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Need an Expert's Opinion - ATTI flying

Rick Morton

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Aug 27, 2017
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Ok... so it happens. The Spark loses GPS and goes into ATTI mode. If we're NOT experienced pilots, and we DO think we're doing everything right... WHAT should we do when this happens? Is there a "go to" fix when you're forced into ATTI? Both times it's happened to me, the Spark starts going a lot faster and I feel like I can't control it. What should we do? Pull back on the stick? Spin it around? Wha't's the best way to gain control and try to bring it home?
 
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msinger

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Assuming there isn't also a compass-related issue, the Spark is going to drift with the wind when flying in ATTI mode. You should be ready to control the Spark's horizontal position since it'll no longer be able to hold it. If you understand how to operate the remote controller sticks, you should be able to easily fly it back to the home point (assuming you're not flying in strong winds). If the wind is strong, then try descending before bringing it back home. Just make sure you don't descend below the level of any nearby obstacles.
 

Rick Morton

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Thanks. I think it's more the panic of seeing it take off that puts me in the panic mode and I don't know what to do. It's going fast and I can't see it changing position. I understand that we should be able to control without GPS, it's just that the whole "Spark thing" is about the GPS stability, so it seems we should never be in this position.
 

AeroMirage

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There are so many outside forces acting against the bird. Magnetic, radio and other interference. All the more important to keep your bird in VLOS. Sparkie is sometimes very hard to see.
Expect the unexpected.
 
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His415

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Jul 12, 2017
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One of the first things I do when this happens is bring up the map on the screen. After a little practice in the park I’m able to navigate the spark back to me without looking at it. (Being sure there are no obstacles). But I’m fairly successful using the red arrow and pointing it back at me and then driving the spark.
 

Kilrah

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Aug 26, 2017
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Most of the time when you drop to ATTI it's due to compass, very rare not to have any GPS position at all.
 

Sparkbart

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I've been flying drones for several years now. I learned to fly on an inexpensive Traxxas Alias which had no GPS what-so-ever and would drift all over the place. I crashed that thing more than I can count and even had to send it back to Traxxas for board repair as it shorted when I crashed into a snow bank. But I kept practicing and practicing before diving in on a DJI drone.

When I bought my first "pro-sumer" drone with all the GPS bells and whistles I was amazed how easy it was to fly. Almost boring to fly. Today if I see ATTI mode on any of my drones it doesn't phase me at all. I just realize I need to focus a bit more than I usually do when in GPS mode.

If you are really want to learn to fly drones, buy a cheap drone that doesn't have any GPS and learn to fly that. You'll be a much better drone pilot...
 

wyx087

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I enabled NAZA-M mode on my Phantom 2 and practiced ATTI mode through right shoulder switch, it was not hard to control. As with all things, practice practice practice!

My Spark entered ATTI mode when flying out of a balcony before gaining GPS lock on a windy day. It drifted wildly in between the narrow buildings and came within cm's of crashing. Luckily I was able to control it using muscle memory stick inputs to counteract any wind influences.


It's a shame there's no way to force Spark to be in ATTI mode so that one can practice on soft grass in an open park. If anyone is aware of any way to force flight modes, please do share.
 
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Rick Morton

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My Spark is now at DjI for repair or replace... for $49. Not a bad deal. Maybe if I had calibrated the compass I wouldn't have had the flyaway. I'll definitely do it next time... and every time I fly. I, too, wish there were a way to force the ATTI mode so we newbies could learn to fly better without GPS. Maybe this will come in a future update. Meanwhile, I'll calibrate, take a deep breath, and try to gain the confidence to fly.
 
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Tim32581

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Jul 19, 2017
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My Spark is now at DjI for repair or replace... for $49. Not a bad deal. Maybe if I had calibrated the compass I wouldn't have had the flyaway. I'll definitely do it next time... and every time I fly. I, too, wish there were a way to force the ATTI mode so we newbies could learn to fly better without GPS. Maybe this will come in a future update. Meanwhile, I'll calibrate, take a deep breath, and try to gain the confidence to fly.
Ive gotten in the habit of calibrating the compass each time i go out to fly. Only takes a minute and eliminates one of the possibilities that could make her fly away.
 

EmailGuy

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I enabled NAZA-M mode on my Phantom 2 and practiced ATTI mode through right shoulder switch, it was not hard to control. As with all things, practice practice practice!

My Spark entered ATTI mode when flying out of a balcony before gaining GPS lock on a windy day. It drifted wildly in between the narrow buildings and came within cm's of crashing. Luckily I was able to control it using muscle memory stick inputs to counteract any wind influences.


It's a shame there's no way to force Spark to be in ATTI mode so that one can practice on soft grass in an open park. If anyone is aware of any way to force flight modes, please do share.
My first flights with the Spark were indoors with no GPS signal. Once I was comfortable with that then I tried it outside with the GPS. I've owned numerous drones with many that I built myself. I found flying the Spark in ATTI really easy compared to drones without even altitude hold features.

I recommend people buy a Hubsan X4 as a practice drone and master that. They are only $35-40 and crash kits are readily available. Its an inexpensive way to master manual flying and could save you from losing your $500 Spark.
 

Robert G

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Sep 18, 2017
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There's always a few things to check with hindsight. Waiting for a gps lock is vital, but mine doesn't always give audio confirmation. 6 green flashes on rear lights indicate hp recorded.
Both red arrows on screen should move in sync when you rotate a/c. Airplane mode set, bluetooth off etc.
 

Sparkbart

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Did you guys check Kp Index? Do you know if it was a Wifi dense environment? Was there any large buildings or metal structures near-by? What did the "Space" weather look like? Was there any GPS outages or interference noted by the FAA? Did you make sure your firmware was up to date? Did you make sure you had no warnings or error messages?

My point is there are alot of variables. Having GPS lock is not an absolute and losing GPS signal is not that uncommon. Even in ATTI mode the Spark is not like flying a FPV Racing drone. Its still way more stable...

True story. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I was flying over water at the time. Talk about puckered up - got her home safely and called it a day. Has flown fine since.
 

wyx087

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Aug 17, 2017
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My first flights with the Spark were indoors with no GPS signal. Once I was comfortable with that then I tried it outside with the GPS. I've owned numerous drones with many that I built myself. I found flying the Spark in ATTI really easy compared to drones without even altitude hold features.
Flying in-doors is within range of downwards sensor. It'll fly in OPTI mode ==> really really really stable.
 

Mike01Hu

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Sep 28, 2017
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Ok... so it happens. The Spark loses GPS and goes into ATTI mode. If we're NOT experienced pilots, and we DO think we're doing everything right... WHAT should we do when this happens? Is there a "go to" fix when you're forced into ATTI? Both times it's happened to me, the Spark starts going a lot faster and I feel like I can't control it. What should we do? Pull back on the stick? Spin it around? Wha't's the best way to gain control and try to bring it home?
As a new owner too, I was surprised that you can't fly in ATTI mode as a choice; it's only a firmware element, because it switches to that mode indoors, so could be switched off as a selection and I would feel much more comfortable if I was able to do so and practice, without having to buy a raw drone to do that. Or am I missing something?
 

msinger

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May 27, 2017
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RustyStainless

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Sep 17, 2017
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Yes Rick, I know your pain, and I think a few of the people responding here haven't actually experienced a full GPS failure situation. Mine is heading back for repair/replace too as it is now permanently in ATTI mode. Further, it was also failing to send back info to the remote. For me, once the drone is more than about 50m away, I can no longer determine which way it is really pointed. Plus you are at the mercy of "blow-away" on a gusty day. On my final flight, to see it if the GPS would work, I made the fatal mistake of going too high and next thing it was behind a tree and gone. I was extremely lucky that a single last random image appeared on the screen and I recognised that it was another park nearby. I drove to that park and the Spark was sitting in the middle of the car park. By coincidence, I had not bothered charging the battery, so the Spark must have landed itself because of low battery. By the way, the compass is of little use in this situation since there is no map data. Its just an arrow on a blank screen, there is no way to know its position relative to yourself.
 

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