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Can I land at a distant point and return?

Rick W

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Nov 10, 2018
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There is a 12 story building near me (close friend of the owner) that doesn’t have easy roof access but has a spectacular view of the Western sky. Would like to fly my Spark up onto the roof and land near the roof’s edge, shutdown the props to conserve power, take time lapsed photos of the sunset, restart the props and fly back. Is this technically possible?
 

PhantomFandom

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Jan 1, 2019
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Philadelphia
There is a 12 story building near me (close friend of the owner) that doesn’t have easy roof access but has a spectacular view of the Western sky. Would like to fly my Spark up onto the roof and land near the roof’s edge, shutdown the props to conserve power, take time lapsed photos of the sunset, restart the props and fly back. Is this technically possible?
Yes that is technically possible, with a few cautions:
  • What if you lose signal between controller and craft while the motors are off? You won't be able to start them up and get it back home.
  • What if your battery does indeed die while it is up there with motors off?
  • Since you will be over 100 feet AGL and on the edge of a building, what happens if a wind gust comes by? The Spark is very light and could be blown over.
With no technical issues, you can land, turn off the motors, and then start up again when ready.
 

Spark 317

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I'm sure it would work.

Be aware that when you land on the roof and then spin up the motors to launch again, your Home Point will reset up on the roof.

If you have a GPS enabled device, you can set the Home Point where you are at on the ground after launch and the Spark will come to you.

Make sure you have enough battery power so if you can't reset the HP, and the Spark decides to go home due to a low battery, it doesn't go up on the roof and land.

Other members may respond to correct (educate) us if I'm wrong as I fly with a WiFi only device and can't test it myself.

Do a test run in a field before leaping tall buildings with a single bound.🙂
 

ExcitingHeadgear

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An interesting but risky venture. If you maintained line of sight to the top of the building and there wasn't stray magnetic/RF interference and the landing went well and you didn't use too much battery trying to land up there safely, maybe.

How much power the Spark consumes just being on would also be a factor.

And if you land the Spark well away from the original home point, would it reset the home point? Best to test that in a safe area.

If you try it let us know, but personally between risking a $400 copter and lack of easy roof access, I think I'd pick the roof access route. :)
 

Tom Bennett

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Feb 8, 2019
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Best advice IMHO, was given earlier; try it in an easily recoverable and safe location watching you battery time closely. Remember to allow extra time for unexxpected winds aloft and get LAANC clearance because the unexpected can happen... like a security guard checking the roof and finding your bird.
 

Andre Levite

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If you are really going to attempt this I agree with a test run with easy access to retrieve your aircraft.

A sunset timelapse could take 15-20 minutes in real time plus travel time there and back. Under some conditions the battery drains even faster on the ground because fans must run continually to avoid over heating (depends on ambient temperature too). When you time the battery life on the test run make sure to record video the entire time because that greatly shortens battery life.

I'd be pleasantly surprised if the Spark has enough juice to complete the task and return home. But attempting to land on a roof that you can't see directly and can't access is the real danger. If the props touch the engine will shut down. If it overheats, disconnects it shuts down from inactivity you are done. One decent gust of wind and...
 

ExcitingHeadgear

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Don't forget with all the metal from the roof, the compass can get all sorts of messed up and not want to take off too...
Yep any metal on/around the roof would be one of my biggest concerns. Get a bad enough compass error and you're out of control.
 
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Rick W

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Thank you everyone for your wisdom and advice. Another friend of mine has a flat roof carport that we are going to use tonight at sunset to simulate the flight (and I can always get the ladder out to retrieve the Spark). Will be interested to see how much battery time I will have while idling and video recording before I get to 30% and fly to my location on the ground. This weekend I flew up to the 12 story apartment roof to survey if there was a nice flat landing area and I was at 92% when i reached the edge of the roof. I will report back my results of the carport test.
 

Andre Levite

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Thank you everyone for your wisdom and advice. Another friend of mine has a flat roof carport that we are going to use tonight at sunset to simulate the flight (and I can always get the ladder out to retrieve the Spark). Will be interested to see how much battery time I will have while idling and video recording before I get to 30% and fly to my location on the ground. This weekend I flew up to the 12 story apartment roof to survey if there was a nice flat landing area and I was at 92% when i reached the edge of the roof. I will report back my results of the carport test.

Today would be a good time to by DJI Care Refresh!!!! :p
 

msinger

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Is this technically possible?
Yes, it's technically possible, but pretty risky. To prove it would work, you could perform a test mission by landing on the ground somewhere near the takeoff point.
 

ol' Sparky

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How many shots per minute for how long do you expect to get on the battery life of a Spark? 1 or 2 shots per minute would make a pretty short compilation in 10 or 12 minutes. Would love to see the results.
 

Multikoe

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Sep 2, 2018
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Interesting! This is one of the most fun projects I've seen. Most important un-known: do you conserve battery power if you turn off the props? If so, this trick could be used in other situations as well.However, landing your drone in a spot that has a clear view for the camera probably requires you to land on a ledge with the camera really close to the e
 

monty.roman

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Aug 30, 2018
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...Most important un-known: do you conserve battery power if you turn off the props?...
of course you will. motors are most power consuming part of the system. did a couple firmware flashes yesterday and Spark was on and booted for like 30-40 minutes with battery dropping to roughly 50 percent. how fast would it drain when recording is on, that's another question.
 
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lmel2005

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May 15, 2018
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Nr one problem, is compass interference, caused by metal on the roof.

Without props running, I think Spark's battery is enough for your project, but you should count time and battery drain on the ground, before doing this.

Are you going to shoot photos (and compile a time lapse of them), or a video (and speed up this video)?
If you want to take a video, there's no need to land on the roof.
 

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