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Mavic Pro in freezing temperatures?
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47929 51 2016-10-20
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kevinelliott
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The official specifications denote that Mavic Pro can only be flown in the following temperatures:

    32° to 104° F (0° to 40° C)

This is for the aircrafit, camera, and remote controller (see http://www.dji.com/mavic/info).

However, the Inspire 1 is spec'd for the following temperatures:

   14° to 104° F (-10° to 40° C)


This allows the Inspire 1 to fly in freezing temperatures without concern. The camera is spec'd to 32F, but does operate just fine generally. I have flown in 20-30F weather many, many times. Here's a silly video I made from flying in 27F:


My concern is that if the Mavic Pro can not be flown below 32F it will render many months grounded. Some of the most beautiful scenes are in snow or colder winter temperatures. I'm not expecting to fly it anywhere below about 20F, but I am concerned about violating my warranty or causing unnecessary damage.

The reason I'm posting this is because I was rewatching the Mavic Pro announcement video and some of the demo reel contains clips of the Mavic Pro flying in a heavily snow environment (not actively snowing, just dense snow cover), which indicates to me a minimum of 32F, but more likely it was less.

Does anyone who has actually flown the Mavic Pro have any thoughts on this?

2016-10-20
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jrfehringer
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Great question. I live in Iceland where half the year it is below 0 degrees C. I would like to know the answer as well
2016-10-20
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amima
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The first flight I wanted to record with Mavic was going to be skiing in Alps, so I am very concerned about the temperature too.
Temperature below 0C killed my GoPro batteries (all of them). So I am worried about Mavic batteries. But much more I am worried about camera and gimbal. Can I damage the camera or gimbal if I fly in winter? Even misted glass could become a problem if it happens from the inside side without at opportunity to clean it later from stains.
2016-10-20
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dana5
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The documentation clearly states minimum 32F. That means 32F is the minimum temperature they say it should be flown at. Fly below that at your own risk, and blame no-one but yourself for any damage to the drone. 32F meand 32F, just like no means no. DJI is not going to chime in on this and say, "yes, we said 32F, but it's really ok to fly at -30F."

Now, let's say the temp is 45F, and it's wet and foggy. I am NOT going to fly! However, if it was 20F, and dry, and I am bringing the Mavic out from my nice, warm house or car, I may fly it for 5 minutes or so, but no longer, and it would probably be just fine. I suspect the 32F is stated because they don't want someone hiking in 20F weather, and then flying the drone when it's cold, when the BATTERY is cold. Cold temperatures have been known to destroy the intelligent batteries, that were not designed to perform in sub-freezing temperatures.

There is another problem. There are a lot of aluminum parts in the Mavic. Aluminum is an excellent conductor for temperature, and will become cold very quickly. Now, when you bring your drone in from the cold, all moisture in the air is going to immediately condense on those cold parts, specifically the camera and the motors, and they will become wet, AFTER you have been out in the dry, cold air. Moisture is the enemy for these devices. It's common sense.

With this drone costing $800 (referring to the drone alone), I don't plan on ignoring DJI's clearly stated limit of 32F. However, if you want to wreck your drone, I am sure DJI will happily sell you another for $800, as many times as you need a new one. Moisture is an obvious cause for failure, upon examining a failed drone, and they are NOT going to replace a drone that failed during use in unsuitable conditions.
2016-10-20
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kevinelliott
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dana5 Posted at 2016-10-20 21:34
The documentation clearly states minimum 32F. That means 32F is the minimum temperature they say it  ...

I disagree with you to some degree.

The other day I found several posts from 2015 and early 2016 on the Inspire board where Tahoe Ed and several other pros were discussing flying the Inspire well below it's rating of -10C (aircraft/controller) and 0C (camera), noting that it operated fine.

That is the impetus for my inquiry here.

Yes, I read the specifications (I posted them in my OP), so I'm well aware what that means. It generally means that's the range and that's that.

To be honest, I'm really surprised, because a large portion of the world gets to freezing temperatures for 3-4 months of the year, and millions of people are out in the cold in warm clothing (thus I'm not buying the "they don't want you hiking in sub 32" excuse).

I am willing to believe that aluminum or some other material reason is the issue as you suggest, especially with the battery. For the Inspire, it is recommended to use a battery heater ahead of flying if you're going to be in that temperature range.

Anyway, my point is, if the drone is 100% not suppose to be flown in sub-32F temperatures, fine, but I want to know if it will void the warranty (and is the outside temperature in the flight log), if it will void the DJI Care Refresh, etc. And if it's not really that big of a deal and can be flown a few degrees below (according to DJI folks) then I want to know that too.

You say it's common sense. But most people don't think about this. Most people don't read a tiny line on the specifications sheet and then BOOM their mind notates that they shouldn't fly it in 31F.

Now, we haven't seen the official manual yet, but if there is a large warning on a page making it clear that it shouldn't be flown outside those temperature ratings, then that will be pretty obvious and common sense kicks in.
2016-10-20
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kevinelliott
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Also, what about when we have them in our cars, turned off, but in freezing weather? Surely there will be tens of thousands of people that carry these things with them everywhere. They will be in 15-20 degree weather, but not being flown, and what is the impact there? They don't come with insulated cases so they are more exposed to the elements, even if in the official bag.

I guess my point here is that I want to start the discussion, get some official feedback, but then also see some real world experience by regular users over the next couple of months.

I'll obviously not be flying mine in freezing conditions (I have my Inspires for that), but I'm still incredibly curious. I'd love to take it on a hike in Tahoe this winter.
2016-10-20
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dana5
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I still perceive the Mavic as being a more "consumer grade" product, despite the "pro" suffix on the name. The Inspire is more of a "commercial grade" product, as I see it. The Mavic is presumably more fragile, to some degree, but has low mass on it's side, meaning it is less likely to be damaged in a fall or collision than an inspire.

The 32F minimum is probably just saying, "don't fly it when it is below freezing". I still think this is because of the aluminum above all else. Aluminum will very quickly cool (or heat) to the ambient temperature. If you are below the freezing point of water, the motors will also be below the freezing point of water, and therefor, any moisture in the air is can freeze to the motors. And like I said in my previous response, dry air is the key to preventing that. As you stated, not everyone has common sense, and I agree... So they probably just put 32F to be safe.

As for leaving it in a car, in a non-insulated case... There is a difference of it being cold, and being cold AND being turned on and flying. I work in the technology industry, today... But once upon a time, I worked at a music store, and taught guitar lessons, and worked with many bands on the road. It is well known by all professional musicians that when you are unloading your gear from the trucks, and it's very cold... You bring all the instrument cases inside FIRST, and let them slowly get to room temperature while they are still in their cases. Once the inside of the cases has adjusted to be within 20 degrees of the room, it's safe to open the case. This takes about an hour. I once knew a guy who opened the case of his early 60's Les Paul gold top, and watched in horror as the lacquer finish weather checked right in front of his eyes, devaluing the instrument by thousands of dollars, in less than 5 seconds. It's not pretty to see a grown man drop to his knees and start sobbing uncontrollably. Now, the Mavic is not going to break apart in front of you... That was just a good story to tell. But it will draw moisture to it, because the cold metal is exposed to warm humid air. It's like you come into your home in 20F weather, and your glasses immediately fog up, and why VCR's had a "dew sensor" on them, to prevent them from turning on while they were out of temperature range. (I am assuming you remember what a VCR is). And this raises an interesting point...

I suspect that is can be flown safely in temperatures below 32F, but it DOES require some of that elusive "common sense" that keeps coming up.
2016-10-20
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kevinelliott
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dana5 Posted at 2016-10-21 01:27
I still perceive the Mavic as being a more "consumer grade" product, despite the "pro" suffix on the ...

I am also in technology (20 years now), and so I'm very familiar with using devices in cold. In fact, I have never had a single consumer device stop working for me in 20 degree weather. Obviously this does not mean that the spotless record will stay flawless, and Mavic is clearly stated to be less.

My point about having the Mavic in an *off* state but in sub-32F weather was mainly to discuss the potential of damage to it during midterm transport (such as road trips, where you can not control the temperatures for the entire duration). Being exposed to say 15F for 8 hours, and then bringing it inside. I imagine the condensation would still occur, even if you hadn't used it. No insulated case is provide, so certainly you'd be smart to provide your own... but maybe you don't need it.

And of course this is a consumer product. It's listed under Consumer on the website. So is the Phantom series. It always has been. I have my Inspires for professional conditions if I want it for that. The whole point of the Mavic is convenience and flexibility.

Yes, if it turns out that 32F is a hard number, and the spec sheet is correct, and DJI is strict about this number (is recorded in the flight log, is known for being an issue, etc), then obviously many people will be unable to fly this.
2016-10-20
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Nees
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It will not fail. But batteries could suffer. Batteries always suffer in low temps. Look at a car battery   Just make sure you warm up the batteries and let the drone warm up (hover) for a few minutes before flying it.
2016-10-20
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danieleforyou
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Nees Posted at 2016-10-21 00:04
It will not fail. But batteries could suffer. Batteries always suffer in low temps. Look at a car ba ...

How do you mean with warming up batteries?
2016-10-20
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Tahoe Ed
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When we fly at low temps, we place the batteries in an insulated container and then keep them warm with a rice bag that has been heated in a microwave.  They stay warm and we take the from the container and then immediately fly.
2016-10-20
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Nees
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danieleforyou Posted at 2016-10-21 00:34
How do you mean with warming up batteries?

Get them in operation temp. Keeps them in a warm car, or bodyheat (inside pocket). A backpack with a thermal pack in. Just some ideas. So they will perform the best.

Inspires have battery heaters. Also insulators: https://store.dji.com/product/tb48-battery-insulation-sticker

With the mavic, you will need to become more creative



2016-10-20
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Nees
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You could also pull this over the Mavic. Might just fit.



2016-10-20
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msduncanrolltid
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I'm glad I live in the south.   There's better than an 80% change it will be above 32 degrees most of the winter.  lol

Any colder and I don't want to go outside to fly anyway....
2016-10-20
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kevinelliott
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Tahoe Ed Posted at 2016-10-21 07:08
When we fly at low temps, we place the batteries in an insulated container and then keep them warm w ...

Since your name is Tahoe Ed, I assume you go to or live in Tahoe. I go to Tahoe about 8-10 times a year, as often as I can. It's the only time I can unwind and relax. Seeing as the Mavic is the consumer "relaxation" drone, I expect to be hiking and exploring Tahoe with it. Do you intend to fly yours this winter?
2016-10-20
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cjmc
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There are two different specs rated. One for the battery (-10C) and one for the rest (0C)

Usually found the battery temperature dictated flying in the past.
2016-10-20
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kevinelliott
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Would still like to hear Tahoe Ed chime in about flying this in Tahoe And also still want to know about flight log and battery temperatures and warranty coverage.

As with Inspire, I'll keep the batteries warm ahead of time, hover it, fly for shorter periods of time at short distances. I don't like to risk things too much, but I expect I would have been more risky with Mavic in general but since the temp ratings are higher I have to be more careful in cold weather.
2016-10-24
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IflewbyU2
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"Now, when you bring your drone in from the cold, all moisture in the air is going to immediately condense on those cold parts, specifically the camera and the motors, and they will become wet, AFTER you have been out in the dry, cold air. Moisture is the enemy for these devices. It's common sense." Keep a big ziploc bag in your case. Before you bring your Mavic in from cold dry air into warm humid air, place it into the bag, squeeze out any extra air, zip the bag, and now it is safe to bring inside. This is an old photographer's trick. Condensation can only come from the surrounding air. Since you are only bagging it with a bit of the dry cold outside air, there is virtually no moisture inside the bag, thus nothing to condense. You may want to remove your memory card from the drone because it will need to be bagged for a while. If you keep your Mavic in a small zippered case, you may be able to just use that, but don't open it in the house for well over an hour, as the case will insulate and keep the mavic cold for a very long time.
2016-12-10
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IflewbyU2
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To me, the biggest concern with the Mavic in Winter is that three sides of the battery are exposed on three sides directly to the cold air. This could potentially cause battery failure. Pre-warming the battery is important as stated above, but with this direct cold exposure, I don't know what the limits might be, and that concerns me. I flew my P3P last Winter and learned a lot about protecting it from the cold, but the Mavic will require more testing and research, and careful documentation of the elemental conditions, to fly safely in the cold. Another big concern is that plastic arms and shells are more brittle in cold temps, most likely more susceptible to vibrations and cracking. I have aluminum motor mounts on the P3P and have avoided any cracks after almost a full year of flying. But the Mavic is a complete unknown in cold temperatures. Be careful. If anyone who makes decal skins in listening, a winter skin for Mavic batteries with a layer of insulation foam would be an excellent seller!
2016-12-10
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bantis
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I have flown my mavic at 20*F without a problem. I pre heated the mavic and battery by placing them separately on a heating vent and then inserting the battery into the mavic and turning it on for a few minutes before I went outside to make sure it got nice and warm.

The mavic got cold very fast and the heat sink was very cold to the touch even after 10 minutes of being outside. The wind was blowing slightly and with the wind chill it was about 9*F. It seemed to be ever so slightly sluggish as in response time compared to above freezing. I did notice the battery temp dropped while in flight and if I recall correctly it was 25*C.

I wouldn't hesitate to fly again in cold weather as long as I pre-heated the mavic and battery and I wouldn't want to fly for very long so that the battery isn't exposed for so long.
2016-12-10
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MAVerICk_PRO
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Hi, I have tried the Mavic yesterday for 10-15 minutes at around -5 deg. celsius with no issues other than the fact that my Iphone shot down on me because of the cold temperature.

This is something I will have to work out since I want to see what I am shooting. I have looked around on the web but could not find a solution yet other than maybe sticking hand warmers (hotshots) on the back of the phone or trying the Iphone smart battery case to provide more additional power, assuming it fits with the controller.
2016-12-11
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D_jan_i
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For the moment I have jelly problems, and I somehow fear it's coming from the low temperatures - I hope not, some further tests I have to make
2016-12-11
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D_jan_i
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MAVerICk_PRO Posted at 2016-12-11 11:32
Hi, I have tried the Mavic yesterday for 10-15 minutes at around -5 deg. celsius with no issues other than the fact that my Iphone shot down on me because of the cold temperature.

This is something I will have to work out since I want to see what I am shooting. I have looked around on the web but could not find a solution yet other than maybe sticking hand warmers (hotshots) on the back of the phone or trying the Iphone smart battery case to provide more additional power, assuming it fits with the controller.

That problem I had too, fully charged iPhone and from one second to the other shutting down - blind recording  :-)

I will try the heat packs on the back as well - I'm sure it will help
2016-12-11
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kari5
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Was -10 celcius here today, all good, just some random gps failures as usuall
2016-12-11
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VDR
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We had a low of -25C/-13F here in Calgary, AB, the other day (not accounting for a wind chill that brought it down to -33C/-28F). Out of curiosity, I took it up in the yard. The Mavic went up just fine, but, as noted when the batteries are cold they lose charge VERY quickly. This isn't unique to the Mavic, but camera batteries, your iPhone, your car and many others. Within 3-5 minutes of flight the DJI GO app sent a warning that the battery was at a critically cold point and (as I recall) return to home was advised. That was convincing enough for me.

Temperatures tomorrow are expected to be considerably warmer— -11C/10F. I can take it out again to get the exact wording of the alerts, more accurate flight times, etc, if anyone is interested, but my advice is the same either way: plan for drastically shortened flight times (or not at all). DJI's advice to not fly in freezing weather is quite likely to avoid the liability of people expecting 20 minute flight times and finding their drone falling from the sky.

Last winter I spent some time trying to chase long-exposure aurora photos with my digital camera. The batteries there would typically last 10-20 shots before being dead beyond the point of being able to warm them in my pockets or hands. Personally, in those temps I'd rather be inside.
2016-12-11
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chrisradtke
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Canada
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Hey Guys,

Just wanted to let you know I have flown the Mavic Pro in -20 C temps. I get a good 20min of flight time, but the problem I get is that the Gimble starts to act up (probably do to excessive shake). Fly time isn't the issue, shaky footage is unfortunately. Also, GPS issues at times ;). That is my experience. If anyone has experiences anything different or has a fix / suggestions to combat that let me know .
2016-12-11
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JohnPereyra
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chrisradtke Posted at 2016-12-11 20:56
Hey Guys,

Just wanted to let you know I have flown the Mavic Pro in -20 C temps. I get a good 20min of flight time, but the problem I get is that the Gimble starts to act up (probably do to excessive shake). Fly time isn't the issue, shaky footage is unfortunately. Also, GPS issues at times ;). That is my experience. If anyone has experiences anything different or has a fix / suggestions to combat that let me know .

How about trying to get those winter heating packs and attached one pack on the battery to keep it warm??  I am going to try this myself to prevent my video footage from shaking.
2016-12-12
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Whoreable
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Coldest Temp Ive flown so far is -26f, MINUS 26F

Just start with batterys warmer than 72F and you will be fine. Your Ipad/Iphone may not like being outside for that long tho..
2016-12-12
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madispuk
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I was flying Mavic with 0F (-18C), had lots of "No Signal" and "Disconnected" errors, even when the range was 30 meters, and multiple Return to Home activations because of that. Definitely not suggesting to do it. Tried with colder and warmer batteries (6degs and 20degs). As this is my first experience with drones I probably made lots of mistakes. Nice topic though, thanks! In the future I will keep my puppy safe.

Edit: Might not be because of cold. Looks like there's something wrong with two of my batteries, also get the same problems indoors.
2017-1-6
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bighi
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I've flown phantom 1, 2, 3,4 and now mavic below zero. But I draw the line at -5. It's just not pleasant holding a controller at anything colder in my opinion. I always bring them outside at 23 degrees Celsius. Room temperature, battery included. I also hover a bit for good measure. Other than that, there's nothing to it.
2017-1-6
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R&L Aerial
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The main things I do when flying in cold weather is warm battery up before flight, always have battery 100% charge and get up, take your shots and get back down
2017-1-6
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WolfgangStiller
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I have done a number of flights in pretty cold temps (a test flight down to 0F yesterday) and longer flights with good video down to 8F.  The key is to start with warm batteries (my iPhone 6 battery seems to be the most sensitive to the cold). I have found once you turn on the Mavic, the battery will stay pretty warm. The other key step is to give the camera and gimbal time to acclimate to the ambient temperature.  If you don't do this I get jitters/jello.  A good point was made above about moisture condensation when moving to the cold. I have had issues with  camera equipment in areas with higher humidity and  that can be a real problem. Fortunately, here in Colorado we generally have pretty dry air in the winter so it has never been an issue for me.



2017-1-6
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fans3d2c0c91
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I'm going to northern China in Feb to film the Ice Festival in Harbin so I've been watching this closely.  

A question came up about temp and moisture.  

What is the temp and moisture like in the baggage compartments under the plane at high altitudes and even worse high latitudes?  

Is navic safe in your checked in luggage?
2017-1-22
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HolmesFin
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2017-1-22
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Mag955i
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Thanks Bantis, I'm headed to the snow with my new Drone and greatly appreciate yours and others input. I'll give it a short pre-heated test and report back next month!
2017-1-22
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attaboy
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fans3d2c0c91 Posted at 2017-1-22 09:29
I'm going to northern China in Feb to film the Ice Festival in Harbin so I've been watching this closely.  

A question came up about temp and moisture.  

Hi, not only airlines allow you to take your drone and batteries inside the cabin, but I believe you must. Problem solved. I always fly with my drone with me in the cabin.
2017-2-9
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DRONE-flies-YOU
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fans3d2c0c91 Posted at 2017-1-22 09:29
I'm going to northern China in Feb to film the Ice Festival in Harbin so I've been watching this closely.  

A question came up about temp and moisture.  

Baggage compartments are pressurized, too.  So temperature will be ideal and humidity will be non-existent until you land and the doors are opened at .125psi differential pressure.
2017-2-9
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FuDUejcVQDVH
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fans3d2c0c91 Posted at 2017-1-22 09:29
I'm going to northern China in Feb to film the Ice Festival in Harbin so I've been watching this closely.  

A question came up about temp and moisture.  

Lithium Ion batteries are not typically allowed in checked baggage, so I would suggest bringing the batteries in your carry-on luggage. For the drone itself I suggest a Pelican travel case, they are the best.
2017-2-10
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Bradz
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i got a battery temperature warning yesterday.  I put the drone in the foot well of my car for 5 mins and blasted the heater a little, no battery warnings after that.
2017-2-10
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OhOhDrone
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I have flown in freezing temperature down to 0F before with no problems after I learned a lesson about cold batteries. When I first tried flying in cold weather the drone didn't go up beyond 20m and gave me a critical batter warning and started descending. I could only adjust where it landed but it was a forced landing. Since then I have always kept the battery warm like what other have suggested. When I ski and want to shoot footages after I am skiing, I will leave the drone in a car under an emergency blanket but keep the batteries in my innermost pocket to keep it warm. So lesson of the story, if you keep the batteries warm, you should be able to fly it in cold weather. But just keep in mind that if you do lose your drone you are not covered under the warranty because you did operated the drone outside the recommended temperature.
2017-2-10
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