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Finally got to do a range check -CE area RTH test
658 22 2018-2-16
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Buzzyone
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Now the weather in the UK has finally given up trying to blow us all away, got a chance to do a bit of a range test. Took the Air to a farm I have flown the Spark at to do a comparison. I sent the Air away at 20mtrs hieght and set off away from me, 750mtrs and it was still going strong, it used 2.4ghz all the way out. It was down to 50% on the transmitter strength at 800m which took me over a wooded area, so came back.
The Spark managed 550mtrs in the same conditions, using the Spark controller connected with WiFi. It was at the end of its range.

At a push I think it (the Air)  would go 1500mtrs line of sight.

Decided to confirm how RTH works, never normally use it but decided to give it a test. As it’s different to the Pro.

The manual states that with a loss of signal the Air will re-trace it’s flight and return home. Flew the air away and performed a few direction changes. Then with Air about 100mtrs away, turned off the remote (gulp)

After a few seconds, the Air climbed to the RTH altitude, turned and flew back to the home point, following the route I flew in reverse. Once it was close in, powered up the controller and it reconnected after a few seconds. Stopped the RTH and moved onto test two.

Flew the aircraft the same course, then pressed RTH button, the Air climbed to the RTH altitude and flew straight back, I allowed it to land, it was off by only 30cm, so pretty impressive.

I conclude that some of these reported fly-aways are most likely a loss of connection followed by the drone retracing it’s steps. Downside is low battery what happens then? It lands, maybe that’s what is happening the drone appears to be a flyaway, In fact it’s just retracing it’s steps an runs out of power.

Flew the Pro next, must say I feel the Pro is a better aircraft, more stable in the wind, more configurable with the camera settings for example. While there are more gadgets on the air, sensors everywhere but I never needed them before so don’t miss them on the Pro. The Air is fantastic, but the Pro is just better.

I was joined while flying by a Red Kite, a huge bird of prey, who came for a look, while watching him/her soaring the wind, we were joined by 4 more, 5 of them, I thought the Mavic was going to be in a bit of trouble, but they seemed to have little intrest after a couple of passes they all flew away.
May have some video of the encounter, will have to check!




2018-2-16
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A CW
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Great feedback - thanks for sharing your experience.
2018-2-16
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hallmark007
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Good job be interesting to see what you make of footage.
2018-2-16
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pawel_g
lvl.4
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Thanks for that feedback. The info about Failsafe RTH being different that all other RTH's is really important.
Indeed the manual is confusing about that.
In Failsafe RTH it states "When Failsafe RTH is activated, the aircraft will retrace its original  flight route home."
On the other hand, page later it states:
Smart RTH, Low Battery RTH, and Failsafe RTH follow this procedure:
1. The aircraft adjusts its orientation.
2. a. If the aircraft is further than 20 m from the Home Point it ascends to the pre-set RTH attitude and
then flies to the Home Point.

Have to check that. If indeed in FailSafe RTH it follows old path (which can be much longer than straight to home) I wonder if it switches to Low Battery RTH when battery condition is met.

Br, Pawel.
2018-2-16
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Montfrooij
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Very interesting!
2018-2-16
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Wachtberger
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Germany
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Great report, thank you for sharing!
2018-2-17
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fans8e2aaacb
lvl.2
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Australia
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1500m away is a far cry from the claimed 4000...what's with that?
2018-2-18
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Buzzyone
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fans8e2aaacb Posted at 2018-2-18 23:04
1500m away is a far cry from the claimed 4000...what's with that?

It is, however, you cannot maintain LOS At 4km, I flew at low altitude, 30mtrs max so worst possible conditions, I never said I flew to the max distance before loss of connection.

At the 750mtrs I took it too I had rock steady video feed, I couldn’t see it, so rule one was broken, but I was in open country so only the drone at risk, from this I can deduce that in normal flight operations the drone will do what I need it to do and I won’t be concerned about loss of connections.

I have a car that has a claimed top speed of 140mph, have I tested this claim, of course not, does it perform as I wish it to? Yes it does, job done.
2018-2-18
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Cameleon
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Buzzyone Posted at 2018-2-18 23:16
It is, however, you cannot maintain LOS At 4km, I flew at low altitude, 30mtrs max so worst possible conditions, I never said I flew to the max distance before loss of connection.

At the 750mtrs I took it too I had rock steady video feed, I couldn’t see it, so rule one was broken, but I was in open country so only the drone at risk, from this I can deduce that in normal flight operations the drone will do what I need it to do and I won’t be concerned about loss of connections.

Strangely I have less issue finding the max speed of my cars (on closed track/road of course ;) ) than the max range of my MA. I've only had it to 300m so far and that felt quite far away for a noob.
2018-2-19
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Buzzyone
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Cameleon Posted at 2018-2-19 00:42
Strangely I have less issue finding the max speed of my cars (on closed track/road of course ;) ) than the max range of my MA. I've only had it to 300m so far and that felt quite far away for a noob.

It’s far enough away to lose it LOL
2018-2-19
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$gambino$
First Officer
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He wont get 4000m in CE anyway! So thats pretty good range fans8e2aaacb
2018-2-19
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A CW
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fans8e2aaacb Posted at 2018-2-18 23:04
1500m away is a far cry from the claimed 4000...what's with that?

The OP is in the UK where we use CE and not FCC. The max range of the Air is 2,000m here in areas free of interference and obstruction and 4,000m in FCC areas such as the US.
The Pro has a range of 4,000m in CE areas and 7,000m in FCC. The Pro will reach 2.5 miles/4KM in the UK. The max horizontal distance permitted is 500m anyway.
2018-2-19
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Steeevo
Second Officer
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oops I flew 6,000 feet away yesterday! how can I change the from feet to metres in the app its pretty annoying being in feet in the uk
2018-2-19
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Drones Puppet
First Officer
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Germany
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no problem here in CE Mode 4+km on 2.4 GHz (Area with no Interferences and Phone all Data/BT-Mode turned off)
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... &fromuid=821420
2018-2-19
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A CW
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Steeevo Posted at 2018-2-19 03:06
oops I flew 6,000 feet away yesterday! how can I change the from feet to metres in the app its pretty annoying being in feet in the uk

General settings in the app - switch from imperial to metric.
2018-2-19
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Buzzyone
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Here is the Hawk footage if anyone wants to have a look:

2018-2-19
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Griffith
First Officer
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Thanks for the well-done experiment and the hawk shots.
2018-2-19
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ghostrdr
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I don't understand pilots purposely turning off their controllers. Seems like you're njust asking for trouble.
2018-2-19
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A CW
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Great vid!     
2018-2-19
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Buzzyone
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ghostrdr Posted at 2018-2-19 07:43
I don't understand pilots purposely turning off their controllers. Seems like you're njust asking for trouble.

As I said in the original post, for testing, I carried out the test to confirm the two different modes of RTH pilot initiated and failsafe.

It was carried out in a controlled way within sight and in open fields.

I never use RTH, flying the aircraft myself is how I fly. In order to be objective to those who somehow lose their drone through not understanding the RTH, by observing and understanding how it works helps me to help others if they need it.
2018-2-19
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fans8e2aaacb
lvl.2
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The range claims in CE areas seem to be wildly different. Some say 2km, some prove they've done 4km. All out in the country with no interference. Would there be a different limit in Australia (a CE area) than from the UK?

Can we get an official statement from the DJI rep?
2018-2-19
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arcoso
lvl.2
United States
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I regard to your comments about mavic vs. air...   imo the air is more portable.  
The best drone is the drone you always have with you.
2018-2-19
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Buzzyone
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arcoso Posted at 2018-2-19 17:01
I regard to your comments about mavic vs. air...   imo the air is more portable.  
The best drone is the drone you always have with you.

Very true, rather like the difference between my iPhone X camera and my Sony Alpha 7II! I don’t always have my DSLR with me!

I have superb spur of the moment iPhone photographs that I only have as it’s the camera I had with me.
2018-2-19
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