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Flying near wind turbines - NOT RECOMMENDED
2045 24 2019-7-21
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GreenMan8112
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Flight distance : 15292 ft
Canada
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If anyone was wondering (because I certainly was) if a wind turbine will interfere with drone performance, I can confirm that it does, and it did today.



I did this against my better judgement, and as you can see after about 400 yards of flight the Spark simply dropped into the field.  There were numerous warnings shortly before about GPS and remote connectivity issues, so whatever interference these turbines are putting out is strong enough to seriously affect both the drone itself and the connectivity between the drone, remote and smartphone.  I've heard stories of the EMI from these turbines giving people headaches, disturbing livestock and other things, but that's another topic for another day...

I was EXTREMELY fortunate to be able to find the spark in this vast field.  I had to go by line of sight from the launch point and hope I came across it (my eyes were on my smartphone screen when it dropped), but as you can see the leaves on these plants are quite dense and conceal anything below them.  Not to mention I was basically trespassing on farmers property without consent.  The Spark was still powered on and was broadcasting video, and I was able to see on the map where it was located, so I wanted to find it before the battery died.  On my first search I came back empty-handed and was about to accept defeat.  I tried a few times to launch the drone from where it was, but the props were being obstructed from the surrounding plants.  Then I got the idea to walk back to the approximate place where it fell and attempt a launch again in hopes that I would hear it.  The problem with that was as soon as I started walking towards the wind turbine, the interference would cause me to lose connectivity.  So I had my wife attempt a launch from the side of the road while I stood in the field and listened.  I was pretty relieved when I heard the props spin up, and as it turns out I walked within about 15 feet of where the drone fell.  Had it landed upside-down, or had I been alone the Spark would've been a goner for sure.  

In retrospect, while I had tried to use the "find my drone" function in DJi Go 4, I didn't realize that there was an option to have the drone emit a beeping sound.  Seeing an arrow in the middle of a field on a map wasn't exactly helpful, but now that I know you can tap on the arrow and enable the audible alarm I have a little more peace of mind.  Something for DJi to consider - If there's a way to show your position relative to the drone's location on the map using the phone's GPS, that would be extremel helpful in situations like this.  Then it's just a matter of bringing the two arrows together.  
*UPDATE*
I was just doing some research on the DJi find my drone feature, and apparently it is supposed to show the remote location relative to the drone itself.  It's possible the GPS on my phone was switched off, or perhaps there was too much interference from the turbine.  Whatever the case, I can see this being extremely useful!


2019-7-21
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S-e-ven
Captain
Flight distance : 5649236 ft
Thailand
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Short question: how were your antennas positioned for this "just over the ground flight"?

And to the find my drone (older version of Go4 experience): on the last 5 or 10 meters, there it lays under the timestamp, if I recall it right. you can't really get to it, so the sound will help.
But you can install google earth on your phone, upload the flight record to one of the flight record website, convert the log to a earth readable file (I did it once, would have to look what I did), and will habe all the flightpath, plus your location to the drone / last recorded point , in there
edit: And to me, that looks a bit like there was Jammer in use: No signal, no GPS, landing
2019-7-21
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Wolferl
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Flight distance : 22615 ft
Austria
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Hi Greenman,

Wind turbines are usually built on a sturdy mast made of steel tubes. Steel is basically iron, and a large mass like this heavily disturbs the magnetic field around it.
Additionally, there is a big generator in the top, so there's an active magnetic field too.

Cheers,
Wolferl
2019-7-21
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RJB1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 32031 ft

Australia
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Well clearly it can be done.



Glad you found yours. Ive wanted to do this on a nearby turbine farm to me, but considering all the other problems I'm having with my Spark maybe not such a good idea to add this to it too! I agree on the sound beep thing. It's bad enough you are freaking out trying to locate it, without having to search like crazy for how to make it beep. When mine went down I knew there was such a feature, but couldnt for the life of me remember how to activate it. I searched for ages in long grass when my drone was not more than 10 ft away but couldnt find it for 20 mins. All while my partner sat on her ass in the car thinking I was off having a good time!
2019-7-22
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CasualDronePilot
First Officer
Flight distance : 146135 ft
Sweden
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Ouch! Good thing you found it. Looks like you didn't even get close the the wind turbine. Must be a very strong magnetic field. Kind of scary.
2019-7-22
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JJB*
Captain
Flight distance : 2790502 ft
Netherlands
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HIya,

Interesting, i have flown often near windmills . Never had any problem.

Your distance out to the mill when 'landing' was still far away from it.

Would be nice to see this flightlog, see what really happend.

cheers
JJB
2019-7-22
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DJI Stephen
Super Moderator

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Hello and good day GreenMan8112. Thank you for reaching out and for sharing your experience flying near wind turbines. Just a friendly reminder that we do not recommend our customers to fly their drone in a hazardous environment or strong wind to avoid the incident to the drone. Thank you for understanding. Have a safe and happy flying always.
2019-7-22
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GreenMan8112
lvl.2
Flight distance : 15292 ft
Canada
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S-e-ven Posted at 7-21 19:27
Short question: how were your antennas positioned for this "just over the ground flight"?

And to the find my drone (older version of Go4 experience): on the last 5 or 10 meters, there it lays under the timestamp, if I recall it right. you can't really get to it, so the sound will help.

I had the antennas positioned like normal, at about a 45 degree angle upwards...  I may look into the flight log just to see what happened exactly.  It looks like other people have flown their drones around wind turbines with no problems whatsoever, so maybe something else was going on.
2019-7-22
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GreenMan8112
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Canada
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RJB1 Posted at 7-22 00:07
Well clearly it can be done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kqEoScbTQ8

Yeah, see now I'm not so sure my problem was related to the turbine...  In any case, if I try it again I'll do it in a location where there's better access to the turbine and less foliage to lose the Spark in.  Some of these turbines apparently have devices that ward away birds and bats somehow, but who knows what method they use.  I would think audible, but what do I know.

Nice footage, by the way!  That's exactly what I was hoping to capture before my Spark dove into the soybean field.
2019-7-22
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GreenMan8112
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Flight distance : 15292 ft
Canada
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JJB* Posted at 7-22 00:15
HIya,

Interesting, i have flown often near windmills . Never had any problem.

Yeah I think I will look at the flight log to see what happened.  I've heard many stories now of people flying drones near these turbine with no problems.
2019-7-22
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GreenMan8112
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Flight distance : 15292 ft
Canada
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DJI Stephen Posted at 7-22 08:12
Hello and good day GreenMan8112. Thank you for reaching out and for sharing your experience flying near wind turbines. Just a friendly reminder that we do not recommend our customers to fly their drone in a hazardous environment or strong wind to avoid the incident to the drone. Thank you for understanding. Have a safe and happy flying always.

Thanks, Stephen.  

I told my wife I was going to try to fly it right through the turbine blades.  Didn't even make it to the base of the tower, lol.  Oh well.
2019-7-22
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AntDX316
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Flight distance : 2982907 ft
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United States
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Please upload the flight logs so we can all see the blackbox telemetry.

Flying through the warnings is pretty crazy especially when it's GPS warnings and controller connectivity issues when you are flying away from the Home Point.

If you want to fly far you need a Mavic 2.  It's insane reliable.

I crashed my flying wing in a field w/ a collision of another RC aircraft that stayed in the air.  It took forever to find it as it turned everything into camoflouge.
2019-7-22
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pmshop
Captain
Flight distance : 3730154 ft
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United States
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And in the USA, it should not be done because they are power generators and classified as critical infrastructure.
Myst not fly over or closer than 400ft.
2019-7-23
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Frunobulax
lvl.4
Flight distance : 12936 ft
United States
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Find my drone is on the first page in DJI GO4 where you click go fly. Click the hamburger at the top, I have been looking into soon will practice finding my drone. Will fly it somewhere then walk a distance away. In the flight record get the last known coordinates and plug them into Google earth ...much better picture of the terrain
2019-7-24
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mmarquez93
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Canada
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DJI Stephen Posted at 7-22 08:12
Hello and good day GreenMan8112. Thank you for reaching out and for sharing your experience flying near wind turbines. Just a friendly reminder that we do not recommend our customers to fly their drone in a hazardous environment or strong wind to avoid the incident to the drone. Thank you for understanding. Have a safe and happy flying always.

Well, I was planning on doing a video over the wind turbines near Goldendale, by the Washington-Oregon border near the Columbia River.  There are about 200 of these & it would have been awesome to get a different perspective than from the ground.  Would the OcuSync 2.0 connection with my M2P fare better than the Mavic Air’s connection?
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2019-7-24
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Woe
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Glad you recover you bird
2019-7-24
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 1859961 ft
Netherlands
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Thanks for the warning!
2019-7-25
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DJI Stephen
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GreenMan8112 Posted at 7-22 15:31
Thanks, Stephen.  

I told my wife I was going to try to fly it right through the turbine blades.  Didn't even make it to the base of the tower, lol.  Oh well.

You are very much welcome GreenMan8112. Please stay safe always and keep on flying.
2019-7-26
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mmarquez93
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Canada
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pmshop Posted at 7-23 06:22
And in the USA, it should not be done because they are power generators and classified as critical infrastructure.
Myst not fly over or closer than 400ft.

I am using B4UFLY & AirMap.  Just did a flight plan which says I'm okay to fly around the Goldendale, WA wind turbines.  I'm not planning on flying closer than 100 feet from these at any point.  Now you've got me thinking twice.
2019-7-26
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pmshop
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mmarquez93 Posted at 7-26 09:55
I am using B4UFLY & AirMap.  Just did a flight plan which says I'm okay to fly around the Goldendale, WA wind turbines.  I'm not planning on flying closer than 100 feet from these at any point.  Now you've got me thinking twice.

Play it safe, 400 ft
Makes "us" look better.
Plus, have you seen stuff closer than 400 ft if they are big?
2019-7-26
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mmarquez93
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Canada
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pmshop Posted at 7-26 17:21
Play it safe, 400 ft
Makes "us" look better.
Plus, have you seen stuff closer than 400 ft if they are big?
LOL, you’re right!  I’ll stay quite a bit farther
2019-7-26
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DAFlys
Captain
Flight distance : 960052 ft
United Kingdom
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Odd I wondered what happened as plenty of other videos exist.  Make sure you dont get too close to the windmill as they cause cancer.
2019-8-16
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A J
Captain
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Sound like a good recovery was made
2019-8-17
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David Martin Graff
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United States
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Nicely done - thanks again for sharing!
2019-8-17
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mmarquez93
lvl.2
Canada
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Hi GreenMan8112,

Are you still recommending not to fly near Wind Turbines OR have you fixed your problem & how?
7-7 06:53
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