Welcome DJI Spark Pilot!
Jump in and join our free Spark community today!
Sign up

How to never crash or experience fly aways

  • Thread starter Deleted member 15525
  • Start date
D

Deleted member 15525

Guest
anyone with more experience please chime in and correct or add to my experiences. ( I have flown for just under a year).

I was lucky to have a good flight lesson when I purchased my Phantom 3 pro used from someone in my family. I also watched hundreds of videos and went to an empty park to practice flying and experiment with RTH and other features, before I started flying further away and in places that would be difficult to retrieved a drone from. Here's what I have learned so far.

1. LEARN HOW TO FLY ...IN A WIDE OPEN AREA over grass...Fly your drone without positioning or GPS or purchase a Bolt Bee or another small cheap drone that has no GPS or positioning. Learn how to really fly without those aids. Then when you suddenly lose GPS or positioning during a flight you will not panic and you will not lose or crash your drone. Basically you will know how to fly and even if your drone is "disoriented" you won't be. It is a challenge to fly a drone with no positioning or GPS in even a slight wind. You have no idea how much the drone is correcting to stay stable in windy conditions until you actually have to fly it!

I just recently watched as someone was trying to land in windy conditions and the drone drifted slightly towards a decorative 5 feet high brick wall. Instead of simply punching out and going up and trying to land in a safer location, the person panicked and ended up hitting the wall. He didn't realize that the drone takes a moment (Spark). to land as you hold down the stick. The collision took place about a foot above the ground and aside from scratches there was no damage... He kept flying. These drones are tough.

2. DO not fly out of line of sight VLOS anywhere according to FAA guidelines, but if you are going to do it, only fly out of VLOS in an area with NO INTERFERENCE and no people or possible aircraft. (for example 50 feet above water or desert) You can and should check for MOAs any military operations or Coast Guard over water)

If you lose your compass (compass error) DO NOT press RTH because your aircraft will not know where it is.. Usually your distance is still accurate. If you turn the air craft an estimated 180 degrees and go forward you will see the distance getting closer and usually the compass error corrects itself as you get closer.

DONT panic and forget that you can fly home visually if you have lost compass and positioning. If you still have a picture then use that to fly home. Rarely do you lose everything at once.

3. With a DJI drone and I would assume any drone, do not calibrate the compass at every new location. Once you have calibrated it away from metal (often found inside concrete) and are having no compass errors leave it alone. If you travel to another country or close to a different line of latitude or longitude then the magnetic variation might make it necessary to recalibrate. (only reason I know anything about magnetic variation is because I have started to study for my UAV FAA Certification. Everyone should get it!)

4. STUDY your SETTINGS... always make sure home point is set and set to where you took off from. Make sure you know what your drone is set to and double check every flight (especially if you are pushing the limits of VLOS.) Have the drone set to return to home point (not hover) If you are on a boat you must set to return to the controller or your drone will land in the water where you started! Also check the return to home height. If there are no obstacles then a low height helps save power because the airicraft will not climb to 200 feet first before coming back. If there are high voltage wires or tall buildings or if the ground level is higher then a higher RTH altitude is a good idea. Remember that your altitude read out is from the ground where you took off. When you fly from a raised location and then depend into a valley you will see a negative altitude reading. If a high voltage tower is 100 feet high but the ground it's on is 50 feet higher than where you are controlling your drone you need 150+ feet to clear the tower.

5. Flying real close to water surface with position sensors on is not a good idea. Turn sensors off or fly 15 feet or higher above water. I prefer just staying a little higher above the water.

6. Check and understand wind direction. I love the UAV app that tells you if its safe to fly. You can adjust the settings for everything. It actually tells you the wind at different altitudes. Remember that a west wind means it is coming from the west. Remember that you will use more power and fly slower when flying into the wind. In cold temps you will use more power and have shorter flight times.

7. When landing..... LAND.... don't decide to suddenly go back up after you are inches from the ground or actually touching the ground. Its a good idea to shut off motors and restart if you decide to go back up. The phantom style drones often tip over when pilots have second thoughts about a landing. I have almost done it.. The legs touch the ground, a breeze comes, and the drone tips..

8. Inspect your drone for wear and tear... cracks etc before each flight. I usually inspect after each flight as I clean off bugs... found bad stress cracks in my phantom that way. Now I am more diligent.

And the last guideline I wish all UAV pilots followed is to be extra courteous to people who are around when you fly. Stay far away from people. If they are visibly uncomfortable land and go somewhere else. Or ask them if they are okay with you flying and if they say no go somewhere else.. Stay away from people for safety and privacy reasons. Be friendly and show people what you can see when in flight. Most people are amazed and surprised that you can't see them unless you are real close. Most people end up wanting to buy a drone themselves! If a park ranger kicks you out.... say thank you and go somewhere else.. (I agree that the laws that ban drones from parks in NJ even when they are empty are ridiculous, but there is always somewhere else to fly.) In NJ there is one county park in each county that is designated for "Model aircraft". It's ridiculous that the uneducated/ignorant to technology politicians lumped us into that category but that's the way they do everything.

I have pulled into parking lots and started flying only to have the land owner or business owner confront me and each time they gave me permission to fly and even asked for pictures in some cases. Remember that even without compensation, taking pictures to help a business is considered "Commercial use" by the FAA and requires a UAV Certification or they could fine you.

Please share your experiences and thanks to everyone here and on the DJI forums for all the advice.
 

msinger

DJI Drone Expert
Approved Vendor
Premium Pilot
Join
May 27, 2017
Messages
2,836
Loc
Harrisburg, PA (US)
Web
www.Spark-Help.com

dat1

Well-Known Member
Join
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
116
Loc
Quebec, Canada
Good advices like the well known guide from
msinger, that I bookmarked and read often.
Mandatory for beginners and good reminder for
experience pilots.
 
  • Like
Reactions: msinger

McCloudSpark

Well-Known Member
Join
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
508
Age
65
All good tips and info. I've read it all before but don't mind reading it again!:)
 

Highflyer

Well-Known Member
Join
Nov 10, 2018
Messages
328
Age
58
Loc
Sanborn, Mn (USA)

twickers14

Well-Known Member
Join
Sep 6, 2018
Messages
801
Age
75
Spot on advice. Nothing to add and all these tips work in the UK. Was flying in a pretty lively breeze yesterday and experienced drift for the first time at 40mtrs (only a little wind at TO point) so, with a lowish battery, I pressed RTH and it was brilliant. Spark soon overhead so I cancelled RTH (before it began descent) and had another couple of minutes fun before brining it down into the snow covered ground that was Home Point.
 
D

Deleted member 15525

Guest
IMPOrtant ADDITION!

When you update firmware you need to readjust your rth altitude and settings. They all went back to default and my max altitude was no longer set to 500m
 
  • Like
Reactions: ExcitingHeadgear

tmarez

Well-Known Member
Join
Jul 27, 2018
Messages
104
Age
63
anyone with more experience please chime in and correct or add to my experiences. ( I have flown for just under a year).

I was lucky to have a good flight lesson when I purchased my Phantom 3 pro used from someone in my family. I also watched hundreds of videos and went to an empty park to practice flying and experiment with RTH and other features, before I started flying further away and in places that would be difficult to retrieved a drone from. Here's what I have learned so far.

1. LEARN HOW TO FLY ...IN A WIDE OPEN AREA over grass...Fly your drone without positioning or GPS or purchase a Bolt Bee or another small cheap drone that has no GPS or positioning. Learn how to really fly without those aids. Then when you suddenly lose GPS or positioning during a flight you will not panic and you will not lose or crash your drone. Basically you will know how to fly and even if your drone is "disoriented" you won't be. It is a challenge to fly a drone with no positioning or GPS in even a slight wind. You have no idea how much the drone is correcting to stay stable in windy conditions until you actually have to fly it!

I just recently watched as someone was trying to land in windy conditions and the drone drifted slightly towards a decorative 5 feet high brick wall. Instead of simply punching out and going up and trying to land in a safer location, the person panicked and ended up hitting the wall. He didn't realize that the drone takes a moment (Spark). to land as you hold down the stick. The collision took place about a foot above the ground and aside from scratches there was no damage... He kept flying. These drones are tough.

2. DO not fly out of line of sight VLOS anywhere according to FAA guidelines, but if you are going to do it, only fly out of VLOS in an area with NO INTERFERENCE and no people or possible aircraft. (for example 50 feet above water or desert) You can and should check for MOAs any military operations or Coast Guard over water)

If you lose your compass (compass error) DO NOT press RTH because your aircraft will not know where it is.. Usually your distance is still accurate. If you turn the air craft an estimated 180 degrees and go forward you will see the distance getting closer and usually the compass error corrects itself as you get closer.

DONT panic and forget that you can fly home visually if you have lost compass and positioning. If you still have a picture then use that to fly home. Rarely do you lose everything at once.

3. With a DJI drone and I would assume any drone, do not calibrate the compass at every new location. Once you have calibrated it away from metal (often found inside concrete) and are having no compass errors leave it alone. If you travel to another country or close to a different line of latitude or longitude then the magnetic variation might make it necessary to recalibrate. (only reason I know anything about magnetic variation is because I have started to study for my UAV FAA Certification. Everyone should get it!)

4. STUDY your SETTINGS... always make sure home point is set and set to where you took off from. Make sure you know what your drone is set to and double check every flight (especially if you are pushing the limits of VLOS.) Have the drone set to return to home point (not hover) If you are on a boat you must set to return to the controller or your drone will land in the water where you started! Also check the return to home height. If there are no obstacles then a low height helps save power because the airicraft will not climb to 200 feet first before coming back. If there are high voltage wires or tall buildings or if the ground level is higher then a higher RTH altitude is a good idea. Remember that your altitude read out is from the ground where you took off. When you fly from a raised location and then depend into a valley you will see a negative altitude reading. If a high voltage tower is 100 feet high but the ground it's on is 50 feet higher than where you are controlling your drone you need 150+ feet to clear the tower.

5. Flying real close to water surface with position sensors on is not a good idea. Turn sensors off or fly 15 feet or higher above water. I prefer just staying a little higher above the water.

6. Check and understand wind direction. I love the UAV app that tells you if its safe to fly. You can adjust the settings for everything. It actually tells you the wind at different altitudes. Remember that a west wind means it is coming from the west. Remember that you will use more power and fly slower when flying into the wind. In cold temps you will use more power and have shorter flight times.

7. When landing..... LAND.... don't decide to suddenly go back up after you are inches from the ground or actually touching the ground. Its a good idea to shut off motors and restart if you decide to go back up. The phantom style drones often tip over when pilots have second thoughts about a landing. I have almost done it.. The legs touch the ground, a breeze comes, and the drone tips..

8. Inspect your drone for wear and tear... cracks etc before each flight. I usually inspect after each flight as I clean off bugs... found bad stress cracks in my phantom that way. Now I am more diligent.

And the last guideline I wish all UAV pilots followed is to be extra courteous to people who are around when you fly. Stay far away from people. If they are visibly uncomfortable land and go somewhere else. Or ask them if they are okay with you flying and if they say no go somewhere else.. Stay away from people for safety and privacy reasons. Be friendly and show people what you can see when in flight. Most people are amazed and surprised that you can't see them unless you are real close. Most people end up wanting to buy a drone themselves! If a park ranger kicks you out.... say thank you and go somewhere else.. (I agree that the laws that ban drones from parks in NJ even when they are empty are ridiculous, but there is always somewhere else to fly.) In NJ there is one county park in each county that is designated for "Model aircraft". It's ridiculous that the uneducated/ignorant to technology politicians lumped us into that category but that's the way they do everything.

I have pulled into parking lots and started flying only to have the land owner or business owner confront me and each time they gave me permission to fly and even asked for pictures in some cases. Remember that even without compensation, taking pictures to help a business is considered "Commercial use" by the FAA and requires a UAV Certification or they could fine you.

Please share your experiences and thanks to everyone here and on the DJI forums for all the advice.
Thank you for that, I started flying my Spark in August 2018, Im going to print this out and keep it handy. Its easy to get complacent and get in a hurry to get up. But iut only take a few mins to do these things and have good Safe flight.
 

Attachments

DameEdnaBrown

Well-Known Member
Join
Oct 22, 2017
Messages
147
Age
70
anyone with more experience please chime in and correct or add to my experiences. ( I have flown for just under a year).

I was lucky to have a good flight lesson when I purchased my Phantom 3 pro used from someone in my family. I also watched hundreds of videos and went to an empty park to practice flying and experiment with RTH and other features, before I started flying further away and in places that would be difficult to retrieved a drone from. Here's what I have learned so far.

1. LEARN HOW TO FLY ...IN A WIDE OPEN AREA over grass...Fly your drone without positioning or GPS or purchase a Bolt Bee or another small cheap drone that has no GPS or positioning. Learn how to really fly without those aids. Then when you suddenly lose GPS or positioning during a flight you will not panic and you will not lose or crash your drone. Basically you will know how to fly and even if your drone is "disoriented" you won't be. It is a challenge to fly a drone with no positioning or GPS in even a slight wind. You have no idea how much the drone is correcting to stay stable in windy conditions until you actually have to fly it!

I just recently watched as someone was trying to land in windy conditions and the drone drifted slightly towards a decorative 5 feet high brick wall. Instead of simply punching out and going up and trying to land in a safer location, the person panicked and ended up hitting the wall. He didn't realize that the drone takes a moment (Spark). to land as you hold down the stick. The collision took place about a foot above the ground and aside from scratches there was no damage... He kept flying. These drones are tough.

2. DO not fly out of line of sight VLOS anywhere according to FAA guidelines, but if you are going to do it, only fly out of VLOS in an area with NO INTERFERENCE and no people or possible aircraft. (for example 50 feet above water or desert) You can and should check for MOAs any military operations or Coast Guard over water)

If you lose your compass (compass error) DO NOT press RTH because your aircraft will not know where it is.. Usually your distance is still accurate. If you turn the air craft an estimated 180 degrees and go forward you will see the distance getting closer and usually the compass error corrects itself as you get closer.

DONT panic and forget that you can fly home visually if you have lost compass and positioning. If you still have a picture then use that to fly home. Rarely do you lose everything at once.

3. With a DJI drone and I would assume any drone, do not calibrate the compass at every new location. Once you have calibrated it away from metal (often found inside concrete) and are having no compass errors leave it alone. If you travel to another country or close to a different line of latitude or longitude then the magnetic variation might make it necessary to recalibrate. (only reason I know anything about magnetic variation is because I have started to study for my UAV FAA Certification. Everyone should get it!)

4. STUDY your SETTINGS... always make sure home point is set and set to where you took off from. Make sure you know what your drone is set to and double check every flight (especially if you are pushing the limits of VLOS.) Have the drone set to return to home point (not hover) If you are on a boat you must set to return to the controller or your drone will land in the water where you started! Also check the return to home height. If there are no obstacles then a low height helps save power because the airicraft will not climb to 200 feet first before coming back. If there are high voltage wires or tall buildings or if the ground level is higher then a higher RTH altitude is a good idea. Remember that your altitude read out is from the ground where you took off. When you fly from a raised location and then depend into a valley you will see a negative altitude reading. If a high voltage tower is 100 feet high but the ground it's on is 50 feet higher than where you are controlling your drone you need 150+ feet to clear the tower.

5. Flying real close to water surface with position sensors on is not a good idea. Turn sensors off or fly 15 feet or higher above water. I prefer just staying a little higher above the water.

6. Check and understand wind direction. I love the UAV app that tells you if its safe to fly. You can adjust the settings for everything. It actually tells you the wind at different altitudes. Remember that a west wind means it is coming from the west. Remember that you will use more power and fly slower when flying into the wind. In cold temps you will use more power and have shorter flight times.

7. When landing..... LAND.... don't decide to suddenly go back up after you are inches from the ground or actually touching the ground. Its a good idea to shut off motors and restart if you decide to go back up. The phantom style drones often tip over when pilots have second thoughts about a landing. I have almost done it.. The legs touch the ground, a breeze comes, and the drone tips..

8. Inspect your drone for wear and tear... cracks etc before each flight. I usually inspect after each flight as I clean off bugs... found bad stress cracks in my phantom that way. Now I am more diligent.

And the last guideline I wish all UAV pilots followed is to be extra courteous to people who are around when you fly. Stay far away from people. If they are visibly uncomfortable land and go somewhere else. Or ask them if they are okay with you flying and if they say no go somewhere else.. Stay away from people for safety and privacy reasons. Be friendly and show people what you can see when in flight. Most people are amazed and surprised that you can't see them unless you are real close. Most people end up wanting to buy a drone themselves! If a park ranger kicks you out.... say thank you and go somewhere else.. (I agree that the laws that ban drones from parks in NJ even when they are empty are ridiculous, but there is always somewhere else to fly.) In NJ there is one county park in each county that is designated for "Model aircraft". It's ridiculous that the uneducated/ignorant to technology politicians lumped us into that category but that's the way they do everything.

I have pulled into parking lots and started flying only to have the land owner or business owner confront me and each time they gave me permission to fly and even asked for pictures in some cases. Remember that even without compensation, taking pictures to help a business is considered "Commercial use" by the FAA and requires a UAV Certification or they could fine you.

Please share your experiences and thanks to everyone here and on the DJI forums for all the advice.
Great effort, I'm sure many users will get useful advice from your post
 
D

Deleted member 15525

Guest
Thanks... I just keep hearing about people crashing and flyaways . Aside from an occasional malfunction I believe it’s mostly pilot error. Watching my friend hit the wall was just such an example of not having practice or studying up. He was expecting the spark to function like the older model phantoms. They don’t pause while descending before landing. You either press auto land or fly it yourself.

My main thought is to learn how to fly without positioning and gps. The bolt bee I bought was a fun $45 way to fly fast with no help. Was even able to replace the motors when I did crash .. great product but not easy to fly .
 

Spark 317

Well-Known Member
Premium Pilot
Join
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
3,775
Loc
Indiana, USA
Sorry couldn't resist based on topic (my bad).. Good tips above.

View attachment 8623

I had that same toy when I was young that brings back some memories.

What is it, and from what year?

A friend of mine had one these and it was fun for a while, like most toys.

I did a quick search and they are selling them on eBay for hundreds of dollars depending on the condition.

Who would of thought a simple toy could be worth so much.

Thanks for sharing a memory.
 

DaveTN

Member
Join
Jun 21, 2018
Messages
24
Age
53
Good tips. I flew a Holy Stone F181C - No GPS or anything fancy - for about a year and became very familiar with its flying characteristics. It is a very light drone and not at all stable in even mild windy conditions but I would fly on windy days just to learn how to keep control of it. That experience has come in handy a couple times when my Spark went into ATTI mode.

Also, if you're an old guy like me - 52 - binoculars are very helpful as well. I've lost sight of mine a few times against a contrasting background and was able to spot it with a cheap set of binoculars.

And remember.... don't make any quick motions with the sticks, especially down and out --> Left stick 7:00 and Right stick 4:00 which shuts down the motors. Its very easy to do if your'e in panic mode trying to regain control.

David
 

Spark 317

Well-Known Member
Premium Pilot
Join
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
3,775
Loc
Indiana, USA
  • Like
Reactions: DaveTN
D

Deleted member 15525

Guest
I think the kill the engines move only works now if you are experiencing an error... I think too many people were doing it by mistake.
 

ExcitingHeadgear

Well-Known Member
Join
Feb 12, 2019
Messages
46
Age
48
Also if your copter starts doing something you don't like (like Return to Home at a bad time), flip the Sport switch and that will usually let you regain control without having to interact with your phone screen. Might be best to flip to Sport and then right back unless you are used to how Sport mode handles.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom Bennett

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
11,851
Messages
98,939
Members
15,667
Latest member
emcgov