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08/01/2022 12:22:16 AM · #1
So I finally got a drone! It is a tiny one so I hope I will be able to use it wherever it is OK to fly.

I read a lot about where I can't fly, unfortunately Chateau de Gruyere is out of bounds, too close to the local airport, the grounds of Chateau de Chillon are also prohibited but I found a public beach nearby where this restriction does not apply although the line is somewhat bleary as this part of Lake Geneva is a nature reserve.

I have been very careful not to hit anyone nor fly over private property etc. but I have already managed to lose sight of the drone which made me press RTH button. In bright daylight I cannot see this tiny drone when it is above 60m altitude and more than 100m distance. The rules are that you are not supposed to lose sight of the drone so I bought very bright pulsating LED light and stuck on the drone. Unfortunately I can see the lights only when i can see the drone so they are rather useless. Any ideas for that?

Overall I am looking for advice for a newbie flyer, what were your experiences? Things to do and things to avoid? Has anyone told you off? Have you ever lost a drone?
08/01/2022 03:33:33 AM · #2
I have one for years, and don't fly it anymore. The rules in Taiwan are very harsh. Actually there are barely places you can fly it without permit. Not in cities, not in national parks, not over people or festivals, not over coastlines, not over private property. Fines are very heavy and drone gets confiscated. There are drone jammers everywhere.
08/01/2022 03:38:59 AM · #3
and one more rule..... It is not allowed to fly from sunset to sunrise.
08/01/2022 03:54:46 AM · #4
Originally posted by GeorgesBogaert:

and one more rule..... It is not allowed to fly from sunset to sunrise.
In Switzerland it says they are not allowed at night, I hope the sunrise and sunset are OK!
08/01/2022 11:11:31 AM · #5
Relative to what you face, restrictions are more lax here. I do have trouble tracking it by eye when it gets very far. I have no good solutions for that.

I thought I lost my drone once. I had it up a few minutes and suddenly lost connection and sight of it. I had briefly lost connection for a second or two in the past, but this time that wasn't the case. I panicked and ran a few blocks to where it lost signal hoping to find it or regain the connection, but I had no luck. Dejected I returned to the takeoff spot, and there it sat. It had returned to Home just like it was supposed to.
08/01/2022 11:23:19 AM · #6
Donít fly it over the zoo

https://youtu.be/Z_zw8h4epQM

Message edited by author 2022-08-01 11:24:55.
08/01/2022 11:31:44 AM · #7
Originally posted by Janja:

Donít fly it over the zoo

https://youtu.be/Z_zw8h4epQM

I am afraid I am on the side of the chimpanzee in this case! Really stupid idea to fly in the zoo! I am pleased it had a handy branch to knock the expensive looking drone down :)
08/01/2022 11:44:10 AM · #8
Originally posted by markwiley:

Relative to what you face, restrictions are more lax here. I do have trouble tracking it by eye when it gets very far. I have no good solutions for that.

I thought I lost my drone once. I had it up a few minutes and suddenly lost connection and sight of it. I had briefly lost connection for a second or two in the past, but this time that wasn't the case. I panicked and ran a few blocks to where it lost signal hoping to find it or regain the connection, but I had no luck. Dejected I returned to the takeoff spot, and there it sat. It had returned to Home just like it was supposed to.

Good story with a happy ending :) In my case I was rather fixed to Home position hoping I will see it soon but I heard it first so I could stop RTH (Return to Home for those without drones yet) and land on the tiny landing pad I had at a time (I was in rather tall grass). I thought that tiny pad was big enough for a tiny drone but after this experience I bought a much bigger one! :)

BTW, get Mini SE, it is really affordable now so if you crash it you won't have to mortgage your house! :)
(this message was for the future drone owners :)

Message edited by author 2022-08-01 11:46:08.
08/01/2022 12:51:52 PM · #9
Regarding flying in-sight, the rule requires "line of sight" here but doesn't actually require you to prove you can see the danged thing; I certainly can't, I regularly fly half a mile or more from where I am standing. Not only that, I regularly drop below tree lines between me and the "subject", and that seems to be common also. But I am doing this where there are no people. I'd be awfully reluctant to fly below, say 100 feet in altitude when doing that, though I have been known to do so over the local swamp, which is a few hundred feet on the other side of some trees from my house. I have that place well enough plotted out that I drop down much closer to the surface sometimes.

This may not be strictly "legal" but I think the rules are there more to take care of people who abuse them in objectionable ways, that's my theory anyway. Plus, my drone has a telephoto lens as well so I can get "closer" without getting too close, if you catch my drift :-)
08/01/2022 01:00:22 PM · #10
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... Plus, my drone has a telephoto lens as well so I can get "closer" without getting too close, if you catch my drift :-)

Note to self: start saving more - get what Bear has. :-)
08/01/2022 01:26:06 PM · #11
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

.. though I have been known to do so over the local swamp, which is a few hundred feet on the other side of some trees from my house. I have that place well enough plotted out that I drop down much closer to the surface sometimes...

I have seen a video of someone flying very low over the water so I have been trying that. The big advantage on the lake is that there is little chance that the water will suddenly turn into high waves! Still, I haven't yet worked out how to be sure not to be too close to the water to avoid my drone "deciding" to land! Even in fresh water it would not be a good idea.
08/01/2022 04:30:03 PM · #12
Originally posted by MargaretNet:

I have seen a video of someone flying very low over the water so I have been trying that. The big advantage on the lake is that there is little chance that the water will suddenly turn into high waves! Still, I haven't yet worked out how to be sure not to be too close to the water to avoid my drone "deciding" to land! Even in fresh water it would not be a good idea.

Your drone has no collision avoidance, so that IS an issue for you. Go up one level and they won't let you get closer than about 3 feet to the surface in normal mode unless you're landing, which means flying only in a downward direction. With my drone, if I am flying fast and angle toward the ground it swoops up and levels off at about 3 feet. I can override that in sports mode but it scares me witless :-) The Mavic 3 will fly over 45 mph in Sport Mode...

Message edited by author 2022-08-01 16:30:17.
08/01/2022 05:59:50 PM · #13
I bought my first drone a few years ago when the Mavic 1 was out. Never had "big" accidents, never lost 1 (I've had 4 of them, all DJI drones). According to my experience rule #1 - no panic, never. If you lose connection - and I lose it a few times, I wait a little bit to have the signal back and if I don't, I know that the drone will start to go back home. When I have the connection back, I take control of the aircraft again and I know that in that area I can't go further or that I have to find a better spot to help the controller to have a better signal to send to the drone. It's very important to take off in a clean areas with a lot of space around you. If the aircraft needs to be back by itself, it has plenty of space to land. About the "line of sight" issue I totally agree with Robert - it's impossibile to see it all the time. My drone goes very far, but only when it's "safe" - no over people, no in narrow valleys where there's no signal and if it needs to come back it has way to find a clear area to move etc.

Since your drone has no anti collision systems you have to be super careful. Anyways, if you fly very close to the water surface it won't land by itself, but it won't avoid waves (which can be dangerous even with the ones with anti collision systems).

You have to learn what it's safe and what it's not, what it's easy and what it's not. You have to check if there are cables, branches and all that kind of stuff which can be difficult to see when flying. If you have doubts about a certain area, don't fly there or go there before and check before flying.
08/01/2022 08:18:08 PM · #14
Got my first drone (also a Mini) in January 2021, but upgraded to Mavic Air 2 after about a year. My main reason to upgrade: wind. Mini was constantly complaining that the wind was too strong, and it was demanding to take it down and back. Once I nearly lost it over a mountain gorge where the wind was suddenly too strong and I could not get i back until I brought it way down almost to the bottom and then took it back up along the side wall without a direct visual contact, that was nerve-wracking. Mavic Air is bigger and stronger and so far never had any of these issues. Plus the obstacle avoidance... priceless. Another time when I nearly lost my Mini (soon after I got it, and was still unwisely cavalier) is recorded in this video

08/01/2022 09:06:21 PM · #15
Key things before drone flying - check your country & local laws, as there could be many requirements around flying them legally (e.g. taking certifications, registering the drone and/or yourself as a pilot, etc), along with researching any temporary or permanent flight restrictions in the areas you're thinking of flying. DJI's apps do a reasonable job in checking some of those for you, but they're not something you should rely on to be legally correct. For example, the app shows that its OK to fly drones in the parts of NYC that aren't near airports but the local city laws now completely ban drone flights, so trusting the app to be right could get you in hot water there!

When actually flying, make sure you keep a safe distance away from people, private property, and any wildlife - that should be common sense tho! The line-of-sight rule varies from place to place as well, some require actual visual contact rather than just an uninterrupted sightline, but basically you need to be aware of the drone's surroundings in case something else is in that airspace (birds or planes in particular) or if you're getting close to trees or wires that aren't in the drone camera's field of view. A drone without any proximity sensors means you're much more likely to hit things unexpectedly if its beyond your actual visual range, so I'd recommend you fly at higher altitudes (up to around your local legal max) until you're familiar with the area, and holding back from flying that low over water until you're comfortable with the controls and how the drone acts at low level over land.

Oh, and on a creative note, its good to think of the drone as a flying camera rather than an aircraft! Use the manual exposure and shutter controls (if available) to get the shot you want as though its just a camera on a very-mobile tripod, and for video you'll want to consider the motion of the camera both as part of the drone's movements and for the gimbal too (e.g. panning the camera up while moving backwards, moving sideways with a little forwards to create an orbit, etc). Remember that it's not just about documenting the flight of the drone, its for getting interesting images or videos that you want people to engaged with, so try to avoid videos of just flying straight forwards and mix in panning shot and rotating movement, along with changes in altitude and gimbal angle for maximum effect.
08/01/2022 10:40:31 PM · #16
Originally posted by Manic:

Oh, and on a creative note, its good to think of the drone as a flying camera rather than an aircraft! Use the manual exposure and shutter controls (if available) to get the shot you want as though its just a camera on a very-mobile tripod.

That's what I wish more people realized :-) It's not *about* "flying a drone", it's about getting the camera to otherwise inaccessible positions and seeing things from a different-than-usual perspective. This is especially important for elder photographers whose mobility is getting progressively worse. Speaking for myself here, unfortunately :-(
08/02/2022 07:06:41 AM · #17
Thanks everyone. I did buy the drone for photography, 3D scanning and video but first I need to get confident with flying it :) I have two apps apart from DJI - UAV Forecast and WindCompass, both very useful for checking the wind and UAV also warns me if there aren't enough satellites. There is also an extremely useful Website for analyzing flights, I find it great for learning:
https://airdata.com/

For smooth video I bought Cinesticks:
https://eu.scottymakesstuff.com/collections/cinesticks/products/cinesticks-sc1-eu
I tried them inside the apartment and they seem to be good, I will try them tomorrow outside. I find rotation the most difficult to master without jerkiness.

There is a Swiss map that specifies "no go" areas for drones, what is difficult to find are the local restrictions. For the Chateau de Chillon the ban on drones was buried in their Website FAQ. It would be great if someone created a map that incorporates all up-to-date restrictions.

In Switzerland you do not need to register a drone that weighs less than 30kg (!) but you must have liability insurance for drones over 500g.

I am planning to get Mini 3 Pro once I am comfortable with using the drone. It has 3-directional obstacle sensing, 48 MP camera and 4K/ 60fps video plus a better controller. I will see what deals will be available on Cyber Monday :)
08/02/2022 07:23:56 AM · #18
Originally posted by MargaretNet:

... I have two apps apart from DJI - UAV Forecast and WindCompass, both very useful for checking the wind and UAV also warns me if there aren't enough satellites. ...

The DJI app on your phone/tablet/controller (whichever you use) will display the number of satellites in the upper-right of your screen. I believe the app will warn you (can't remember specifically) if the satellite coverage isn't sufficient.
08/02/2022 08:14:36 AM · #19
Originally posted by glad2badad:

Originally posted by MargaretNet:

... I have two apps apart from DJI - UAV Forecast and WindCompass, both very useful for checking the wind and UAV also warns me if there aren't enough satellites. ...

The DJI app on your phone/tablet/controller (whichever you use) will display the number of satellites in the upper-right of your screen. I believe the app will warn you (can't remember specifically) if the satellite coverage isn't sufficient.

That's when you are connected to the drone, UAV Forecast tells me that up to 3 days ahead so I can plan when to fly.
08/02/2022 08:33:24 AM · #20
Originally posted by MargaretNet:

Originally posted by glad2badad:

Originally posted by MargaretNet:

... I have two apps apart from DJI - UAV Forecast and WindCompass, both very useful for checking the wind and UAV also warns me if there aren't enough satellites. ...

The DJI app on your phone/tablet/controller (whichever you use) will display the number of satellites in the upper-right of your screen. I believe the app will warn you (can't remember specifically) if the satellite coverage isn't sufficient.

That's when you are connected to the drone, UAV Forecast tells me that up to 3 days ahead so I can plan when to fly.

Oh? Cool. I'm sure different parts of the world have different scenarios; where I fly I've not yet had an issue getting enough satellite coverage (knock on wood!).
08/02/2022 10:22:13 AM · #21
I have a question - are there controllers with joysticks that have tension profiles? What I need is a parabolic profile i.e. when you start moving the stick it gives a lot of resistance so the drone reacts slowly but when you move it further it speeds up. This was roughly the idea with Cinesticks but after trying them again today I have concluded that they are too crude.
08/02/2022 10:45:09 AM · #22
Originally posted by MargaretNet:

I have a question - are there controllers with joysticks that have tension profiles? What I need is a parabolic profile i.e. when you start moving the stick it gives a lot of resistance so the drone reacts slowly but when you move it further it speeds up. This was roughly the idea with Cinesticks but after trying them again today I have concluded that they are too crude.

Not that I'm aware of, at least not at this basic price point. There should be settings in the flight app that allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the sticks to slow down the reaction speeds and smooth out the motion, and if you have a 'cine mode' option then that should also be engaged as that'll have similar effect. Ultimately though, it'll be on you to learn to smoothen out your finger movements and make smaller adjustments.

08/02/2022 10:52:06 AM · #23
Originally posted by Manic:

Originally posted by MargaretNet:

I have a question - are there controllers with joysticks that have tension profiles? What I need is a parabolic profile i.e. when you start moving the stick it gives a lot of resistance so the drone reacts slowly but when you move it further it speeds up. This was roughly the idea with Cinesticks but after trying them again today I have concluded that they are too crude.

Not that I'm aware of, at least not at this basic price point. There should be settings in the flight app that allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the sticks to slow down the reaction speeds and smooth out the motion, and if you have a 'cine mode' option then that should also be engaged as that'll have similar effect. Ultimately though, it'll be on you to learn to smoothen out your finger movements and make smaller adjustments.

Thanks, I have Cinematic mode but it is linear. I guess nothing will replace a lot of practice :)
08/02/2022 11:04:32 AM · #24
Originally posted by MargaretNet:

Originally posted by Manic:

Originally posted by MargaretNet:

I have a question - are there controllers with joysticks that have tension profiles? What I need is a parabolic profile i.e. when you start moving the stick it gives a lot of resistance so the drone reacts slowly but when you move it further it speeds up. This was roughly the idea with Cinesticks but after trying them again today I have concluded that they are too crude.

Not that I'm aware of, at least not at this basic price point. There should be settings in the flight app that allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the sticks to slow down the reaction speeds and smooth out the motion, and if you have a 'cine mode' option then that should also be engaged as that'll have similar effect. Ultimately though, it'll be on you to learn to smoothen out your finger movements and make smaller adjustments.

Thanks, I have Cinematic mode but it is linear. I guess nothing will replace a lot of practice :)


Older drones had smoother movements, that's why Philip Bloom - the English filmmaker, asked DJI to bring back lower "tripod" speed. Until they don't do it, yes, a lot practice:

Tripod Mode
08/02/2022 11:24:07 AM · #25
Originally posted by Alex_Petrini:

.. Older drones had smoother movements, that's why Philip Bloom - the English filmmaker, asked DJI to bring back lower "tripod" speed. Until they don't do it, yes, a lot practice:

Tripod Mode

Thanks, Alessandro. I have also assumed that Tripod was just an old name for Cinematic, it is good to know that this petition might has worked and we could get slower speeds just by updating firmware/software, that will be great! :) I hope DJI does this.

PS I have just finished reading the link properly, I hope DJI does this soon and it is available for all drones.

Message edited by author 2022-08-02 11:28:32.
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