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Noob - How to Fly From a Boat ?
2259 11 2019-1-29
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o2manyfish
lvl.2
Flight distance : 43471 ft
United States
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Hi Guys,

Okay - Lots of laughter and taunts are probably going to be thrown at me, and I'm okay with it. I was a little over confident. I'm  a new drone user and have sucessfully flown about 5 times. And those were pretty much up and over the house. I spent a battery pack practicing manual landing on a very small box.

This weekend we went out whale watching and I was excited to try to get some aerial footage of the whales.

I have a Mavic Air Pro - I set it up and launched it off the sunpad on the front of the boat. At the time of launch there was almost no wind. I set the drone to auto track and hilighted myself on the bow of the boat. The app showed it was 'tracking' but then the boat just kept sliding out of the screen. After about 5 mins of trying some different things I started to get a little nervous because things weren't going as easy as I had expected /hoped/ dreamed it would.

I was about to hit return to home.... And then went nope -- Home is a mile behind us now and pretty darn wet.

So I manually brought the Drone back to the bow of the boat. But now there was a breeze and the boat was rocking back and forth.

In the past when I have landed the drone when within a couple  feet of the ground it takes over and lands. But this time it didn't and I was trying to bring it down on a rolling deck.

When all was said and done I landed safely. The drone didn't get wet. I didn't crash into the boat, and I didn't tear up the sunpad on the bow. So all ended well.

So my question is ----

For those with lots more experience -- What modes and features would you use to Launch from a moving boat, follow the moving boat, follow the moving whale and then come back to the boat and land.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with me.

Dave B


2019-1-29
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hallmark007
Captain
Flight distance : 5942287 ft
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Ireland
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Your flying a MavAir, first try to hand launch and hand catch, it’s best to do this with another person, 2nd set loss of signal to hover if you lose signal you don’t want your craft landing or RTH , 3rd turn off OA and VPs sensors there is very little you can crash into at sea or on a lake, this will make it much easier to pluck out of the sky.
Taking off on the bow or floor of a boat you run the risk of magnetic interference because of all the possible dangers boats carry for compass , I have seen other cases people taking off and the drone immediately flips over into the water, boat people will understand the process of spotting so let others spot as well as you so as not to lose orientation.
2019-1-29
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DJI Stephen
Super Moderator

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Hello and good day. Welcome to DJI Forum Dave. Thank you for sharing this information and your experience with us.  We are  not recommending you to fly your drones above the sea especially if it's on low altitude over the water surface, I'm afraid that your aircraft will recognize the first location when the aircraft took off and it greatly reduces your emergency landing area. The DJI Mavic Air might land to in the sea since the boat is moving. Have a safe and happy flying always.

2019-1-29
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QuadFunAus
Second Officer
Flight distance : 38832 ft
Australia
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My two cents worth of advice:  1. As hallmark007 suggests, practise hand launch and catch, as this is essential on a small boat.  2. Loss of signal set to hover is also essential.  3. If the boat has sails or other obstacles that may pose a threat I would leave obstacle avoidance on, especially considering you are a new pilot.  I would rather it be a little more difficult to hand catch with OA on than to turn it off and risk hitting something or someone in the boat causing injury or damage, plus if it hits that salt water your drone is fried. 4.  check you local laws when it comes to flying near marine mammals such as whales, here in Aus it's up to a $110,000 fine if you fly within 300 metres of marine mammals.   Good luck and happy flying!  
2019-1-29
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AlphaFlightNW
First Officer
Flight distance : 784265 ft
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United States
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Hand catch and launching is probably your best bet, and they do make guards to prevent chopping of the fingers. As far as following watercraft and whales... I would check to make sure that you can in fact follow whales as I have heard that this might be in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, though I do not personally know the full scope of what "disturbing" the animal means. As far as following these things, I would do it manually, as activetrack can be extremely finicky with things like boats, objects in the sun, "fast" objects, etc.
2019-1-29
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AlphaFlightNW
First Officer
Flight distance : 784265 ft
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QuadFunAus Posted at 1-29 13:57
My two cents worth of advice:  1. As hallmark007 suggests, practise hand launch and catch, as this is essential on a small boat.  2. Loss of signal set to hover is also essential.  3. If the boat has sails or other obstacles that may pose a threat I would leave obstacle avoidance on, especially considering you are a new pilot.  I would rather it be a little more difficult to hand catch with OA on than to turn it off and risk hitting something or someone in the boat causing injury or damage, plus if it hits that salt water your drone is fried. 4.  check you local laws when it comes to flying near marine mammals such as whales, here in Aus it's up to a $110,000 fine if you fly within 300 metres of marine mammals.   Good luck and happy flying!

Bloody hell thats a high fine! Thanks for that advice, I just checked it and this is the guidance of NOAA over here in the states: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/insight/viewing-marine-life
2019-1-29
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QuadFunAus
Second Officer
Flight distance : 38832 ft
Australia
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AlphaFlightNW Posted at 1-29 14:43
Bloody hell thats a high fine! Thanks for that advice, I just checked it and this is the guidance of NOAA over here in the states: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/insight/viewing-marine-life

Yes, when you think 300m is around 3 football fields away, it's pretty ridiculous IMHO.
So you are required to "Maintain a 1,000-foot minimum altitude", that is higher than most countries allow you to fly, with the norm being 400 feet.  You would need a very good telephoto lens at that hight!
It would seem that many countries laws, when it comes to drones, are overkill.  The responsible drone pilots will miss out by following the over-the-top laws, while the irresponsible ones will continue to disregard regulations spoiling it for the rest.
I think having more reasonable laws which allow drone pilots to enjoy and record nature in a way only drones can, while having hefty fines for those who still disregard the laws is a more sensible approach.
Happy flying
2019-1-30
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cutis
Captain
Flight distance : 1695351 ft
United States
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the dji documentation specifies launch and touchdown lands be administered from appropriate platform and inside appropriate geofence containment if any.
to risk otherwise is the user's discretion questing flight objective(s) but incurs potential ills (safety of self, others, properties, whales?)
consider dji promotes prudence? they've founded and written us very informative knowledge.
piloting skills and experienced hours of flying earns confidence however the dji documentation still overrides as it has been proofed sound.
it's very possible the novel sensationality of dji's flight programmed exhibits is enticing novice venture risks without consequential (predictive) awareness?
i ask myself before flying what's the risks here? it does spark alertness to surrounds esp meteorology
2019-1-30
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HH1
First Officer
Flight distance : 12421 ft
United States
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Well, you had an interesting adventure.  Practicing landing/take-off from a small box sounds fun, I do the same on the lid of a large trash can, but I don't think that I am ready to fly mine from a boat  You have certainly gotten some good folks giving you advice, hope it helps.
2019-1-30
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Lucas775
Captain
Flight distance : 12606470 ft
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United States
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Hand launching/landing is probably the best.
2019-1-30
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Skeeter Honey
Second Officer
Flight distance : 906995 ft
United States
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How to fly from and to a boat?

Don't.
2019-1-30
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Boffin
First Officer
Australia
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I met two young ladies in the local pub, they were quite large and spoke with a strange accent.

So I asked the young ladies where do you come from, is it Scotland?

So they replied ' It's Wales you idiot'

Then I said "So where do you two whales come from?"

Don't remember much after that
2019-1-30
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