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Top Ten Common Mistakes Phantom Pilots Make
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28355 69 2017-1-16
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DJI Mindy
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Every Phantom pilot worries that they might crash. Apart from damaging your drone, you could damage someone’s property or even…someone!
  
You don’t want that happening, and neither do we! That’s why we’ve put together this list of ten common mistakes Phantom Pilots make, so you can avoid making them yourself. Let’s get started.      

   top 10.png
1.    Conducting the Combination Stick Command (CSC) Midair.
    CSC.png
If you conduct the CSC, all the motors will stop after holding the sticks to the bottom inner corners for 3 seconds, with the most recent firmware. If you’re running an older firmware, stop time will be even less than that. You should only preform the CSC midair if you’re certain you’re going to crash. In most cases, stopping the motors will mitigate any damage resulting from a crash.
  
Tips: The CSC should only be used in emergencies, so don’t use the CSC when landing. Just land automatically with Return to Home or hold the throttle stick downward once the drone’s on the ground to stop the motors.
   
2.    Improperly Installed Propellers
    propellers.png
When the motors are spinning at 7000-8000 rotations per minute, correct propeller installation is a key factor to ensure a safe flight. The aircraft changes its attitude in the air all the time, and motor speed changes correspondingly. If they’re improperly installed, a propeller could spin off the motors midair. Losing a propeller could hurt you or people around you.   

Tips: Make sure the propellers are tightly installed on the corresponding motors (if you’re using quick-release propellers, make sure they’re locked). Additionally, change your propellers once they’re worn or damaged. We suggest changing propellers every 50 flights, and a set of propellers should not be used for more than 100 flights. If you haven’t used a set of propellers for more than 50 flights, but they’re over a year old, still change them, as the threads will degrade over time from exposure to air.


3.      Crashing during Failsafe Return to Home (RTH)
   RTH.png
Imagine you’re flying in the mountains. If you fly behind a tall mountain, the signal between the aircraft and your RC may be severed. Unless you set an appropriate RTH Altitude, your aircraft may crash into the mountain as the drone is returning home. Since the map in the DJI GO app is 2D, crashes like these are more likely to happen when a pilot is fixated on their device screen and not actively observing their surroundings and the drone during flight.
  
Tips: Make sure to fly in open areas with as little magnetic interference as possible, and try to avoid places with tall buildings or obstacles. If you have to fly around buildings, make sure you set your RTH Altitude higher than the tallest building in the vicinity, and make sure you have enough battery for the flight.

  
4.      Critical Low Battery Landing
   battery.png
As soon as your battery gets critically low (10% by default, but the level can be set higher), the aircraft will land automatically right where it is. If you don’t touch the sticks, the aircraft will start descending at 3 m/s. However, if the remote controller is still connected, you can still throttle up to make it hover or rise. Throttle up 70-80% to hover or push the stick greater than 80% to raise the altitude. If pushed all the way, the aircraft will rise at about 1 m/s. All other sticks will function the same as they normally do.
  
If you don’t do anything during landing, chances are the drone may land in water, bump into something on the way down, or even get lost. If you find yourself with critically low battery, be sure to maneuver the drone as best you can before it descends.
  
Tips: Avoid this situation altogether! Keep an eye on your battery level in the app for the duration a flight and land safely before your battery gets critically low.
  

5.      Failure to Avoid Obstacles Beyond Line-of-Sight

When you fly your aircraft beyond Line-of-Sight (often abbreviated as LOS), you can only see what’s surrounding your drone with the camera view in the DJI Go app. In such situations, you’re much more likely to crash.

Tips: Only fly within LOS! If you absolutely need to fly beyond LOS, make sure to have a spotter and set the RTH height higher than the tallest obstacle in the area.

  
6.      Flying Backwards Quickly

flying backwards.png
Since the cameras on all Phantoms can only face forward, it’s impossible to see what’s behind it in the camera view. There’s always a possibility of crashing if you’re gunning it backwards and staring at your phone or tablet screen.
  
Tips: Again, keep your drone within LOS and make sure there’s nothing behind it.

  
7.      Indoor Drifting
    indoor.png
A lot of new pilots like testing their drones indoors. However, due to a lack of GPS signal, the drone is much more likely to drift. Even with the VPS active, many floors are monochrome, which makes it hard for the VPS to detect surface patterns and stabilize accordingly. Additionally, many floors are carpeted. Carpet absorbs ultrasound, and DJI drones use ultrasonic sensors to stabilize.

Tips: Don’t practice indoors! Practice in the DJI GO Flight Simulator or an open area.
  
  
8. Misoperation during RTH
  
A lot of users don’t understand how exactly RTH works and wonder why their drone landed instead of returning to the home point or why RTH was cancelled all of a sudden.
  
Tips: First of all, if you command a DJI drone to return to home within 20 meters of the home point, the aircraft will land right where it is instead of rising up to the RTH height and returning to the home point.
Second, the aircraft will rise to the RTH height you set in the app if it’s lower than that height before function is triggered. 20 meters is lowest RTH height you can set. However, if you press the RTH button quickly, you will cancel the whole RTH process. To initiate RTH again, long press the RTH button for 3 seconds.

RTH height.png


9. Flying in Unsuitable Environments
    environments.png

There are a lot of environments that we suggest you don’t fly in:
  
·         Do not use the aircraft in severe weather conditions, including wind speeds exceeding 10m/s, snow, rain and fog.
·         Only fly in open areas. Tall or large metal structures may affect the accuracy of the onboard compass and GPS.
·         Avoid obstacles, crowds, high voltage power lines, trees and water.
·         Minimize interference by avoiding areas with high levels of electromagnetism, including base stations and radio transmission towers.
·         Aircraft and battery performance is subject to environmental factors such as air pressure and temperature. Be very careful when flying at altitudes greater than 19685 feet (6000 meters) above sea level, as the performance of battery and aircraft may be affected.
·         Additionally, all Phantom series aircraft cannot be operated in Polar Regions in P mode.

  
10. Crashing after Braking

Say you’re flying really fast, and all of a sudden, you realize there’s an obstacle in front of your Phantom. Even if you stop pushing the aircraft forward, it will still drift forward a bit due to inertia. Lots of drones crash in such circumstances.

Tips: Remember that it takes time for your drone to brake and keep a safe distance from obstacles.

Thanks for reading everyone! If your DJI drone has obstacle avoidance, like the Phantom 4 or Inspire 2, you may be able to avoid some of the issues discussed in the article. However, even with obstacle avoidance, there are still some potential issues you should be aware of. We’ll discuss those in a future article. Follow DJI Support on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for more tips, tricks, and advice!
2017-1-16
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birdingbilly
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Helpful but needs updating to reflect capabilities/features of P4 and P4P etc
2017-1-16
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Untheory
lvl.3
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Thank you !
2017-1-16
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tokenbrit
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"If you haven’t used a set of propellers for more than 50 flights, but they’re over a year old, still change them, as the threads will degrade over time from exposure to air."



I have been flying my P4 for a year now, no crashes and the props seem perfect  But based on the advice above I thought maybe it's time to replace them - I have an unused spare set which I purchased at the same time I bought the P4 - does this mean their shelf life has also expired?
2017-1-16
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P4P+
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tokenbrit Posted at 2017-1-16 15:03
"If you haven’t used a set of propellers for more than 50 flights, but they’re over a year old, still change them, as the threads will degrade over time from exposure to air."

No one follows that rule. Air makes them deteriorate? I thought the Phantom was made out of the same plastic that the propellers were made out of.
2017-1-16
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CoyoteDrone
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Thank you for the editorial !! Its very helpful.
2017-1-16
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trance728-
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P4P+ Posted at 2017-1-16 16:06
No one follows that rule. Air makes them deteriorate? I thought the Phantom was made out of the same plastic that the propellers were made out of.

Sounds like a ploy to get you to buy more propellers.

If they are subject to air degradation, why are they not sealed when new? How are you supposed to know how old a set of propellers you purchased even are? It's not like they have dates printed on them.
2017-1-16
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sky wombat
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You forgot -Rule One,  Read the Instructions and yep I was guilty of that as well. Amazing what I found out including how to start the P3P all good now but.
2017-1-17
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FuZZyPiLOT
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Thanks for the helpful tips
2017-1-17
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Kneepuck
Captain
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For a minute there, I thought the secret information on the RTH inside 20 meter landing in place mystery was about too make its public debut.....
2017-1-17
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50mmtorres
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Yeah learned about the crashing while breaking part the hard way.  Lol
2017-1-18
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Saskebaby
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Daghang Salamat (Thank you), DJI Mindy
2017-1-20
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DRONE NATION
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Very Helpful. Thank You.
2017-1-22
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A1000
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Very useful
2017-1-22
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studiofriday
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Thanks for the tips!

Im a bit surprised at the wind speed - not exceeding 10m/s (36km/hr) that seems pretty windy?
2017-1-23
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rungel
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Thank you
2017-1-25
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Spacetrakker
First Officer
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Some good advice. I personally try to avoid flying in winds above 30 Km per hour as this often accompanied by gusts of over 40 Km per hour !

Thanks Mindy
2017-1-25
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R&L Aerial
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#8 would not be an issue if DJI would leave your RTH altitude alone when upgrading the app. I have RTH set at 50 meter because trees in my area are 30 meters tall. Every time I update the app it resets RTH altitude back to 30 meters and gives you no notification that RTH altitude has been reset.
2017-1-26
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Prem Charma
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Vietnam
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My P3S crashed in to water from below 20 meter altitude within a week! I was trying to do the manual landing soon after the DJI GO app stopped working in my MI 3S. Don't know how DJI and my seller deal with the "After sale service" offered
2017-1-27
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robd0gg
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tokenbrit Posted at 2017-1-16 15:03
"If you haven’t used a set of propellers for more than 50 flights, but they’re over a year old, still change them, as the threads will degrade over time from exposure to air."

Props are subject to a lot of stress from the constant loading and unloading and they will flex quite a bit while flying, so after a while they probably become less effective at producing lift and maintaining shape as they move through the air
2017-1-27
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SkyerUAS
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Quote -"We suggest changing propellers every 50 flights, and a set of propellers should not be used for more than 100 flights. If you haven’t used a set of propellers for more than 50 flights, but they’re over a year old, still change them, as the threads will degrade over time from exposure to air."-

I'd like to understand why the recomended prop replacement interval is based on flights instead of flight time. If the concern is the cumulative stress fatigue on the props, the wear rate would be paced  by the duration and intensity of the stress, which are linked to flight times and types of flight profiles/maneuvers (i.e. aggressive flying/braking vs. hovering or  smooth movements). Recognizing that operating conditions are many and varied, I suppose DJI may be using the average air  time per flight they see from the telemetry data that the DJI GO app collects, but given that it also records flight time, it seems it would be more appropriate to have a recommended interval based on flight time, with a plus/minus range based on mission profiles.

I'm even more curious about the "1 year" calendar interval, since it seems highly unlikely that the materials used to build these props would be prone to considerable decay over just 12 months, providing of course they are stored properly. Air alone doesn't erode plastic or carbon fiber.

As you well know, these drones are aircraft, and in aviation it is critical (and in most instances mandatory) to track life-limited parts, so any input from DJI's engineering will be greatly appreciated!

SKYER
“Fly your drone as though you were flying in it yourself…”
See aerial short films at my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC304REG4t2_OWJmQDHLvQ2w
2017-1-28
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stage_wright
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This is a really great read for a beginning P3A user! Thank you!
2017-1-28
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Skydiverjim
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Thank you, very good points
2017-1-28
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vr-pilot
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SkyerUAS Posted at 2017-1-28 07:34
Quote -"We suggest changing propellers every 50 flights, and a set of propellers should not be used for more than 100 flights. If you haven’t used a set of propellers for more than 50 flights, but they’re over a year old, still change them, as the threads will degrade over time from exposure to air."-

I'd like to understand why the recomended prop replacement interval is based on flights instead of flight time. If the concern is the cumulative stress fatigue on the props, the wear rate would be paced  by the duration and intensity of the stress, which are linked to flight times and types of flight profiles/maneuvers (i.e. aggressive flying/braking vs. hovering or  smooth movements). Recognizing that operating conditions are many and varied, I suppose DJI may be using the average air  time per flight they see from the telemetry data that the DJI GO app collects, but given that it also records flight time, it seems it would be more appropriate to have a recommended interval based on flight time, with a plus/minus range based on mission profiles.

By saying (quote)
"As you well know, these drones are aircraft, and in aviation it is critical (and in most instances mandatory) to track life-limited parts, so any input from DJI's engineering will be greatly appreciated!"
(unquote) you mention a good point here.
I also came to this question last year:
http://forum.dji.com/forum.php?m ... &fromuid=127639

I was wandering if with 50 operational hours the time of replacing some parts would have come.
In fact only 46 hours were the limt for my P3P's shell to get cracks.

What DJI tries to implement with the props' 100 hrs maximum lifetime and the 50 hrs exchange interval is a kind of aviation "rule": replacement after the half of the expected lifetime.

From my experience with the P3P:  they don't even last 50 hrs in the air. The shell will get cracks sooner even when flying very moderately in fair weather...
2017-1-29
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SkyerUAS
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vr-pilot Posted at 2017-1-29 13:22
By saying (quote)
"As you well know, these drones are aircraft, and in aviation it is critical (and in most instances mandatory) to track life-limited parts, so any input from DJI's engineering will be greatly appreciated!"
(unquote) you mention a good point here.

Thanks for the feedback vr-pilot. That is quite an experience you went through with your P3P. I'm glad to hear that DJI's European service center took care of it relatively hassle free.

If Mindy's/DJI’s recommendation at the top of this thread referred to 50 HOURS of flight time to inspect or replace your props, it could perhaps be reasonable. My concern is that the recommendation refers to 50 FLIGHTS, which based on the way “a flight” is currently recorded can mean anything from just firing up the motors on the ground or hovering for a minute, up to 20 minutes of intensive flying maneuvers over several miles, resulting in drastically different levels of material stress. So it seems the actual flight time (which is also recorded) should be the metric used for the recommended prop replacement intervals, with a tolerance range depending on individual mission profiles (i.e. aggressive flying/braking vs. hovering or smooth movements). And as I also mentioned, the 1 year calendar period makes even less sense to me.

Ultimately, if the props are indeed life-limited parts, their inspection/replacement schedule should be substantiated and properly reflected in all technical publications (User Manual, etc.), not just posted on the forum. These drones are aircraft, and flight critical components need to be properly controlled, as was proven by the mid-flight loss of propulsion and control that you experienced by just losing one prop.

Any input from DJI's engineering will be greatly appreciated.

SKYER
“Fly your drone as though you were flying in it yourself…”
See aerial short films at my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC304REG4t2_OWJmQDHLvQ2w
2017-1-29
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WillBapta
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Never thought about changing the propellers even after not being used after awhile. Worth it for preemptive safety. Thanks for the write up!Try updating the firmware. Changing batteries. Changing chargers. I doubt it's the drone
2017-1-30
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ro_flyer
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hank you for the editorial !! Its very helpful.
2017-1-30
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KevDrones
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Thanks for the help, also make sure you fly with close to fully charged battery, I learned the hard way, with my toy quad.
2017-1-31
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kent_chris
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Excellent artical, loads of useful info! Thanks!
2017-1-31
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KevDrones
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You forgot dont fly with low battery, or even takeoff, and return home way before you need to.
2017-1-31
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299999
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very helpful
2017-2-4
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SkyShark04
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Very Helpful! Thanks For the Tips

SkyShark
2017-2-4
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Woffski
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Good info!!!
2017-2-5
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ryancairns
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helpful
2017-2-5
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Maxxgold
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Thank you!
2017-2-5
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Mike-the-cat
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trance728- Posted at 2017-1-16 23:21
Sounds like a ploy to get you to buy more propellers.

If they are subject to air degradation, why are they not sealed when new? How are you supposed to know how old a set of propellers you purchased even are? It's not like they have dates printed on them.

The physical wear and tear of going up to 7000 rpm and back to zero repeatedly.
2017-2-6
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Mike-the-cat
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SkyerUAS Posted at 2017-1-28 07:34
Quote -"We suggest changing propellers every 50 flights, and a set of propellers should not be used for more than 100 flights. If you haven’t used a set of propellers for more than 50 flights, but they’re over a year old, still change them, as the threads will degrade over time from exposure to air."-

I'd like to understand why the recomended prop replacement interval is based on flights instead of flight time. If the concern is the cumulative stress fatigue on the props, the wear rate would be paced  by the duration and intensity of the stress, which are linked to flight times and types of flight profiles/maneuvers (i.e. aggressive flying/braking vs. hovering or  smooth movements). Recognizing that operating conditions are many and varied, I suppose DJI may be using the average air  time per flight they see from the telemetry data that the DJI GO app collects, but given that it also records flight time, it seems it would be more appropriate to have a recommended interval based on flight time, with a plus/minus range based on mission profiles.

Very good points but have you ever tried to write an instruction manual for a kid with a short attention span?

That describes many newbie flyers and customers.

So I think they kept it simple.
2017-2-6
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KevDrones
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By the way what is a polar region, is it the North and South Pole?
2017-2-6
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Mike-the-cat
Captain
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Excellent tips. Should be essential reading for every Px owner.
2017-2-7
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Mike-the-cat
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KevDrones Posted at 2017-2-6 20:43
By the way what is a polar region, is it the North and South Pole?

Yes, GPS does not work at extreme latitudes. Compass problems too.
2017-2-7
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