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Search for lost dogs

BrianSC

Active Member
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Apr 23, 2019
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51
A friend of mine who lives in the countryside just called me, their two dogs ran away and got lost yesterday, they have now been away for over 24 hours, supposedly now somewhere in a vast area mixed with almond and olive trees and forest. So, she called me and asked if I could help out doing a search with my Spark, so I will go this afternoon, and the following days if we don't find them.

Since I'm not an overly experienced pilot and never have used my Spark searching for anything, if anybody has any good advice it would be much appreciated.

I was thinking of maybe using Litchi, preprogramme routes with waypoints so that we can focus on watching the screen and not while the drone is on autopilot.
 
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Multikoe

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Sep 2, 2018
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136
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49
A friend of mine who lives in the countryside just called me, their two dogs ran away and got lost yesterday, they have now been away for over 24 hours, supposedly now somewhere in a vast area mixed with almond and olive trees and forest. So, she called me and asked if I could help out doing a search with my Spark, so I will go this afternoon, and the following days if we don't find them.

Since I'm not an overly experienced pilot and never have used my Spark searching for anything, if anybody has any good advice it would be much appreciated.

I was thinking of maybe using Litchi, preprogramme routes with waypoints so that we can focus on watching the screen and not while the drone is on autopilot.
I am interested in the results. I have been sceptical about the usefullness of searching with a drone. I am just curious how this will work out with the small screen of a smartphone to look at the live feed from the Spark. Please let us know what the results are!
 

Northwood Mediaworks

Flying with both feet on the ground!
Premium Pilot
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Jan 15, 2018
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Be sure to have a spotter to watch the Spark as you watch your screen. If you can borrow and iPad or Tablet to get a better view of the ground that would be best. If there are tall trees, be sure to account for that as you fly and as you set your RTH altitude. And bring lots of batteries. Record everything, have someone review the videos as soon as possible on a laptop for greater scrutiny of the area while you fly your next mission. Use your Go4 Flight record viewer to cross reference. And if you have someone who the dogs know walk the area in an orange vest, being very verbal, that might bring the dogs out from cover. Chances are they will be together. Litchi might be a good way to go with a grid search. Be safe.
 
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Wingman8209

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Dec 30, 2018
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70
Be mindful of your position in relation to the drone and make sure you are always facing it.
 

BrianSC

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Apr 23, 2019
Messages
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51
Thansk guys, I will let you know how it goes. Thankfully this is a rather flat area, I only have to take into account a few smaller houses and the trees. 20m above ground level should be very safe, so I will start with 30m. and then take it down a bit if we can't see enough from that height. If we have to search furter away we will have to move into an area with hills and mountains.
I have drawn some waypoint routes in Litchi, at different speeds, and depending on how it goes will fly manually as well.
We will be 3-4 persons out there, and I will bring my laptop and 2 SD cards so that one can go through the footage on the computer as I continue to fly. I have 5 batteries. The area is big though, so with the Spark limited flight time it will be difficult to cover it all, especially if I keep at a safe speed that allows OA, so I will probably take up to 20-25 km/h in Litchi, which means I will lose OA. In this case a bigger drone with longer flight time would have come in handy though.
 

BrianSC

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Apr 23, 2019
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So, we tried it. We found one of the dogs, but not thanks to the drone. It turns out that what looks like "easy" terrain on google maps, once you get out there it might not be that easy. I did burn quite a few batteries over a period of two days, and on the more open fields we might had seen the dog if it had been there, but over the forests the drone was pretty much useless. I took it pretty far away over hills and forest, flying only by looking at the sc reen. No luck so far, and the last dog is still out there. It was spotted yesterday, but it seems it is very frightned by now, and runs away whenever somebody tries to get to it. :(
 

Buddy411

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Jul 2, 2017
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49
Search operations aren't easy with a drone like the Spark with its limited range, flight time, no zoom. Something like the Mavic 2 Zoom would be much more useful, but still a daunting task.
 

BrianSC

Active Member
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Apr 23, 2019
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51
I haven't been on the forum for some time....
We got a happy ending. The drone search gave no result though. The last dog was found after 8 days lost in the mountains, tired and and kind of nervous, but no signs of having suffered. Lots of rabbits in the area, so it probably learned to hunt, becasue it hadn's lost any weight. This was the chow chow, the pit bull was found after 3 days, a younger and stronger dog, but it looked like it had gone through hell, could hardly walk. You would have expected that this "stronger" dog would have managed better than the other one, but it didn't. Considering how it looked after 3 days, I doubt the pit bull would have survived 8 days in the wilderness.
 

Northwood Mediaworks

Flying with both feet on the ground!
Premium Pilot
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Jan 15, 2018
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Northern Ontario, Canada
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northwoodmediaworks.com
Glad to hear all dogs are safe. We must use all the tools in our toolbox sometimes, sad it was not the drone that saved the day, but a dog is man's best friend, and getting them back safe is cool so no matter!
 

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