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Flying in the Astrodome
932 28 2017-5-12
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Floreto
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I have a unique opportunity to do several interior and exterior shoots of the Astrodome in Houston Texas.  My first shoot will be this coming week and as excited as I am I'm also apprehensive because I've never flown indoors and never in a space as large as this.  I'm pretty sure I'll have to fly in Atti mode because the structure of the dome will probably block the satellite signals.  If anyone has any advice or tips on flying in a space like this please let me know and I'll make sure and post the video once I'm done!
  
2017-5-12
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RedHotPoker
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You may be pleasantly surprised to find just how strong those satellite sygnals are.
I fly in an abandoned airport hangar and usually still get over a dozen satellites finding my Phantom 3 Pro.
You could test that, before you take off, and see what if any connect.

Take it easy, and enjoy the opportunity. Good luck.

Looking forward to seeing your videos and pics. ;-)


RedHotPoker
2017-5-12
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Aeromirage
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Flight distance : 1778045 ft
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Like RHP said, you just might connect to GPS. But, I suggest you do some flying in Atti anyway to get the feel of it. Actually, all pilots should so they know what to expect if they lose GPS link in P mode.
It's kinda weird..... but kinda cool too!
Check it out!!
2017-5-12
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RedHotPoker
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Aeromirage Posted at 2017-5-12 15:25
Like RHP said, you just might connect to GPS. But, I suggest you do some flying in Atti anyway to get the feel of it. Actually, all pilots should so they know what to expect if they lose GPS link in P mode.
It's kinda weird..... but kinda cool too!
Check it out!!

Yes, practicing flying in ATTI mode is a wise suggestion. Getting used to changing stick direction to slow down and stop, or it will drift some. Thankfully, while flying indoors, there is very little air movement, that can cause havoc... ;-)


RedHotPoker
2017-5-12
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dronist
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First ask to see it you can run some test and check on the GPS. Second you have one week to fly and practice ATTI outside and in the academy. The easiest trick is to keep the P4 battery facing you. Otherwise, your reflexes will take over and you will be flying the opposite  way unless you really do practice flying in ATTI.
2017-5-12
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Nigel_
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You don't need GPS, you have VPS (Visual Positioning System) on a P4P, just fly normally, avoid any dark shadows and set the RTH low enough not to hit anything if you do get GPS.

If there is not much light then be careful and avoid darker areas since it may drop into Atti mode unexpectedly which could be very hard to deal with.
2017-5-13
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Rodger8
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The GPS system may work as spoken above. You have GPS and GLONASS working for you. Still be ready to use ATTI and go nice and easy. Fly to your desired angle for your shot using your camera and give Tripod Mode a go. The obstacle avoidance works very well on the P4P. I have had mine kick in near a 1/8" branch.
2017-5-13
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Floreto
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What about geofencing, this is in class B airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet will the app allow me to fly?
2017-5-13
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theGrindLab.com
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Watch for thin cables/wires you cannot see from ground level.
2017-5-13
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14jnewmy14
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-13 09:40
What about geofencing, this is in class B airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet will the app allow me to fly?

You have time before you have to fly, if you have paperwork approving the flight you can contact DJI and they can set it so you can fly, you'll have a 72hour window to fly I believe. They just had a video on how to do this.
2017-5-13
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Nigel_
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-13 09:40
What about geofencing, this is in class B airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet will the app allow me to fly?

For indoors, your flight is not regulated so you can ignore any restrictions.  You may need to cover the GPS antenna so that the aircraft doesn't take control.
2017-5-13
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Floreto
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14jnewmy14 Posted at 2017-5-13 18:15
You have time before you have to fly, if you have paperwork approving the flight you can contact DJI and they can set it so you can fly, you'll have a 72hour window to fly I believe. They just had a video on how to do this.

I'm flying indoors but it might as well be outside as far as the drone knows, who do I contact?
2017-5-14
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14jnewmy14
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-14 07:24
I'm flying indoors but it might as well be outside as far as the drone knows, who do I contact?

Im teying to remember where i saw it, but i remember it said to contact dji support and they will set up a 72 hour window for you, you can do it online as well but that only biys you a 24 hour window. I think the video was on the phantom 4 pro video section but i cant say gor sure.
2017-5-14
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14jnewmy14
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-14 07:24
I'm flying indoors but it might as well be outside as far as the drone knows, who do I contact?

I have the video saved, i will get the link for you when I get home
2017-5-14
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14jnewmy14
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-5-13 22:52
For indoors, your flight is not regulated so you can ignore any restrictions.  You may need to cover the GPS antenna so that the aircraft doesn't take control.

The drone wont care if your inside or outside. If your in a area your not allowed to fly you wont be able to.
2017-5-14
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TPVAerials
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A little off subject, but will you be able to post photo/video of your project here?
2017-5-14
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14jnewmy14
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-14 07:24
I'm flying indoors but it might as well be outside as far as the drone knows, who do I contact?

Here is the link that you need to watch that will show you the steps to unlock restricted airspace if you are authorized to fly there. Hope this helps.


2017-5-15
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Antonio76
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-13 09:40
What about geofencing, this is in class B airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet will the app allow me to fly?

I think you'll be OK. You won't need to unlock, just "to fly with caution"   (it is a warning zone, not an enhanced warning zone). from the DJI geo map:  ( http://www.dji.com/flysafe/geo-system/map  )
astrodome.png
2017-5-15
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DJI-Jamie
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You should check the GeoSystem map on the DJI Website to make sure whether or not the area is in a NFZ. If it is and you're unable to unlock via the Go app, try contacting flysafe@dji.com for further assistance.
2017-5-15
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Floreto
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So I'm at the location right now and the Drone won't let me fly. I called DJI tech support and the best they can do is have me send an email to a certain address asking for authorization. They promised 24 to 48-hour turnaround which is ridiculous. So I'm basically screwed until I hear back from them which maybe today or two days from now. Needless to say doesn't look good professionally. DJI should have an established system for gaining authorization in situations like this.
2017-5-16
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Floreto
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For anyone interested I was able to  take off but within about a minute the drone would automatically land, I was also getting messages about strong magnetic interference.   A few other things were happening that were strange, when I was able to fly about half the time it would raise up to a height of about 25 feet and say it had reached its maximum altitude.  I checked to see if the max altitude setting had been changed but it was still set to 400 feet so I don't know why it was doing this.  I was also periodically getting a message saying the firmware on the controller was mismatched and I need to update it, I've used it several times since my last update and this is the first time I've seen this message.  Any ideas as to what's going on?   
2017-5-16
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Antonio76
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-16 09:50
For anyone interested I was able to  take off but within about a minute the drone would automatically land, I was also getting messages about strong magnetic interference.   A few other things were happening that were strange, when I was able to fly about half the time it would raise up to a height of about 25 feet and say it had reached its maximum altitude.  I checked to see if the max altitude setting had been changed but it was still set to 400 feet so I don't know why it was doing this.  I was also periodically getting a message saying the firmware on the controller was mismatched and I need to update it, I've used it several times since my last update and this is the first time I've seen this message.  Any ideas as to what's going on?

from another thread, Labroides wrote this:
"From p55 of the manual:
Height is restricted to 26 feet (8 meters) when the GPS signal is weak and Vision Positioning is activated.
Height is restricted to 98 feet (30 meters) when the GPS signal is weak and Vision Positioning is inactivated.
The solution - turn off VPS."
(actually it is page 54 , at least in my downloaded pdf file for the P4P owner's manual)
2017-5-16
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Floreto
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That explains what was happening, this applies to P-mode but I wonder if you switch to Atti mode if that will allow you to go higher than 98 feet?
2017-5-16
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Antonio76
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-16 10:54
That explains what was happening, this applies to P-mode but I wonder if you switch to Atti mode if that will allow you to go higher than 98 feet?

The answer is in the manual       (page 53)
2017-5-16
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Floreto
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If it were a snake it would have bitten me!  {:4_177:}
2017-5-16
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Floreto
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I finally heard back from DJI about authorization, this is what they said about the Astrodome's location.

Checking no-fly zones via below map, we find it is a fly zone and the aircraft which supports GEO system should be ok to fly here.
http://www.dji.com/flysafe/geo-system/map

If I hadn't already been there and experienced the no fly zone for myself I'd certainly take their word for it.  However since I know this can't be right I started looking at the geo-system map and noticed you can't turn on the restricted or authorization zones.  After looking through the manual (thanks Antonio76) I found a link to another DJI map called Fly Safe No Fly Zones which shows locations of restricted zones or as they term it special areas.  I'm not sure why these two maps have different terminology and why there are two maps at all that seem to do the same thing.  The representative I'm talking too doesn't seem to know this No Fly Zone map exists and I think that's pretty important given that I'm talking to the "fly safe" department that's in charge of handing out these authorizations.

http://www.dji.com/flysafe/no-fly

2017-5-17
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Antonio76
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Floreto Posted at 2017-5-17 06:29
I finally heard back from DJI about authorization, this is what they said about the Astrodome's location.

Checking no-fly zones via below map, we find it is a fly zone and the aircraft which supports GEO system should be ok to fly here.

in the map http://www.dji.com/flysafe/geo-system/map  (the same that I used and attached in my previous post)  the Restricted and Authorization areas are always "ON" You cannot turn them off. Anyway, there might be something wrong with the database they (DJI) use to determine which areas do in fact prevent the drone from flying.  In the other map http://www.dji.com/flysafe/no-fly  you visited, there is actually a new category, Special Area, and the NRG Stadium is indicated as one of them, but not the NRG Arena (being from "out of town"  I don't know which one is the Astrodome...) and I don't know  exactly why it is considered a NO FLY zone (I would think it would be NO FLY during events, but not at other times) However, it DOES NOT show on the first map, and this is absolutely weird... Other than this, I'm afraid I have no idea what to do   Hope you can find a viable solution!
Screen shot 2017-05-17 at 4.58.48 PM.png
2017-5-17
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Floreto
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Finally received my authorization from the FAA & DJI today
2017-5-24
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Floreto
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Yesterday was the single most frustrating, terrifying and rewarding drone flight I've ever had.  As I got to the site and was setting up with my instructions from DJI on how to override the geo fencing it struck me that I should have gone through this before I left, that was my first mistake.  I quickly realized that the instructions I got were wrong, none of the menu items were where they were supposed to be and in fact geo fencing was nowhere to be seen.   I immediately called tech support and explained what was going on, to my horror the guy said that they didn't handle problems with the DJI go app that he'd have to forward my case to them and they'd get back with me within 24 hours{:4_154:}.  Keep in mind this was the second time I'd been to the site to fly this job and this was after going back and forth with DJI for 1.5 weeks to figure out the problem.   After about 45 minutes it was clear I wasn't going to get any help from them and out of pure desperation I decided to do a complete restore on the P4P+ controller in the hopes it would fix whatever was wrong.  To my absolute joy when the thing came back online the red circle that designated a restricted zone was gone and I was free to fly!{:4_181:}   After that most of the flight went off as planned except for one instance where I lost contact with the drone from about 10 minutes.  Somehow the default return to home setting had been set to hover in case of signal loss.  When I finally regained control I had about 22% battery left and quickly landed.   
After all of this I'm very disappointed in the customer service I received, no one at any time seem concerned about the issues I was having.  Wrong information was given to me multiple times and in the end I had to find a solution myself.  I still haven't heard from tech support about my problem, for all they know I'm still waiting to hear back from them because I can't fly.  The biggest complaint I have is that tech support should be able to address every problem with your drone, not just the drone itself but the software that runs it.  DJI is a worldwide company and they should have properly trained staff waiting to help people 24/7, the fact that the only department that can help with these issues is in China and it takes 24 hours to get answers is unacceptable.
2017-5-26
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