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POLL - Compass Calibration (Avoiding Fly Aways)
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DMX_MLT
Captain

Malta
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Hey Guys,

I have a New Poll, about Compass Calibration, to avoid a Fly Away.

In my preflight list I included a Compass Check, by Hovering a Bit with the Spark, and watching out for the Red Arrow in the Bottom Corner to be facing same Direction that the Front of the Spark is facing.

Last week I was talking to a DJI Moderator, and she told me that it is Important to do a Compass Calibration Before Every Flight. Some friends tell me that doing this you will get Bad Results, and a Messed Up Compass. So now this got me confused what to do as in 1 way I like to listen to DJI but on the other hand friends with Experience are most Practical Answer.

So the Question is this -

Do you do a Compass Calibration ? Also in the Comments Below, Please let me know your Experiences and Thoughts whats the Best Method / Procedure to Follow, especially when you are InFlight and get Compass Warnings on the DJI GO4 App. Thank you for taking the Time to Contribute, together we learn more everyday.







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2018-5-5
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msinger
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There's no need to calibrate the compass before each flight. However, if you choose to do it, you won't hurt anything. For best practices, check out the Spark Compass Calibration Guide.

For your pre-flight, it would be better to do this instead:

  • Sit your Spark on the ground and power it on
  • Open DJI GO and verify the red aircraft symbol on the map is pointing in the same direction as the Spark on the ground
  • Make sure the red aircraft symbol on the map is not slowly rotating

That pre-flight check will allow verify whether or not the Spark's compass is being negatively affected by a nearby magnetic metal object. DJI GO will often warn you when the Spark is too close to a magnetic metal object, but it sometimes does not display a message.
2018-5-5
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Ram-UK
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I don’t do compass calibration even if the DJI Go app prompts unless I am in a interference free area. If I get a compass error I moved to another place and check it again.

Never had any problem so far.
2018-5-5
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Aurelian (Spark)
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Spain
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I do what the manual says: Compass Calibration only when Prompted by DJI GO4 App
2018-5-5
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DMX_MLT
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msinger Posted at 2018-5-5 11:36
There's no need to calibrate the compass before each flight. However, if you choose to do it, you won't hurt anything. For best practices, check out the Spark Compass Calibration Guide.

For your pre-flight, it would be better to do this instead:

Dear msinger,

I didnt know you must put the Spark on the Ground, I thought you need to Hover it ! Thank you so much, I just watched the Video on the Guide which was really helpful about the PreFlight List, right now I am jotting down every note on my little diary I carry with me, as first I need to start reading procedures before it getting in my head and natural to remember.

I worry a lot that I do something wrong, but Talking to You is always a 1 less headache as you explain so much in detail and too the Point ! I really am Obligated as always towards You ! Thank You so much once again !

2018-5-5
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DMX_MLT
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Ram-UK Posted at 2018-5-5 11:57
I don’t do compass calibration even if the DJI Go app prompts unless I am in a interference free area. If I get a compass error I moved to another place and check it again.

Never had any problem so far.

Isnt that a bit risky ? If you are Prompted to Calibrate and you Ignore it ?

I think keeping in mind the VLOS is important too as I noted in Msinger's Guide. I know it kind of limited, but even if something happens, you can do an Emergency Landing at a PreDefined Spot and go pick the Drone. If you are KMs away its very hard to find.
2018-5-5
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DMX_MLT
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Aurelian (Spark) Posted at 2018-5-5 12:50
I do what the manual says: Compass Calibration only when Prompted by DJI GO4 App

Thank you Aurelian for your Response. When you say you do Calibration only when Prompted, you mean while your Spark is in Hover Mode and while you are Flying at some distance ?

If you are flying at some distance away, you return, do the Calibration, check everything is Set, and get back in the Air ?

Thank you so much as Always Aurelian.

2018-5-5
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Ram-UK
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DMX_MLT Posted at 2018-5-5 14:47
Isnt that a bit risky ? If you are Prompted ?

I think keeping in mind the VLOS is important too as I noted in Msinger's Guide. I know it kind of limited, but even if something happens, you can do an Emergency Landing at a PreDefined Spot and go pick the Drone. If you are KMs away its very hard to find.

Compass calibration is a trickier thing. Always better to move away and check it again in another location before calibrate your compass. It's riskier to calibrate the compass in an area where there is interference.

If I couldn't resolve the compass error issue then I would abort the plan altogether and come back another day.

I always fly within VLOS and I can't affort to lose it.

2018-5-5
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davidmartingraf
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I first started out doing compass calibrations each time before I flied and began reading on the boards how it's only required when prompted by the application. Now I only calibrate the compass whenever I fly somewhere new or whenever the app asks me to.
2018-5-5
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fansa7dc5944
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Compass calibration may not guarantee that your Aircraft will not fly away. One common serious mistake the pilot did was hitting the RTH in hope for the aircraft to return to the takeoff location by itsself, which it will not ever. Do the calibration is good but as stated in the manual, only when you are asked to do. First try moving the aircraft to different location. If the compass calibration message still appear then try another. Let compass calibration be the final one.
2018-5-5
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Flighty
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I only do a calibration if prompted, which so far has never happened. I have flown in three different countries, without having to do any recalibration.. do as the manual advises..
2018-5-5
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JimboHUN
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Just one note - if you have no RC you won't be able to check the little red arrow as the map/compass view is apparently not available when you are flying without a remote. Though in the menu you can check sensor state.
2018-5-5
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DMX_MLT
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Ram-UK Posted at 2018-5-5 16:53
Compass calibration is a trickier thing. Always better to move away and check it again in another location before calibrate your compass. It's riskier to calibrate the compass in an area where there is interference.

If I couldn't resolve the compass error issue then I would abort the plan altogether and come back another day.

You comment Really made Sense Ram-UK.

I agree with you 100%. As I am learning, you mean that maybe the Errors are showing up due to the Area, not because of the Spark's Internal Compass got Uncalibrated.

So if the Area has cause the Errors, would this effect the Spark Compass, what I mean is will the Spark lose its Calibration even if you go to a Better Area with No Interference ?

And last question is, regarding this Situation, you can be Flying in an Area where there will be a Compass Interference ? Whats best to do, rush home, land, or continue flying ? As these Errors really make me Scared.

Thank you so much for this Point too !
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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davidmartingraf Posted at 2018-5-5 19:25
I first started out doing compass calibrations each time before I flied and began reading on the boards how it's only required when prompted by the application. Now I only calibrate the compass whenever I fly somewhere new or whenever the app asks me to.

Thanks David !

Yes I will do exactly as you suggested.

When you say you fly somewhere new, I live in Malta, its an island in the Mediterranean and only few Kilometres - 27km x 14.5km, I will fly the drone at different locations, so for example I go film at Point A and Point B is 2km apart. Do I need to Re Calibrate it Dave ?

2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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fansa7dc5944 Posted at 2018-5-5 22:01
Compass calibration may not guarantee that your Aircraft will not fly away. One common serious mistake the pilot did was hitting the RTH in hope for the aircraft to return to the takeoff location by itsself, which it will not ever. Do the calibration is good but as stated in the manual, only when you are asked to do. First try moving the aircraft to different location. If the compass calibration message still appear then try another. Let compass calibration be the final one.

Thank you Fansa !

I got a bit mixed up as most people here do Compass Calibration when Prompted, after checking that locations has no interference, as you are saying, but last time a DJI Moderator told me its Good to do it everytime before Flying. So it got me Confused.

Thank you so much for the Help !
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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Flighty Posted at 2018-5-5 22:50
I only do a calibration if prompted, which so far has never happened. I have flown in three different countries, without having to do any recalibration.. do as the manual advises..

Hey Flighty !

Thank you for the response, when you say you are Prompted, what does the DJI GO4 App prompt you exactly ?

Will it say - Compass Error, Please Calibrate ?

So if I learned well, 99% wont be the problem of the Spark, but the Interference of the Area ? As I said before I am afraid that the Spark get the Error you are talking about, Freaks out, and I cannot control it in the Air.
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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Dear Guys,

Lets summarize a bit. You all know me that I type a lot.

So if Prompted in the Air, best is to land, change area, and check if Prompted again. I am going to keep the Drone in VLOS (Line of Sight) first of all because of the  Rulese here in Malta, and secondly to know whats surrounding the Drone,  and thirdly just in case of an Emergency Landing, I will be watching  where it landed.

When change location, do you mean you go really far like walk for 15mins and check again for Interference ? Is there some instrument, like I can carry with me, that can tell me if there is Magnetic Interference that may be causing Compass issues ?

Also I have 3 Phones I carry with me. A watch, belt and ring.
Do I need to switch off the other two phones, or just completely turn off their WIFI / Bluetooth ? If I have a Watch a Ring, do I need to leave them in my truck ? or I can wear them while Flying the Drone ?

Sorry for a Million questions but I am just afraid of doing a Stupid Mistake !
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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JimboHUN Posted at 2018-5-5 23:50
Just one note - if you have no RC you won't be able to check the little red arrow as the map/compass view is apparently not available when you are flying without a remote. Though in the menu you can check sensor state.

Hello Jimbo,

Thanks for the advise !

I bought a Flymore Combo, so I have 1 extra battery and remote too which I am planning to use with DJI's OTG Cables to my Iphone 7+.

Cheers for pointing this out ! I didnt know about it.
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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msinger Posted at 2018-5-5 11:36
There's no need to calibrate the compass before each flight. However, if you choose to do it, you won't hurt anything. For best practices, check out the Spark Compass Calibration Guide.

For your pre-flight, it would be better to do this instead:

Dear Msinger,

When you said -

''That pre-flight check will allow verify whether or not the Spark's compass is being negatively affected by a nearby magnetic metal object. DJI GO will often warn you when the Spark is too close to a magnetic metal object, but it sometimes does not display a message.''

Does the DJI GO4 app give you different Errors -

1) Error that Spark Compass has to Be Calibrated
2) Error that the Area you are in has lots of Interference

By this I mean, lets say I put the Drone down, as you explained, and check the Red Icon Pointing in same direction as the Front of the Drone. How will I know if the Error is coming from the Area (Magnetic Interference) or the Spark (lost its Calibration) ?

Will the Errors be different ? Eg. The App will tell you, ''Sensing Magnetic Interference in the Area''.

I dont think the App sense from where the Interference is coming from right ? So I asked Flighty if I change area do I need to walk away a lot ?
2018-5-6
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msinger
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If the Spark detects magnetic interference, you'll see a message in DJI GO telling you that it's detecting magnetic interference. If you see that message, it's a sign that you need to move your Spark. If it's on the ground, lift it 4+ feet into the air to see if the message goes away. If it does go away, there is some type of magnetic interference near the ground.

I've never seen the Spark prompt to calibrate the compass. It only seems to display a message when it's being affected by magnetic interference.
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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msinger Posted at 2018-5-6 02:44
If the Spark detects magnetic interference, you'll see a message in DJI GO telling you that it's detecting magnetic interference. If you see that message, it's a sign that you need to move your Spark. If it's on the ground, lift it 4+ feet into the air to see if the message goes away. If it does go away, there is some type of magnetic interference near the ground.

I've never seen the Spark prompt to calibrate the compass. It only seems to display a message when it's being affected by magnetic interference.

Thank you Msinger, will certainly do as you tell me.

Just in case I be in a flight, and the Spark gives me this Error of Magnetic Interference, will it switch to ATTI Mode ?

In ATTI Mode only the GPS is lost ? Compass and IMU still will work please ?

I read that in ATTI mode the Spark wont have the Functions of keeping its position with the Help of GPS, and the flyaways are usually the Spark being drifted by the Wind.

During ATTI Mode I can still control the Spark with Remote right ? What if I am in ATTI mode and I lose connection with the Spark, meaning the Phone wont display the image, will my Manuevers with the Remote be still receive by the Spark ? I think thats when VLOS plays the important role, as you can return the Spark at home just using the Remote right ?

I need to watch some instructional videos on this, until I get it all in my mind, as I dont want an Emergency Situation to happen and I am in Doubt what to do. If you have some good videos post them to me Msinger please ! I told DJI Diana how much you care for helping everyone here.
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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I found this -

2018-5-6
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hallmark007
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https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... &fromuid=260008
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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hallmark007 Posted at 2018-5-6 03:48
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=104222&fromuid=260008

Thank you Hallmark ! I will read it too. The more information I have the better prepared I will be.

2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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I even Printed it out, so I can write it in my Small Notebook I take with me.

Your Instructions are SPOT ON ! I was planning the Flight Checklist and this will REALLY Help Me !

I asked a question regarding the ATTI Mode. Let me find it and send type it here 1 minute please -

''Just in case I be in a flight, and the Spark gives me this Error of Magnetic Interference, will it switch to ATTI Mode ?

In ATTI Mode only the GPS is lost ? Compass and IMU still will work please ?

I  read that in ATTI mode the Spark wont have the Functions of keeping its  position with the Help of GPS, and the flyaways are usually the Spark  being drifted by the Wind.

During ATTI Mode I can still control  the Spark with Remote right ? What if I am in ATTI mode and I lose  connection with the Spark, meaning the Phone wont display the image,  will my Manuevers with the Remote be still receive by the Spark ? I  think thats when VLOS plays the important role, as you can return the  Spark at home just using the Remote right ?''

2018-5-6
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Aurelian (Spark)
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DMX_MLT Posted at 2018-5-5 14:49
Thank you Aurelian for your Response. When you say you do Calibration only when Prompted, you mean while your Spark is in Hover Mode and while you are Flying at some distance ?

If you are flying at some distance away, you return, do the Calibration, check everything is Set, and get back in the Air ?

I have been flying for 6 hours and until now I have received the message to calibrate the compass 2 or 3 times, but only at home. But it's normal, because of the interference that there is in each house, television, routers, cables, electronic devices ... But being outside, until now I have never received the message to calibrate the compass, and I also fly near buildings, bridges, electricity towers...
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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Aurelian (Spark) Posted at 2018-5-6 03:55
I have been flying for 6 hours and until now I have received the message to calibrate the compass 2 or 3 times, but only at home. But it's normal, because of the interference that there is in each house, television, routers, cables, electronic devices ... But being outside, until now I have never received the message to calibrate the compass, and I also fly near buildings, bridges, electricity towers...

Thank you Aurelian, you are ALL Real Friends ! You cant imagine the Help I get from Friends like you Guys !

BIG THANK YOU for helping a Beginner like me.

Sorry I look afraid sometimes to Fly, but I dont have so much confidence, to get the Permits here it took me 3-4 Weeks and it was very hard. New Laws in Malta make it very difficult to Fly, so I need to be well informed before taking off this Little Aircraft. I need to have more self confidence though.

I don't aim to use the Aircraft indoors as I will use it outside for Photos / Videos. I will follow your suggestions Aurelian, and start to worry a bit less. When I have doubts I ask, as I am that kind of person that if afraid of doing a Grave Mistake. So I am always on the Precaution Side of Life.

Thank you all with the Help and also DJI who support me, my dream is becoming a Reality !

I love you Guys !
2018-5-6
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rimza
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Ram-UK Posted at 2018-5-5 11:57
I don’t do compass calibration even if the DJI Go app prompts unless I am in a interference free area. If I get a compass error I moved to another place and check it again.

Never had any problem so far.

Yes that is the action to take.
2018-5-6
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msinger
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DMX_MLT Posted at 2018-5-6 02:55
Thank you Msinger, will certainly do as you tell me.

Just in case I be in a flight, and the Spark gives me this Error of Magnetic Interference, will it switch to ATTI Mode ?

If you take off after the compass has been negatively affected by magnetic interference, the Spark will eventually switch to ATTI mode. The controls might not function as expected though and it might lead to a crash. The best you could do is descend and get your Spark to the ground as quickly as possible. And it would be even better to make sure you do the checks I suggested above so you don't get caught in this unfortunate situation.
2018-5-6
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Ram-UK
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DMX_MLT Posted at 2018-5-6 01:27
You comment Really made Sense Ram-UK.

I agree with you 100%. As I am learning, you mean that maybe the Errors are showing up due to the Area, not because of the Spark's Internal Compass got Uncalibrated.

Spark doesn’t like any interferences and even if you move a small piece of metal closure to it will upset it. But if you move away it will be happier again. You can check this in the menu of the DJI app.

If I see any message about compass or wi-fi I would bring it down and check before flying again. I have done a test flight inside a bunker with heavy rebar and scaffolding to see how Spark react.

I always fly in sports mode. It gives me more control. If you can fly your drone in Atti mode flawlessly it could help you prevent fly aways.


If you encounter any interference it’s better to bring the drone down.
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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msinger Posted at 2018-5-6 04:57
If you take off after the compass has been negatively affected by magnetic interference, the Spark will eventually switch to ATTI mode. The controls might not function as expected though and it might lead to a crash. The best you could do is descend and get your Spark to the ground as quickly as possible. And it would be even better to make sure you do the checks I suggested above so you don't get caught in this unfortunate situation.

Agree with you MSinger.

In ATTI Mode the Drone may be drifting with the Wind and cannot keep a Stable Location right ?

So  I will do my best to land it as you Instructed. I will surely do the  PreFlight Compass Check on the Ground, also Hallmark even send me a  PreFlight Hovering Procedure to do - Let me Post it here to help  Beginners like me.

For your Pre-Flight, it would be better to do this: <-- Thank You MSinger !


  • Sit your Spark on the ground and power it on
  • Open DJI GO and verify the red aircraft symbol on the map is pointing in the same direction as the Spark on the ground
  • Make sure the red aircraft symbol on the map is not slowly rotating


Tip To Help Avoid compass interference and crash: <-- Thank You Hallmark !

1/ Never calibrate Compass unless prompted to.

2/ start AC leave until you receive enough gps lock ,

3/ if you get Compass interference turn off AC and move to another location,
without interference.

  4/ In bottom left hand corner on your map you will see small  red  triangle, check to make sure that this triangle is pointing in the  same  direction (heading) as your AC, this will show good compass on  the  ground.

Raise AC to height of 8ft
Hover for 20 seconds
Fly forward 2ft
Backward 2ft
Left 2ft
Right 2ft
Up 2ft
Down 2ft
Yaw left
Yaw right
Each time returning to hover position
If you have a good horizontal each time, you will then know you have good GPS good IMU and good Compass, and your ready to fly.

This exercise takes less than 2 minutes and is worthwhile doing before every flight.
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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msinger Posted at 2018-5-6 04:57
If you take off after the compass has been negatively affected by magnetic interference, the Spark will eventually switch to ATTI mode. The controls might not function as expected though and it might lead to a crash. The best you could do is descend and get your Spark to the ground as quickly as possible. And it would be even better to make sure you do the checks I suggested above so you don't get caught in this unfortunate situation.

Msinger, when the Spark goes ATTI Mode and may cause a Flyaway, it is because - ?

1) The GPS will not Function so the Drone will be Depending on the IMU / Barometer (Barometer for Establishing Height?) only ? So it may Drift Away with Wind right ?

2) They experience a Disconnect with the Phone, so if the Drone is far away they cannot see where it is, and cant control it via the Remote only.

3) If ATTI happens, the Spark still will receive Controls from the Remote, maybe at a later latency like few seconds right ?

I need to search Videos on ATTI Modes so I be prepared for the Worst !
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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Ram-UK Posted at 2018-5-6 04:59
Spark doesn’t like any interferences and even if you move a small piece of metal closure to it will upset it. But if you move away it will be happier again. You can check this in the menu of the DJI app.

If I see any message about compass or wi-fi I would bring it down and check before flying again. I have done a test flight inside a bunker with heavy rebar and scaffolding to see how Spark react.

Hello Ram !

When you say Sport Mode it is like ATTI Mode ?

GPS wont work ?

I think the Golden Rule for ATTI is too keep in Line of Sight, as if your Spark gets a few seconds disconnects you will not be able to see where it is, and maybe crash in something.

I await your suggestions.

Darryl
2018-5-6
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Aurelian (Spark)
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DMX_MLT Posted at 2018-5-6 03:59
Thank you Aurelian, you are ALL Real Friends ! You cant imagine the Help I get from Friends like you Guys !

BIG THANK YOU for helping a Beginner like me.

To fly your drone you have to follow a few simple steps:
1. Fly in good weather
2. Respect all messages that DJI Go application send it to you, if there is any warning message do not ignore it and bring back your aircraft immediately, or fly with caution
3. Before taking off try to plan your flight, where you want to fly, what photos and videos you want to take...
4. Do not take the battery to the limit, I prefer to return with a little more battery than to return with the battery to the limit
5. Before starting to fly, check that you have enough satellite and that RTH is setup properly
6. Respect the laws and legislation of the country where you will fly your drone
7. Respect the people privacy right and try to not disturb them

And finally, enjoy your flight!
2018-5-6
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davidmartingraf
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DMX_MLT Posted at 2018-5-6 01:32
Thanks David !

Yes I will do exactly as you suggested.

You don't have to, but I just think if there's a relatively new take-off point and you're not sure of the metal composition, then it's usually always best to calibrate to make sure.

I fly usually from the same take-off locations and know from experience that the drones do not have conflicts with these areas.

My sister's house for example has metal composition, the house was just built last year, and there are only a handful of best places to take-off, however if I fly there then I always do a compass calibration.
2018-5-6
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DMX_MLT
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Aurelian (Spark) Posted at 2018-5-6 06:26
To fly your drone you have to follow a few simple steps:
1. Fly in good weather
2. Respect all messages that DJI Go application send it to you, if there is any warning message do not ignore it and bring back your aircraft immediately, or fly with caution

Thank you Aurelian !

I will print this too ! BRB let me get some Paper as the Printer is out of paper, now ! hehe

I will be needing a bigger notebook now, I have so much Useful Information from you Guys !

Thank you again Dear Aurelian !!
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Aurelian (Spark)
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DMX_MLT Posted at 2018-5-6 06:32
Thank you Aurelian !

I will print test too ! I will be needing a bigger notebook now, I have so much Useful Information from you Guys !

Your are welcome!
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DMX_MLT
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davidmartingraf Posted at 2018-5-6 06:31
You don't have to, but I just think if there's a relatively new take-off point and you're not sure of the metal composition, then it's usually always best to calibrate to make sure.

I fly usually from the same take-off locations and know from experience that the drones do not have conflicts with these areas.

Thanks for the reply Dave,

If you know that these is Metal Composition at your Sis's House, you do the Calibration away from it right ?

I will watch out about all the Suggestions you gave me, its very Clear now with all the Help I found !

Thank you so much David !
2018-5-6
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Bright Spark
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So very simple. Check the sensors before you fly.
2018-5-6
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davidmartingraf
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DMX_MLT Posted at 2018-5-6 06:42
Thanks for the reply Dave,

If you know that these is Metal Composition at your Sis's House, you do the Calibration away from it right ?

My pleasure. I've only flown a few times at my sister's house because whenever I do the DJI GO 4 Application sometimes continues prompting me to re-calibrate the compass and IMU. I once calibrated successfully however as soon as I got up in the air the Spark was reading compass error so I quickly landed. I think this is typical to the fact that that area has new construction with metal in the ground underneath? With that said, I'm always cognizant when flying in new areas to calibrate the compass because you want to ensure that the drone can RTH.
2018-5-6
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