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Max 1-way range of Phantom 3 Standard for long-range waypoints?
7301 10 2016-6-25
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amelia.bolli01
lvl.2

United States
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Hello! I have a simple but VERY important question. I fly with Litchi (allows long range waypoints) and want to know the maximum one-way range of my Phantom 3 Standard or the maximum total flight distance or the maximum flight time. Would this flight be safe or not?   

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bz8O75EyP4AiNnB4N29CMldma2M
2016-6-25
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huntcool001
lvl.4

Hong Kong
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The autonomous nature of waypoints mission decides it's not very safe, that's why DJI eliminates this function in DJI GO.  

In the picture, it says 23000+ feet, Phantom 3 Standard has no problem flying this distance one way, unless there's big wind.
2016-6-25
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amelia.bolli01
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United States
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huntcool001@gma Posted at 2016-6-26 15:18
The autonomous nature of waypoints mission decides it's not very safe, that's why DJI eliminates thi ...

Thank you for the answer, I will fly that mission today and tell you how it went
2016-6-26
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theisenmr
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United States
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I haven't used Litchi much yet, but it estimates a 10 minute mission, so if it's a one-way trip and not too windy, you can definitely do it on a fully charged battery.  Better make sure you correctly set the Finish Action instruction to Land (instead of Reverse, RTH, etc.) and that it's a large open field that's safe to land in without trees/bushes, rocks, slopes, people, water, etc.  And of course, have someone there to retrieve it when it does.

Stupid question for you and others that do these autonomous "guaranteed to lose signal" missions with Litchi.  How does it play in with your RTH settings?  The Aircraft settings specifically word it as "Signal Lost Behavior for Manual Flying."  Which I assume means it has to ignore that during non-manual flying, such as Waypoints. Otherwise, you'd never complete the mission on signal loss as it'd hover, land or RTH.  

And since there is no H on the battery indicator line in Litchi, I assume it never hits a point where it says it needs to RTH now lest the battery dies before you can.  So it will just fly the mission and follow the Finish Action, and if that Finish Action is None, it will land when it hits the red part of the battery line (which I see no way to change).

Interested to hear about how your mission went.

2016-6-26
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Chris512
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United States
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theisenmr Posted at 2016-6-27 01:56
I haven't used Litchi much yet, but it estimates a 10 minute mission, so if it's a one-way trip and  ...

I fly only with Litchi because I need to develop precision flights in the office for aerial survey work and cannot afford the time to fly the flight first to record waypoints with DJI Go.  I plan all my flights for VLOS and to always maintain contact with the aircraft.  I would consider it irresponsible on the pilot's part to deliberately fly the aircraft out of range and VLOS using autonomous flight.

That being said, there is several times I have been flying waypoints with Litchi and lost contact with the aircraft for a few moments due to planning errors in the flight, usually involving trees scattering the signal.  The trees between me and the aircraft being bigger and taller that what the terrain view showed when planning the flight.  The app announces that signal has been lost and it draws a line from the aircraft's last known position to Home, but the flight continues, as uploaded to the flight controller.  It may be for only 10 seconds, but I typically have to turn the controller off, then turn it back on to re-establish contact with the aircraft after it flies past the trees.

I have had the flight abort a few times, and RTH actually trigger, when using certain modes where signal contact is required to send commands to the aircraft during the flight (such as using Timer Mode with the camera instead of Interval Mode).  The Litchi guy said the DJI sdk is not particularly friendly to work with and they haven't nailed down the exact reasons why RTH is sometimes triggered on waypoint flights when it shouldn't be.  I actually do think it would be a good thing if RTH was triggered anytime signal is lost for more than about 30 seconds, regardless of whether or not it is a waypoint mission.  There is no reason, to my way of thinking, that anybody has any business flying an aircraft while deliberately being out of range of direct control of it.

The flight in question is actually a round-trip flight.  Waypoint 1 and waypoint 3 are the same.  It looks like the aircraft is being flown at 625 feet altitude (illegal in the US), out to a distance of a little over 2 miles.  You may or may not be able to maintain contact with the aircraft that far away at that altitude.  Judging by the aerial view of the flight path I would say not because you likely have trees close to home base that will scatter the signal due to the angle of incidence required for direct LOS for UHF.  I quite regularly fly out to a mile on flat open terrain doing aerial surveys at 328 feet altitude, without losing either control or telemetry signals with a P3S.  But in my experience, that is about the limit for the P3 Standard with 100 mW radios.

Looking at the flight path with the aircraft flying over residential areas there is no way, no how, I would attempt that flight.  If the aircraft goes down anywhere during the flight you will likely never recover it, and hopefully somebody doesn't get hurt in the event it has a forced landing.

2016-6-26
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amelia.bolli01
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United States
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Chris512 Posted at 2016-6-27 06:34
I fly only with Litchi because I need to develop precision flights in the office for aerial survey  ...

Thanks for the catch on the 625 feet altitude, I changed it back to 350
2016-6-26
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HotQuad
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United States
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Chris512 Posted at 2016-6-27 06:34
I fly only with Litchi because I need to develop precision flights in the office for aerial survey  ...

Good post, thank you for the info.  Good to know that RTH may sometimes be triggered on a signal lost waypoint.  Sounds like it wouldn't when recording video necessarily, but when taking timed pictures yes.  I wouldn't risk setting the RTH improperly either way.

Good eye on the mission too.  I read "one way" and looked at the 10 minute estimate, and actually thought it was just a mission over fields/trees.
2016-6-26
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Chris512
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United States
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HotQuad Posted at 2016-6-27 09:17
Good post, thank you for the info.  Good to know that RTH may sometimes be triggered on a signal l ...

This is just my 2 cents on Litchi, which is probably worth less than that.

I have a Section 333 currently (which now is changed in August) and fly aerial surveys with my P3S as a sideline.  For me, Litchi is an invaluable tool because it allows me to set up a flight with efficiency and safety, keeping the FAA rules in mind, without having to waste time attempting to fly to precision waypoints and record them with DJI Go.  The DJI app falls woefully short of being useful for commercial applications of the aircraft.  And DJI offers currently no other option outside of the consumer space.  If it were not for Litchi I would likely be flying a Pixhawk-based platform with Mission Planner instead of a DJI product.

BUT - when I see folks mis-using the software to deliberately fly aircraft out of control range, that is somewhat bothersome.  It is just my opinion that Litchi should trigger RTH if the signal is lost for more than a few seconds, with no option to turn it off.  When people do fly in an irresponsible manner, it does not go unnoticed in the long run by either the FAA or DJI.  Keep it up and eventually DJI will lock it out to remain in the good graces of the FAA and other aviation authorities - and your Phantom won't even start the motors unless you are using their app.  And I see that as being not too far down the road with the number of pilots out there that shouldn't be.
2016-6-26
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amelia.bolli01
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United States
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Ok so I took the drone out, changed the mission altitude to 350 feet (thanks for the catch ) and started the mission.
Mission went fine, drone performed well, came back on time
Got some great footage on the way there
A great success
Battery was at 70 percent when it came in

TO ALL NEGATIVE POSTERS:
Don't you have a life? Do you do not do anything but criticize people the whole day? My question was about the maximum SAFE RANGE OF THE DRONE SO I WOULD NOT DAMAGE PEOPLE OR PROPERTY DUE TO A DEAD BATTERY, NOT ABOUT FAA REGULATIONS WHICH I ALREADY KNOW!
2016-6-26
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amelia.bolli01
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United States
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theisenmr Posted at 2016-6-27 01:56
I haven't used Litchi much yet, but it estimates a 10 minute mission, so if it's a one-way trip and  ...

Nice question, the drone will continue on its programmed mission, regardless of whether it has lost signal.
2016-6-26
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Chris512
lvl.1

United States
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amelia.bolli01 Posted at 2016-6-27 13:36
Ok so I took the drone out, changed the mission altitude to 350 feet (thanks for the catch  ) and  ...

"SAFE RANGE OF THE DRONE SO I WOULD NOT DAMAGE PEOPLE OR PROPERTY DUE TO A DEAD BATTERY, NOT ABOUT FAA REGULATIONS WHICH I ALREADY KNOW!"

amelia.bolli01, you asked if this would be a safe flight. Since you already know the FAA regs, then you know manned aircraft can and do use the airspace up to 500AGL for purposes like flight training, crop dusting, aerial survey's, pipeline and powerline inspection, medical and law enforcement flights, etc..  RC pilots do NOT have exclusive rights to the airspace up to 400AGL.

And that's the point and question you asked, was about the safety issue.  The legal issue is that you could not meet Section 336a(4) when the aircraft is not under your direct control, and out of sight.  It really has nothing to do with having a life.  I've been a commercial pilot and CFII for 36 years.  It has more to do with educating folks on being a responsible and safe pilot when they fly a RC aircraft.  If you want to do this stuff with your drone, it is not advisable to advertise it in public (in the US).
2016-6-27
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