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Launching and retrieving from a boat.
3432 16 2017-3-12
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Sdpaddler50
lvl.2
United States
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Well, first day with the Mavic, and it was a great site to see it hover, a few turns, took a few pictures...baby steps.

My long term goal is to take it out on our boat (Pacific Ocean) offshore, and capture footage of the offshore islands, dolphins, whatever I may stumble on.

Has anyone launched and retrieved their Mavic on the open ocean?

For example, are you able to land it ok on mild wind day, say 1-2 ft. swells, with the boat moving around?
2017-3-12
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seeker_ktf_
Captain
Flight distance : 218474 ft
United States
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I haven't done ocean swells that high.  Not even close.  But seriously, if you want to land that way practice hand catching.  Hover the Mavic over the deck so it won't fall in and then just grab it from underneath.  You'll need a helper to shut off the props afterwards,   Even at 6 inch swells, it's too hard to land softly. (Of course, it depends on the size of the boat too.)   If the boat rises (or more likely pitches) at the wrong time it'll slam into the Mavic...   Remember that for the landing sequence the obstacle avoidance gets turned off.

You can practice grabbing it on dry land before going to the water.  Just go in from the bottom and its not a problem.  (I admit that I still wear cut resistant gloves for hand catching, but I tend to be overly cautious.)
2017-3-12
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Sdpaddler50
lvl.2
United States
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Makes sense, thanks. To stop the props, are you referring to the command where both joysticks are pulled down, and in? Is there another command input that can be used to kill the props?
2017-3-13
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81SFORLIFE
lvl.3
Flight distance : 313281 ft
United States
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Also change your RTH to hover in place. You don't want to start shooting footage in one spot then follow the boat or wildlife to another spot and have your RTH set to the original home point.
2017-3-13
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DJI-Ken
DJI team
Flight distance : 1515312 ft
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United States
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Couple of tips:
Don't calibrate the compass on the boat, you compass is already calibrated so no need to do it on the boat. It will probably say compass interference but as soon as you take off an get away from the boat you'll be fine.
And if you are going to be moving just keep resetting the home point to yourself or the aircraft as you cruise through the ocean.
2017-3-13
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Memmi
Second Officer
Flight distance : 324108 ft
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Ha, Just did this this weekend with the Mavic (didn't dare deck launch the inspire 1, flew that from the coast).

A few notes for power up:

1) On the moving boat upon startup the first time it passed preflight and I was able to launch without issue
2) the 2nd flight the IMU check failed (I find this unsurprising) Backup IMU kicked over but upon launch it flew into the boat
3) Decided there would be no 2nd flight.

If possible power for preflight power up before getting on the boat (I know, not ideal). If not, powering on at the center of mass of the boat might get it to pass the IMU check

If you get that far, on takeoff and land:
1) takeoff is easy, just note the wind and launch from the leeward side of the boat
2) Get it away quick from the masts and such.
3) Active track works well and shows a boat icon
4) until it doesn't. It lost tracking for me when dead in the path of the boat I had to manually evade
5) Get comfortable flying around the boat at 30m+ (above mast and sails) before dropping in line of site (danger zone)
6) Landing is tricky, It doesn't want to de-power when landing on a moving deck.
7) I suggest hand catching (turn off downward sensor)

Mavic on Deck


I'll post a video soon so you can see there
2017-3-13
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AG0N-Gary
Captain
Flight distance : 700846 ft
United States
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To shut down, pull the left stick all the way down and hold it until the motors stop.  It only takes one hand and is safer.  Since the boat will be riding the swells, shut it down the instant you grab it because it will be fighting you once you have hold of it.  Grip it tightly, so it isn't successful when it tries to pull away from you.
2017-3-13
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c_future
Second Officer
Austria
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For Hand Landing: you have to switch off the ground scanning (its called differently but you find it in the App within the Sensor settings)
...Where the drone checks the Surface before going to Touch down

Otherwise the engines will Speed up to full power after catching it with the Hand before you will be able to shut down
2017-3-13
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c_future
Second Officer
Austria
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...and do some Test sessions on shore.

Also be sure to hold it tight when switching it on due some torgue during engine Start / Check Impulses

Nearly dropped it once at that moment due feelingless cold fingers outside the gloves at cold temperatures ;-)
2017-3-13
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Sdpaddler50
lvl.2
United States
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Excellent feedback, thank you.

I will come back and reread all of this when I am ready to take it on the boat in a few weeks.

I took it to a park today for my second time out, and had a great time. Running a  boat with radar and GPS in the past allowed me to run the drone away from my line of sight and feel fairly comfortable looking at the screen,, but I have a lot to learn and taking it slow.

This is truly a remarkable little machine.
2017-3-13
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BengalBoy
First Officer
Flight distance : 4661299 ft
United States
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If you plan to fly from a moving boat you must turn off "Smart Return Home" or you will live to regret it. Hand launch and catch are necessary skills to be done at the back of the boat and not the bow.  You can perform an IMU calibration from a boat, though, I would not recommend it if you have fears of losing your drone.  I have calibrated from the top of a 35 foot cruiser when my Phantom 4 would not fly.  The calibration worked and I was able to get remarkable footage in Nusa Lembongan.  Don't get distracted about your battery life and wait too long to come in.  Its much harder to land on a boat in the open sea than you would think, and it may take you several minutes to find the sweet spot for wind and waves.  Once you gain confidence, there is nothing that compares with flying on the open ocean for scenery and random beauty.
satonda7.jpg
2017-3-13
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seeker_ktf_
Captain
Flight distance : 218474 ft
United States
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Wow.  That picture is just spectacular.
2017-3-13
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Sdpaddler50
lvl.2
United States
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Good advice, thanks again everyone.

I have quite a bit more dry land practice before I can do it offshore.

Attached is a pic of a Humpback in 5K ft of water taken with a GoPro - the image quality is not very good. Ever since then, the concept of having a drone to film from above has been my goal.
Capture1.JPG
2017-3-14
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travelrikk
Captain
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Malta
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BengalBoy Posted at 2017-3-13 18:12
If you plan to fly from a moving boat you must turn off "Smart Return Home" or you will live to regret it. Hand launch and catch are necessary skills to be done at the back of the boat and not the bow.  You can perform an IMU calibration from a boat, though, I would not recommend it if you have fears of losing your drone.  I have calibrated from the top of a 35 foot cruiser when my Phantom 4 would not fly.  The calibration worked and I was able to get remarkable footage in Nusa Lembongan.  Don't get distracted about your battery life and wait too long to come in.  Its much harder to land on a boat in the open sea than you would think, and it may take you several minutes to find the sweet spot for wind and waves.  Once you gain confidence, there is nothing that compares with flying on the open ocean for scenery and random beauty.

Hot damn. Good tips, where was that picture taken?
2017-3-14
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BengalBoy
First Officer
Flight distance : 4661299 ft
United States
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seeker_ktf_ Posted at 2017-3-13 18:48
Wow.  That picture is just spectacular.

Thank you, that is Satonda Island in the Flores Sea.  An extict volcano that collapsed back into the sea.
2017-3-14
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BengalBoy
First Officer
Flight distance : 4661299 ft
United States
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Thank you, that is Satonda Island in the Flores Sea.  It is an extict volcano that collapsed back into the ocean.  It is located in the lesser sundra islands of Indonesia.  Shot with Phantom 4 at over 2 miles from my liveaboard diving yacht.  Altitude extreme to fit island into frame.  Drones and underwater photography are like peas & carrots.  
2017-3-14
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Jason Lane
Second Officer
Flight distance : 260144 ft
Philippines
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c_future Posted at 2017-3-13 12:18
For Hand Landing: you have to switch off the ground scanning (its called differently but you find it in the App within the Sensor settings)
...Where the drone checks the Surface before going to Touch down

The setting you want to disable is Landing Protection.
2017-3-14
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