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is it safe to fly over water
3994 25 2017-8-28
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Sparky_17
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I've heard a few people say their drone dropped into a river, lake or other for no reason.

How safe is it to fly my Spark over water.  I'd like to take some cool videos flying over water or get some mountain/river views but this would mean, flying above water.

I don't want to loose my spark in water.
2017-8-28
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TheCyberKnight
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Aside from damages due to a fall, water has no specific effect on your Spark. You can safely fly over water.

The problem is that it greatly reduces your emergency landing area. If you are carereful with battery levels, it should be pretty safe. Practice on land until you trust your Spark enough.


In any case, a sudden drop from the sky on concrete or water usually has similar effects on the SPark ability to fly.
2017-8-28
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Sparky_17
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TheCyberKnight Posted at 2017-8-28 12:21
Aside from damages due to a fall, water has no specific effect on your Spark. You can safely fly over water.

Thanks for the reply.  I'm a bit nervous flying over water just because of some of the posts on here.

I'll give it a try this upcoming long weekend.
2017-8-28
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TheCyberKnight
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Sparky_17 Posted at 2017-8-28 12:23
Thanks for the reply.  I'm a bit nervous flying over water just because of some of the posts on here.

I'll give it a try this upcoming long weekend.

Honestly, I always have some anxiety when flying over water.
2017-8-28
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ImHereToCrash
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Sparky_17 Posted at 2017-8-28 12:23
Thanks for the reply.  I'm a bit nervous flying over water just because of some of the posts on here.

I'll give it a try this upcoming long weekend.

actually certain types of water (so to speak) do have an effect on the sparks ability to understand the environment.   specifically moving water and being too close to that (like 25 feet and lower/closer) the VPS (visual positioning system) will track the moving water and tries to adjust itself based on that when its hovering, if you plan on flying under 30 feet in height off the surface in moving water conditions keep a close eye on how your spark responds to it.   however over 30 feet it should be ok and VPS should disable or not be able to accurately measure the water movement..
2017-8-28
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Charles Adams
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My primary use case is flying at the lake (over water).  And to be honest, I've had a great deal of anxiety when I fly.  But unlike other unfortunate individuals in the forums who have lost their sparks, I've not had any "close calls" with losing my spark, and I plan on continuing to fly over water.  My confidence is increasing and my anxiety is decreasing.

That being said, here are some personal guidelines I follow (or real guidelines listed in the manual):

1.  Don't launch until you have confirmed that you have gps lock AND that you are not receiving any compass issues.  So many forum posts are about flight difficulties which started with ignoring compass warnings or getting gps errors.  Just don't do it, especially when flying over water.
2.  Always ensure that your home point is set.  Either by waiting for the craft to establish the home point or by manually setting it.  But don't rely on home point...
3.  If you are launching over water (from a boat), do NOT rely on home point for returning to home.  Your boat may drift from the original home point location.  Home point is still important to set (if for any reason the craft decides to execute an RTH, it's still going to be close).  Another reason RTH may be a poor choice for you to rely on is if you move your location over water (drive the boat around).  Instead manually land your craft at the desired landing site.
4.  I personally do not wait for 30% battery warning when flying over water.  I return home when battery is between 40-50%.  I know that is a LOT of battery and a few more minutes of flight time that one is giving up, but if you are landing on a boat (potentially a moving target), you will want that extra time for safety.  If winds come up or if waves hit and push you around, you will have lots of battery life to use to abort your landing and to try again.
5.  Don't fly low and close to the water (and this is from the manual).  This can cause issues with the spark's vision system.  Fly well above the water.  I'm usually at 20' or higher.  I may come lower for close up shots of my target, but I will raise back up again.
6.  Be very careful about the flight environment.  Low winds, good weather.

That's what I do, and I've never had an issue.
2017-8-28
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Virgil Quick
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I fly my Spark very frequently over open (fresh) water.  Because there are no obstacles such as trees to worry about  you can have a great time with the sport mode.  So much fun and the water adds a little extra to the adrenaline factor.

My recommendation is to start off with a series of short flights to build your confidence and test the flying area for any interference.  Pay close attention to flight basics before liftoff like battery life, RTH height, GO 4 warnings, GPS connection, etc.  If all goes well with the beginning flights then let her rip and have fun.

This brings up a question that I have had.  Does flying over salt water and flying through salt water humidity/mist have an adverse affect on the Spark?  


2017-8-28
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ImHereToCrash
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Virgil Quick Posted at 2017-8-28 12:43
I fly my Spark very frequently over open (fresh) water.  Because there are no obstacles such as trees to worry about  you can have a great time with the sport mode.  So much fun and the water adds a little extra to the adrenaline factor.

My recommendation is to start off with a series of short flights to build your confidence and test the flying area for any interference.  Pay close attention to flight basics before liftoff like battery life, RTH height, GO 4 warnings, GPS connection, etc.  If all goes well with the beginning flights then let her rip and have fun.

salt water is extremely corrosive, so if there is a salt water mist, i strongly recommend not flying it.. salt air/humidity is something that is ok im assuming.   considering the amount of people flying in southern coastal states like florida.
fresh water is stil not ok but...  it has limited amount of conductivity and isnt very corrosiive on its own, what makes fresh water corrosive is inpurittives.. and if the water stagnates on metal contacts inside the drone and stays wet while being used that metal is actually adding inpuritities to the water that are conductive and corrosive.   so if you ever get caught out in a rain storm i reccomend brinign her back, pulling the battery asap, and letting her dry internally (few days)  before fly again.. if it gets hit with salt water, count it as a loss, and work on gettign a replacement, even if it is stll flying ok, salt water is nasty to electronics..and  it does not require it to be powered on to continue to corrode and kill it..
2017-8-28
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TMUSVI
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i do all the time have no problems dont go too low
2017-8-28
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TMUSVI
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ImHereToCrash Posted at 2017-8-28 13:02
salt water is extremely corrosive, so if there is a salt water mist, i strongly recommend not flying it.. salt air/humidity is something that is ok im assuming.   considering the amount of people flying in southern coastal states like florida.
fresh water is stil not ok but...  it has limited amount of conductivity and isnt very corrosiive on its own, what makes fresh water corrosive is inpurittives.. and if the water stagnates on metal contacts inside the drone and stays wet while being used that metal is actually adding inpuritities to the water that are conductive and corrosive.   so if you ever get caught out in a rain storm i reccomend brinign her back, pulling the battery asap, and letting her dry internally (few days)  before fly again.. if it gets hit with salt water, count it as a loss, and work on gettign a replacement, even if it is stll flying ok, salt water is nasty to electronics..and  it does not require it to be powered on to continue to corrode and kill it..

i am on a island fly over azlt water all the time np so far  o and i have dji refresh
2017-8-28
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Charles Adams
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TMUSVI Posted at 2017-8-28 16:09
i am on a island fly over azlt water all the time np so far  o and i have dji refresh

Be cautioned that some individuals have had difficulties exercising their dji care refresh option if they haven't been able to retrieve a lost/downed drone.
2017-8-28
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TranceMist
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Launching from a boat is very likely to give you compass interference, especially on a bigger motor boat due to the amount of metal around the engine.
If you get compass interference try going to the bow to see if it is any better there.

Also make sure the boat is not moving while taking off or landing.
Ideally have the engine switched off and any onboard electronics off too to minimize interference during this crucial stage.
2017-8-28
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ThirdEyeFlyin'
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I'd say it's about as safe to fly over water as it is anywhere else......probably safer considering there's less to hit when it craters.
2017-8-28
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ImHereToCrash
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ThirdEyeFlyin' Posted at 2017-8-28 16:52
I'd say it's about as safe to fly over water as it is anywhere else......probably safer considering there's less to hit when it craters.

depends on the water.. slow or no moving water. i agree it's probably safe and easier.. but if its moving water lot of surface movement the spark wills struggle to compensate if it is using visual system..  specially hovering..
2017-8-28
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ImHereToCrash
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TranceMist Posted at 2017-8-28 16:53
Launching from a boat is very likely to give you compass interference, especially on a bigger motor boat due to the amount of metal around the engine.
If you get compass interference try going to the bow to see if it is any better there.

if interference is caused by something in a specific area, then launching from it is safe if you have direct control..   once your spark or other drone exited that interface zone lifting off or flying away a bit it should be cleared up and goo for whatever..   i launched my drone off hood of my car and that causes all sorts of errors but once its up and away its fine..

and ya never launch off a moving vehical, the system doesn't understand that,  and will be confused at take off.. if you are moving very slow like walking pace or maybe slightly more brisk, it should be ok.. if its like 10 mph then slow down or wait..
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TMUSVI
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Charles Adams Posted at 2017-8-28 16:37
Be cautioned that some individuals have had difficulties exercising their dji care refresh option if they haven't been able to retrieve a lost/downed drone.

no problem for me we have underwater drone also this anit no bs operation
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TMUSVI
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TMUSVI Posted at 2017-8-28 18:20
no problem for me we have underwater drone also  this anit no bs operation

our 34' boat
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2017-8-28
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fabcarb
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Sparky_17 Posted at 2017-8-28 12:23
Thanks for the reply.  I'm a bit nervous flying over water just because of some of the posts on here.

I'll give it a try this upcoming long weekend.

Yeah, I read some comments that the sensors facing the water would let the drone a bit dizzy and it also scared me. good luck, hope you'll have it back safe and with great footage!
2017-8-28
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Montfrooij
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There is a warning about flying closely above water in the disclaimer under 3.

http://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=109501

Not saying you can't, but be aware of the height since it might affect the Vision sensors.
2017-8-28
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ImHereToCrash
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basically you should be ok for the most part, most likely thing that will happen with VPS tracking water is it will try to compensate for that movement causing the drone to drift with the water direction.   few ways to overcome this one is height, raise drone up 30+ feet and then VPS on the spark should disable or not track anymore..  if raising it up 30 feet isn't an option because of surroundings, the other is to either reconsider location and the risks involved, or manually control it..   

  basically...its common sense stuff... dont worry about it.. if its too much hassle then reconsider usage in that location..
2017-8-28
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Sparky_17
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Thanks all for the feedback and the height/moving water warnings.

2017-8-29
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DJI Thor
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Firstly, we don't suggest flying the drone low over the water surface. Besides, please check the drone's status before taking off. And the most important thing is to fly the drone carefully.
2017-9-2
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hallmark007
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It's actually safer to fly over water than most places, very little interference and almost no obstacles.
2017-9-3
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larrymull
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I think of about my 50+ flights, 30+ would be over water and I have never had an issue. Granted I was probably up higher than at least 10 metres at anyone time, I never felt unsafe. I did notice though yesterday when i was flying over water I brought the drone down to about 10 metres and it said the drone was only 3 metres about the ground. So just do your due diligence, be sensible and enjoy.
2017-9-3
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Lucas775
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TheCyberKnight Posted at 2017-8-28 12:21
Aside from damages due to a fall, water has no specific effect on your Spark. You can safely fly over water.

The problem is that it greatly reduces your emergency landing area. If you are carereful with battery levels, it should be pretty safe. Practice on land until you trust your Spark enough.

I agree with you 100%.  
2017-9-3
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magicbc
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thanks for the heads up. I was flying at about 5 feet above water today and no issues, but I'm thinking this is the last time I'll do this! Footage is good, as it was a beautiful day on the west coast (pacific ocean)- but I don't want to chance this anymore.
2017-9-3
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