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How to Fly Safely Over Water
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12682 61 2019-2-20
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DJI Panda
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- By DJI Support
  
  
The prospect of flying over water can be a scary one for most drone pilots. Water environments are often filled with potential hazards such as boats, waves, high winds, and even birds. Although DJI does not encourage flying over water, professional aerial photographers and videographers will sometimes have to do precisely that. Therefore, this article offers constructive advice on what you can do before and during your over-water flight to ensure safety.
  
*Beginner pilots should refrain from flying over water at any time.
  
  
Disable Vision Positioning System (VPS)
  
All DJI drones come equipped with VPS, a technology that maps the surface below to help position the drone. When flying over water, however, light reflecting off of the surface can cause issues with this technology. Because of this, it’s best to maintain a height of at least two meters above the water. If you have to fly below this height, we recommend you turn off the VPS to avoid any unstable actions by the drone. The GIF below shows you how:
  
  
  
Plan Your Shot
  
Flying over water is always risky, but careful planning can help you avoid danger. Planning a shoot should include finding the right location, visualizing your ideal image/video, and doing a few test shots on land to make sure the angle is right. Going through these steps can help to ensure a smoothly-executed shot.
  
  
Enable Maximum Flight Distance
  
Although it can be tempting to fly long distances over water, we recommend that you always operate your drone within line of sight. If you’re planning a shot that requires flying long distances, make sure you set the maximum flight distance in the DJI GO 4 app. You can activate this function by entering the main controller settings and selecting “Enable Max Distance.” Input your new max distance, but make sure you keep it within range of your remote controller’s capabilities.
  
  
Practice
  
For obvious reasons, we recommend that you practice your takeoff, flying, and landing skills on land first before heading out over water. Mastering these skills will result in better control, increased confidence, and an overall safer flight in any location.
  
  
When flying over water, there are often two options: starting from land or starting from a boat. Takeoff from land is no different from a regular land flight. When starting from a boat, however, we recommend you takeoff while the boat is idle as it will be more stable and safe. Takeoff from a moving boat is possible at slow speeds but is not recommended.
  
  
Update Your Home Point Manually
  
When flying over land, the home point is usually where the aircraft took off from. Under ideal conditions, the aircraft will use its compass and GPS to automatically record a home point, which can be viewed in the DJI GO 4 app (see below). To learn more about using the Return to Home feature, please click here.

2.png
  
  
Using the original home point from a boat can be rather tricky as boats will often drift or move during flight. Because of this, it may be necessary to re-set your home point. There are two ways to do this using the DJI GO 4 app: first, swipe left on the main screen, and press “Home Point: Me,” second, open the general settings by pressing the three dots on the upper right corner, go to “Main Controller Settings,” and press “Home Point: Me” (the button with a person and home point below).
  
3.jpg
  
  
Avoid Obstacles
  
Many obstacles can endanger your journey over water, let’s take a look at some of the ones you need to watch out for the most:
  
  
Objects that Interfere with Compass or GPS Signal
  
Strong compass and GPS signals are essential when operating a drone. Make sure you avoid any objects or structures that have the potential to interfere with your signal. These include large objects like lighthouses and container ships, or any device that uses antennas, magnets, or Wi-Fi.
  
  
Natural Objects
  
When flying in areas near water, be sure to avoid trees, rocks, or any other natural structures nearby. Also (believe it or not) pay close attention to birds, as seagulls in particular are known to exhibit aggressive behavior towards drones.
  
4.jpg
  
  
Waves
  
Waves can be dangerous when flying too close to the water’s surface, requiring pilots to react fast or risk losing their drone. Make sure you stay far enough above the surface to avoid this issue entirely.
  
  
Boats
  
Boats of all sizes can be potentially hazardous for drones. Don’t fly too close to any boat, and as an added precaution, set your return-to-home height higher any time you are flying near a boat (especially a cruise ship or container ship).
  
  
Make sure you stay alert to these and other obstacles during your flight over water. If you notice any potential hazards it is always recommended you keep your drone on land and wait for a safer time to fly.
  
  
Use Your Intelligent Flight Mode – Course Lock
  
Intelligent flight modes allow you to create professional-level aerial footage with just a tap. One of the most useful modes for over-water flight is Course Lock, which lets users pre-set a flight path. The drone can then fly automatically, giving users more freedom to focus on getting incredible shots.
  
5.gif
  
  
Be Aware of Wind Speed – It Will Affect Battery Level
  
As drone pilots know well, strong winds can result in aircraft instability during flight. Strong winds can also cause your battery levels to drop quickly. Unfortunately, wind is hard to avoid, and the higher up you go, the stronger it often gets. If you notice strong winds on the ground, it’s safe to assume there are even stronger winds in the air and you may want to consider delaying your flight.
  
  
This tutorial will teach you how to measure the wind speed using the DJI GO 4 app:
  
  
  
In conclusion, flying over water is dangerous, and even an instant of carelessness can result in a damaged or lost drone. As a pilot, always pay attention to your surroundings and focus on safely controlling your drone. Follow these tips and your chances of having a fun, safe, and dry flight will be greatly increased.
  
The content origins from DJI BUYINGGUIDES

2019-2-20
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AirButterflyDrone
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great tips

thanks DJI Panda for your sharing

I posted a my thread about fly over water more than 1 year ago ... but obviously , this your is much more better

but with your permit I would like to give my TIPS about it
for me , another important TIP, that I learned in " take off from a boat" event  is the
correct programming of the return to home.

What happens when you lose the radio signal?
I consider very important , like you said in your tips ,  the movement factor, this coming from a small drift , around a moring buoy or just from a normal transit ... but for sure , is very provably , to change position of the boat during the fly time
1st) so , I usually Check the RTH on my device in the DJI GO App and I change my RTH like that.
IMG_3795.JPG

IMG_3796.JPG

in this way , I think I have more chance to resume my beloved drone,
becouse he will wait for me until I will move the boat under him.
Provably the radio link will resume and everything will get to normal.
but above all, my drone, in case of problems will not return to home alone and maybe to will end up in the sea..

2nd) TIP - 20M Radius
let's not forget, the 20 meters radius, at least that we do not take off from an aircraft carrier ...

133705z1zfjfc7v3tqu11r.jpg

I usually take off from a very small boat,
so I have to keep in mind,
that the drone  consider 20m radius , like home point ,
and so is better do not activate any landing funtions in this 20m Radius, even RTH to avoid to land and fall in the water

3rd) when take off from a boat, like you said the skill  are even more important,
so in my opinion, it is better to land with 30% minimum battery charged...

this gave me more confident during the flight and more awareness of being able to return my drone in the boat, even with a slight movement....

set the low battery warning at 40% to be notified and the critically low battery warning to the minimum possible.
in this way I had enough time between the warning and the critically if something went wrong

luckily it never happened a lost signal ...
even when many boat radios were working , radar and others things the signal of the drone was always strong.
but prevention is better

4th) the last Tip to get better footage and picturs
looks top down , one time a friend of my said .
This is more important with video than stills, but can also simplify your still editing process.
When you point your camera straight down at the water, it often struggles to find the proper white balance and can bounce back and forth between colors.
By default, I usually leave my white balance setting on daylight and adjust if necessary
When pointing straight down on the water, highlights will almost always blow out when auto exposure is turned on.
I usually underexpose my footage between 2/3rds and a full stop to compensate and maintain nice highlights.
Another trick is to point your camera at the horizon, with the ocean taking up the lower 2/3rds of the screen,
then press the exposure lock button before moving your camera to the straight down position

DJI_0915.jpeg


DJI_04333.jpeg

3 2.jpg

the last but at same important level
a corret use of a ND Polarised Filters
this enable you to get the right shutter speed for non-flickering shots. (On very sunny days you can need up to ND32 )
and  they reduce the glare/reflection off of  water  ...

I hope this will be usefoul

Alex
www.airbutterflydrone.com/english

https://www.youtube.com/c/AirButterflyDrone

https://www.skypixel.com/users/carboni-vs











2019-2-21
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P3KoYoT
First Officer
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Poland
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Few more things:
- if you are attempt to fly close to the waterfalls you need to be carefull due to lots of humidity and heavy load of water.
- if you want to start your dron from the bridge, you can get problem with correct compass calibration due to interferences,
- when you fly low and away from the sight, remember that reflection in water can be tricky and you have be very carefully, distance between A/C and its reflection is bigger then distance of A/C from water,
2019-2-21
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Flyingcougar
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Good tutorial Panda, thanks!

Would I be correct in assuming that one would want to disable the VPS if flying over snow as well?
2019-2-21
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BigAbe
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Flyingcougar Posted at 2-21 07:28
Good tutorial Panda, thanks!

Would I be correct in assuming that one would want to disable the VPS if flying over snow as well?

Personally i haven't had any problems flying in the snow with my mavic air. Which is probably because the snow doesn't reflect that much, it is more considered bright because of it's colours. The problem with flying over water is that it causes a different reflection because of acting as a weird mirror, this way the sensors may get confused. Which will probably result in losing the drone, or having a near death experience.
2019-2-21
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GoldenSun
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Great article, everyone should read this!
2019-2-21
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RGMGFitness
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United States
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Great tutorial and information...I think this will benefit a lot of folks (hopefully they see it).  I think many are confused about how the Atitude Inicator actually works and can help with in flight conditions....great stuff!  
2019-2-21
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Flyingcougar
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AirButterflyDrone Posted at 2-21 10:55
great tips

thanks DJI Panda for your sharing

Also great tips Alex, thanks!
2019-2-21
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Flyingcougar
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BigAbe Posted at 2-21 09:33
Personally i haven't had any problems flying in the snow with my mavic air. Which is probably because the snow doesn't reflect that much, it is more considered bright because of it's colours. The problem with flying over water is that it causes a different reflection because of acting as a weird mirror, this way the sensors may get confused. Which will probably result in losing the drone, or having a near death experience.

Thank you BigAbe for the clarification!
2019-2-21
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Wearion
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Yesterday I lost my DJI in water (( very upset
2019-2-21
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Reggy777
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Water is #1 danger for copters
2019-2-21
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AirButterflyDrone
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Flyingcougar Posted at 2-21 11:56
Also great tips Alex, thanks!

It's my pleasure
I'm happy you liked it
2019-2-21
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BigAbe
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AirButterflyDrone Posted at 2-21 10:55
great tips

thanks DJI Panda for your sharing

yes amazing tips!
2019-2-21
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snowbird pilot
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thank you!!
2019-2-21
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DJI Panda
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P3KoYoT Posted at 2-21 03:27
Few more things:
- if you are attempt to fly close to the waterfalls you need to be carefull due to lots of humidity and heavy load of water.
- if you want to start your dron from the bridge, you can get problem with correct compass calibration due to interferences,

Thanks for your addition.
2019-2-21
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DJI Panda
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AirButterflyDrone Posted at 2-21 10:55
great tips

thanks DJI Panda for your sharing

Great tips too! Thanks for it!!
2019-2-21
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DJI Panda
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RGMGFitness Posted at 2-21 10:50
Great tutorial and information...I think this will benefit a lot of folks (hopefully they see it).  I think many are confused about how the Atitude Inicator actually works and can help with in flight conditions....great stuff!

Thanks
2019-2-21
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DJI Thor
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Wearion Posted at 2-21 12:07
Yesterday I lost my DJI in water (( very upset

Wearion, we feel sorry to hear your loss, that must be frustrating. May we know which drone are you flying and when did you purchase it? We suggest that you contact the support at http://www.dji.com/support to start a ticket, if there is a doubt about the accident, data analysis will be applied as long as the drone is within the warranty period. We'll provide you with a corresponding solution according to the analysis result.
2019-2-21
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goforheart
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thank you so much
2019-2-21
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AirButterflyDrone
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DJI Panda Posted at 2-21 18:29
Great tips too! Thanks for it!!

hey DJI Panda
I am very happy and honored that you liked these
I hope these will be really useful to everyone that like to fly over water
maybe ... maybe ..would also be useful to talking about the DJI CARE Refresh program,
this will replace the DRONE if an accident happens, even if it is damaged by water ... what do you think?
for all users this is the link to take a look:https://store.dji.com/shop/service

Alex


airbutterflydrone.com/english

https://www.youtube.com/c/AirButterflyDrone

www.skypixel.com/AirButterflyDrone.com




2019-2-22
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Lysak2003
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Is it allowed on all types of DJI drones to turn off VPS?
2019-2-22
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Lysak2003
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AirButterflyDrone Posted at 2-21 10:55
great tips

thanks DJI Panda for your sharing
[Image]

Hello! If you set shutter speed and ISO manually, it means exposure is already locked, isn't it?
2019-2-22
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P3KoYoT
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Lysak2003 Posted at 2-22 02:14
Is it allowed on all types of DJI drones to turn off VPS?

VPS it is Visual Positioning System - andthats not true that all DJI Drones have it.
2019-2-22
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Hartyaj
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Thank you for such an informative tutorial, much appreciated.
2019-2-22
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Lysak2003
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P3KoYoT Posted at 2-22 03:09
VPS it is Visual Positioning System - andthats not true that all DJI Drones have it.

We have VPS on DJI Spark, but I don't think it's possible to turn it off.
2019-2-22
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AirButterflyDrone
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Lysak2003 Posted at 2-22 02:20
Hello! If you set shutter speed and ISO manually, it means exposure is already locked, isn't it?

hey, Lysak2003

DJI Spark very provably has settings with fewer options than a Mavic 2 Pro (Hasselblad Camera) or even better an Inspire 2 ...

I consider the Spark a very good (Consumer) drone from all points of view ...
I'm using one from  a long time , with the Portable Charging Station too
in many situations he was very useful ... to have it , has made the difference.
however, it remains a drone with the 2-axis gimbal and 1080hd camera.
(the panoramic photographs are WONDERFUL the videos excellent, it is very reliable and robust and small enough)

ps. yes, many cameras have this limit, on three one is locked and two can be set manually
2019-2-22
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akozc
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Thanks DJIpanda you are true guru  of droning I specially thanks for the advise on how to check wind speed video a kind of life saver to me. ++A from me.
2019-2-22
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PWidmayer
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Great tutorial. I have several flights I would like to take over lakes and rivers. I will take all of that great information into consideration.
2019-2-22
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Sayhelloforme
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Good information here thanks.
2019-2-22
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Tobe2d
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Great tips!
2019-2-23
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DJI Panda
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AirButterflyDrone Posted at 2-22 00:11
hey DJI Panda
I am very happy and honored that you liked these
I hope these will be really useful to everyone that like to fly over water

Nice idea, thanks Alex!
2019-2-24
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Keego63
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Australia
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Thx for sharing these great tips
2019-2-24
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apkwebs
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Great & it is very clear instruction, thanks for sharing
2019-2-25
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aidenjames
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Thanks for sharing;. . . . . . . . .
2019-2-25
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jacksonnai
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Very nice information!
2019-2-27
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Luca Rubino
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"Use Your Intelligent Flight Mode – Course Lock"

But you removed it from the new Mavic 2 series! Isn't it?

It was a great features when I had the Phantom 4 ADV

I miss it!
2019-2-27
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DJI Panda
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apkwebs Posted at 2-25 01:54
Great & it is very clear instruction, thanks for sharing

Glad you like it.
2019-2-28
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DJI Panda
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Keego63 Posted at 2-24 23:48
Thx for sharing these great tips

2019-2-28
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ReyCoen7
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Kenya
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This is a great tutorial for beginner pilots like me. I just acquired a [url]DJI Mavic Pro and am loving it. I had to practice on dry land first but now I think am ready for the seas. Yala!
2019-3-2
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PWidmayer
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Flying over water is scary but the video and photos you get are out of this world good!
2019-3-10
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