... yeah  that.  That will get the mission accomplished.  What the particular mission is, may be a different story.  
2018-5-15
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HedgeTrimmer
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 06:57
Great advice. Glad you recovered the drone to fly again. Irrespective of the draft, NEVER fly from indoors to outdoors with a drone. The compass will be off, GPS will be unstable and you will have a damn good chance of entering ATTI mode. Quick panic and it takes seconds to smash a drone to bits. You were very lucky but thanks for sharing your experience and yeah, never be influenced by others in your judgement. If they want to do something with a drone then tell them to go and buy one and fly it themselves although the wife is obviously very different

From my own experience, the Wind gusting and swirling around opening of building is most serious risk.  

You can check GPS signal strength.  You can check compass for deviation.  Whereas the wind is unpredictable.  
The building (garage in my experience) causes winds to be going different directions from actual wind further out from building.
Your drone goes from calm air, through transition area with swirling / gusting / buffeting / upward / etc. air, to air blowing in different direction.

Regardless, of which is the risk - Not advisable to fly from inside to outside with a drone you value.
2018-5-15
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HedgeTrimmer
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3-D Posted at 2018-5-15 07:14
hmmm...... yeah  that.  That will get the mission accomplished.  What the particular mission is, may be a different story.

I swear officer.  I told her it was bad idea, a dangerous idea.  But she really really wanted that video.

Oh, excuse me officer.  Tiffany needs another Mai Tai, and it looks like Barbi needs more Suntan lotion.
2018-5-15
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3-D
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 06:57
Great advice. Glad you recovered the drone to fly again. Irrespective of the draft, NEVER fly from indoors to outdoors with a drone. The compass will be off, GPS will be unstable and you will have a damn good chance of entering ATTI mode. Quick panic and it takes seconds to smash a drone to bits. You were very lucky but thanks for sharing your experience and yeah, never be influenced by others in your judgement. If they want to do something with a drone then tell them to go and buy one and fly it themselves although the wife is obviously very different

TRUTH.  She is probably the only one that would be able to get me to do that.

I was fine knowing that GPS wouldn't be great. I knew that it would be only line of sight, and i was "only going out to do a POI, then back in." I didn't think about the fact that the compass would be affected.  Lesson learned.  Lucky for me it wasn't a very expensive lesson.

The attached picture is how i found it.  Shows how small that little railing is.
And yes.  It bounced around enough to close the front legs.


2018-5-15
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Oracle Miata
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Glad you recovered your drone, and obvious lesson learned.  Fly safe.
2018-5-15
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ghostrdr
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I just don't know what to say.
2018-5-15
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3-D
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Oracle Miata Posted at 2018-5-15 07:28
Glad you recovered your drone, and obvious lesson learned.  Fly safe.

Learned indeed.  I also learned the lesson about flying from indoors to out.  Things that I wouldn't have otherwise known.  I just hope others learn it from this, instead of the way I had to.
2018-5-15
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3-D
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Something else I was told before i bought my drone is this:  "There are 2 types of UAV Pilots.  Those that have crashed, and those that will."

So this counts as a crash right?  I mean, I'd like to go ahead and get that out of the way.
2018-5-15
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3-D
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ghostrdr Posted at 2018-5-15 07:33
I just don't know what to say.

The forum stopped me from posting all of the things I said.  Just trust me.  I said enough for all of us.
2018-5-15
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chiplifter
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Great story, great advice.
2018-5-15
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Woe
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ghostrdr Posted at 2018-5-15 07:33
I just don't know what to say.

I second that.
2018-5-15
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Oracle Miata
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ghostrdr Posted at 2018-5-15 07:33
I just don't know what to say.

Negative ghost rider the pattern is full...
2018-5-15
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Apollyon11
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Good lesson. Thank you. You're damn lucky that the camera and gimbal weren't damaged what with the bouncing around against solid objects.
2018-5-15
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Maxheadspace
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Do you know what "return to home" is?  Always factor this into your launch location.  Understand that if you lose signal for whatever reason your drone will fly back to its origin by itself.  If that origin is indoors, you will have some major problems.  Similar for launching from moving objects, like boats.
2018-5-15
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SparksBird
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Yeah I never let anyone else dictate especially if you are not 100% certain.  ALWAYS GPS lock and home point updated before taking off.  If you are starting to lose it due to wind put in sports mode as that will give you a better chance.  Good story and glad you learned your lesson and no damage.  
2018-5-15
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Suren
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Very good advice there Buddy, sorry about the crash but very glad you have not sustained any serious damages. I am sure this is a lesson learnt. Never ever let anyone tell you what to do with the drone even the Mrs(even if you have to sleep on the couch for disobeying). The AIr obviously did not get full sats hence it being unstable and as you mentioned the draft around the building at that height you gonna lose. I tired getting my Pro out once in a similar event but managed to keep it in the air away from the building till my son ran down and I landed and he brought it back.

Be carful and fly safe always
2018-5-15
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A CW
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-5-15 07:20
From my own experience, the Wind gusting and swirling around opening of building is most serious risk.  

You can check GPS signal strength.  You can check compass for deviation.  Whereas the wind is unpredictable.  

The thing is that the environment from indoors to outdoors can change the deviations in compass and GPS instantly which is why it is never recommended to fly from indoors to outdoors and yep, the wind is another major factor - as the OP experienced.
2018-5-15
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A CW
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3-D Posted at 2018-5-15 07:26
TRUTH.  She is probably the only one that would be able to get me to do that.

I was fine knowing that GPS wouldn't be great. I knew that it would be only line of sight, and i was "only going out to do a POI, then back in." I didn't think about the fact that the compass would be affected.  Lesson learned.  Lucky for me it wasn't a very expensive lesson.

That is lucky LOL. 6MPH wind at ground level on an open beach and the MA can handle winds at 25MPH quite easily... Have you checked your flight records. The behaviour of the drone seems like it went into ATTI mode unless the gust hit 40+MPH which would be very extreme at just that altitude even with a backdraft.
2018-5-15
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hallmark007
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Unless wind was greater than 30/35 mph it shouldn’t have set off like that. It is quite common when flying from inside for gps to be a problem which could have been a problem, it’s great that you posted and will be a warning to others, thanks for that, but to see what actually happened could you upload your log.

Just click on link below and follow instructions come back here and post your link.

http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
2018-5-15
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HedgeTrimmer
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 10:27
That is lucky LOL. 6MPH wind at ground level on an open beach and the MA can handle winds at 25MPH quite easily... Have you checked your flight records. The behaviour of the drone seems like it went into ATTI mode unless the gust hit 40+MPH which would be very extreme at just that altitude even with a backdraft.

Wind that is steady, same direction and speed are one thing for Mavics to fly in.

Wind that is blowing around buildings, whereby air can be going upwards, downwards, left, right, inwards, outwards, and/or swirling is a condition most drones are going to have problems with.

At very least, you want prop guards on a drone should you decide to try flying through open sliding door from still air in to unknown wind conditions.
2018-5-15
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hallmark007
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 10:27
That is lucky LOL. 6MPH wind at ground level on an open beach and the MA can handle winds at 25MPH quite easily... Have you checked your flight records. The behaviour of the drone seems like it went into ATTI mode unless the gust hit 40+MPH which would be very extreme at just that altitude even with a backdraft.

I agree coming from indoors you will almost certainly have weak gps or none if your drone is in Atti or opti mode, just last week I had MavAir up in 45kph winds and although aircraft was wobbling it never moved position and still managed to take very steady shots, large buildings will also have a negative effect on gaining gps quick enough for stable flight, be interesting to see flight log.
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A CW
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-5-15 11:29
Wind that is steady, same direction and speed are one thing for Mavics to fly in.

Wind that is blowing around buildings, whereby air can be going upwards, downwards, left, right, inwards, outwards, and/or swirling is a condition most drones are going to have problems with.

Prop guards exacerbate flight performance in windy conditions - best to put them on and keep the drone indoors or take them off and take off outdoors in an open area. Change in wind direction will not effect the stability - only extreme wind speed but I suspect, as others do, that this is actually caused by GPS.
2018-5-15
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A CW
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hallmark007 Posted at 2018-5-15 10:45
Unless wind was greater than 30/35 mph it shouldn’t have set off like that. It is quite common when flying from inside for gps to be a problem which could have been a problem, it’s great that you posted and will be a warning to others, thanks for that, but to see what actually happened could you upload your log.

Just click on link below and follow instructions come back here and post your link.

Exactly what I thought mate - prob ATTI mode - would be good to see the flight log.
2018-5-15
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Hurley1718
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Thanks for the advice and your story. Glad it all turned out ok and I'm sure that everyone who has read this will have this story saved in the back of their mind for the time they look out a large sliding glass door at a hotel room and think "I'm just gonna fly this right through that door".

Thanks.
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HedgeTrimmer
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 10:21
The thing is that the environment from indoors to outdoors can change the deviations in compass and GPS instantly which is why it is never recommended to fly from indoors to outdoors and yep, the wind is another major factor - as the OP experienced.

The thing is that the environment from indoors to outdoors can change the deviations in compass and GPS instantly

It can, or may not.  

Depends upon what walls and roof of indoors (building) are made from.  Few days back, I was trying to find a way to limit signal strength from GPS satellites, while not effecting drone's compass.  

Ended up raising a double wide garage door, made of aluminum, and positioning drone under raised door.  The GPS satellite signals were weakened by aluinum door, but MPP still got enough GPS signal to get a Good 2 Go (Green) with 2 of Bars next to GO-4 satellite symbol.  The compass was not effected, being walls are cement board.  The drone's compass had correct direction.  

I was able to lift drone off and fly it towards garage opening without problems.  That is until drone started getting buffeted by air that was gusting / swirling near threshold of garage door.  At that point, I backed drone off and landed it inside garage.  No more Sat testing for that day.

I have since walked in and out of same garage with iPhone running a Tesla field strength metering App.  I only observed minor deviations from outside to inside open area of garage.  Which fits with drone's compass not being effected.

I did verify Tesla App was working by walking up to a car parked on far side of garage.  App showed both lowering of field strength as a I approached car starting at about 1-1/2 feet, and when I got iPhone almost touching car and ran it towards electric mirror, the field strength rose well above outside readings.  
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 11:40
Exactly what I thought mate - prob ATTI mode - would be good to see the flight log.

Yes, we do need to see flight log.
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A CW
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-5-15 11:52
The thing is that the environment from indoors to outdoors can change the deviations in compass and GPS instantly

It can, or may not.  

That's all very well but it is highly doubtful that the wind alone threw the Mavic Air into a window only 16 stories up outside a hotel room with 6MPH winds at ground level in an open area. The drone can easily withstand wind speeds of 25MPH with a hovering deviation of no more than 0.5m. To be uncontrollably thrown back into the building like that and beyond the pilots control with a strong GPS lock and compass positioning the wind would have to be at least 40-50MPH. I have never known wind speeds increase nearly ten times 50' above the ground compared to ground level winds. GPS and/or compass malfunction is clearly the most plausible explanation here.
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HedgeTrimmer
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 11:38
Prop guards exacerbate flight performance in windy conditions - best to put them on and keep the drone indoors or take them off and take off outdoors in an open area. Change in wind direction will not effect the stability - only extreme wind speed but I suspect, as others do, that this is actually caused by GPS.

Prop guards exacerbate flight performance in windy conditions
Change in wind direction will not effect the stability


Different winds that what I have experienced.  Believe part of is flying closer to ground - where there are trees, ridges, gullies that disturb air.  Versus flying at 100-feet up where air is not disturb, yet blowing faster.

I have not had problems flying with Prop guards inside or outside (in mild winds).  
Whereas, when I messed with Prop cages inside the drone had to fight to raise and lower itself.  Have since put Prop cages and special props away.
2018-5-15
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A CW
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-5-15 12:02
Prop guards exacerbate flight performance in windy conditions
Change in wind direction will not effect the stability

Different winds that what I have experienced

And what type of wind do you have? Helium.
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HedgeTrimmer
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 12:01
That's all very well but it is highly doubtful that the wind alone threw the Mavic Air into a window only 16 stories up outside a hotel room with 6MPH winds at ground level in an open area. The drone can easily withstand wind speeds of 25MPH with a hovering deviation of no more than 0.5m. To be uncontrollably thrown back into the building like that and beyond the pilots control with a strong GPS lock and compass positioning the wind would have to be at least 40-50MPH. I have never known wind speeds increase nearly ten times 50' above the ground compared to ground level winds. GPS and/or compass malfunction is clearly the most plausible explanation here.

This crash may have absolutely nothing to do with wind.

However, wind around buildings is serious enough issue that there is dedicated design programs (software) for architects and engineers to use to design their buildings.  Along with performing wind tunnel tests on not only on their proposed design, but with a model of design placed near models of buildings at build site.  

Wind speed measurements from real world:
In Toronto, the broadcaster Global News measured gusts of between 30kmph (18.6mph) and 45kmph (28mph) at one corner of the 55-storey Four Seasons Hotel. It detected wind speeds of just 5kmph (3.1mph) slightly north of the building.
2018-5-15
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3-D Posted at 2018-5-15 07:26
TRUTH.  She is probably the only one that would be able to get me to do that.

I was fine knowing that GPS wouldn't be great. I knew that it would be only line of sight, and i was "only going out to do a POI, then back in." I didn't think about the fact that the compass would be affected.  Lesson learned.  Lucky for me it wasn't a very expensive lesson.

Glad there was no honeymooners on that room!!!
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A CW
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-5-15 12:18
This crash may have absolutely nothing to do with wind.

However, wind around buildings is serious enough issue that there is dedicated design programs (software) for architects and engineers to use to design their buildings.  Along with performing wind tunnel tests on not only on their proposed design, but with a model of design placed near models of buildings at build site.  

Yeah, I think the OP has enough information to work with now. ;-)
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HedgeTrimmer
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-15 12:05
Different winds that what I have experienced

And what type of wind do you have? Helium.

Wind made up of '78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide', which can change in speed from nearly nothing to 15-mph, along with changing direction - sometimes within a few minutes.  All it takes to get wind to gust and change is get out boomless sprayer for pesticides or herbicides.

Guessing you have constant winds made up of 59% nitrogen, 21% hydrogen, 9% carbon dioxide, 7% methane, 4% oxygen, and 1% hydrogen sulfide?  
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A CW
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-5-15 12:29
Wind made up of '78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide', which can change in speed from nearly nothing to 15-mph, along with changing direction - sometimes within a few minutes.  All it takes to get wind to gust and change is get out boomless sprayer for pesticides or herbicides.

Guessing you have constant winds made up of 59% nitrogen, 21% hydrogen, 9% carbon dioxide, 7% methane, 4% oxygen, and 1% hydrogen sulfide?

Yeah cool. Anyway, I'm kind of done on this thread now so take care.
2018-5-15
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umadbrv
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Thank for the advice, hopefully you won't run in to something like this never again
2018-5-15
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sky6105
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Great advice just not for beginners but for seasoned pilots also.
2018-5-15
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