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Fly off my balcony?

Joymaker

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Feb 13, 2018
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Redding, California
I just got my Mavic air up and running. Reading the literature I see various warnings about flying over sudden changes in elevation, or mountainous areas. But for me that's what it's all about! I live in a hilly area, with interesting cliff formations, and I want to enjoy them! In particular, I would really like to fly it right off my balcony, which overlooks a steep downhill grade and has the best line of sight around for a lot of beautiful features.

Can measures be taken to make this safer? Is there a mode I can choose where the drone won't rely too heavily on its downward vision and get confused when I take off and fly over a 12 foot drop?
 
Flying over a 12 foot drop will be no problem. Just make sure you don't take off near any magnetic metal objects.
 
Does your balcony have a roof? If so, that could interfere with your return-to-home function, should that become necessary.
 
You also want to be sure to ascend to the appropriate height for precision home mapping (or whatever it's called), otherwise RTH may be slightly off which can have a more significant impact on a balcony.
 
I fly from my balcony all the time.
Switch off Landing Protection in the app.
Don't use RTH. Land it manually or catch it.

Edit: OOPS Mavic Air.... Thought Mavic Pro. Not sure if my comments make sense now.
 
Sometimes you don't have a choice...
I mean, kill RTH before landing and land it yourself or better, catch it. It is fine to RTH but I would suggest not to allow it to autoland.
 
I mean, kill RTH before landing and land it yourself or better, catch it. It is fine to RTH but I would suggest not to allow it to autoland.

The one time RTH saved my bacon was when my remote controller wigged out. It lost connection to the MPP. and could not re-establish connection even after the MPP had cone through the entire RTH process and was hovering 3 feet away. I finally just reached up and flipped the MPP on its side to shut the motors off. Had I launched from a covered balcony on that flight who knows what would have happened.
 
Flying from a balcony more that 10 meters high with a roof on top can be tricky business. I dont recommend that a beginner attempts it.. Actually I dont recommend anyone doing it.

You will most likely not be able to get a gps lock and as soon as you leave the balcony your mavic will switch to atti mode. Its vision sensor will go crazy since all of a sudden its not sensing any ground below any more and will make your drone descend without your input. If there is wind outside, your mavic will drift with it. This is the leading cause of balcony take off crashes, especially among novice pilots that are used to gps stabilizing their drone.

If you’re still set on doing this, then this is what I recommend you do:
  • Make sure there are no people below your balcony.
  • Attempt it on a day with no or very little wind.
  • Disable forward and visual positioning sensors, this will prevent “max altitude reached” alarms from going off and causing your drone to descend.
  • Hand lauch it from the edge of the balcony and move it forward and away from the building as soon as its airborne.
  • Wait for a gps lock while you the manage the drone drifting with the wind. This can take up to a minute and will be harder the more wind there is.
  • Once you get a gps lock, set a home point on top of somewhere the drone can land safely.
  • Turn the visual positioning sensor back on, but dont turn the front sensors on as they will make getting back into your balcony almost imposible, unless you bring it in facing backwards.
  • The world is your oyster, (at least some 3 to 4 miles of it.)
If you are taking off from a balcony with open sky above (on top of a building), then you should be good to go just like a normal flight. There will be no need to turn off any sensors as you will be flying with gps from the start, just make sure you have a gps lock before you take off.
 
I have flown multiple times out over cliffs / canyons up to a few thousand feet high. Zero problems - the Air has been rock solid. Keep in mind also your altitude will always be relative to your take off point, so your drone doesn't all of a sudden think it's 3000ft higher than you, for example, when you fly over a ledge.

Just make sure you have good GPS (minimum 11-12 satellites).
 
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I just got my Mavic air up and running. Reading the literature I see various warnings about flying over sudden changes in elevation, or mountainous areas. But for me that's what it's all about! I live in a hilly area, with interesting cliff formations, and I want to enjoy them! In particular, I would really like to fly it right off my balcony, which overlooks a steep downhill grade and has the best line of sight around for a lot of beautiful features.

Can measures be taken to make this safer? Is there a mode I can choose where the drone won't rely too heavily on its downward vision and get confused when I take off and fly over a 12 foot drop?
I have a Pro and do not know about sudden elevation change warnings, but for mountainous areas there are a few things to keep in mind.
• Signal loss. Make sure your RTH settings are correct to clear any obstacles.
• Changes in wind speed and direction. Winds can get gnarly in the mountains. You may need to use Sport mode to make progress.
• Loss of GPS signal in a canyon. You may loose enough satellites to cause a switch to Atti mode.

As for flying off your balcony, good luck with that. There can be compass issues caused by the metal in your building, GPS issues, and RTH issues. If you can launch successfully, you should fly somewhere close with a clear view of the sky and reset your home point. Even if your balcony has no roof above it, RTH may not be accurate enough to come in without hitting something (assuming worse case scenario of you losing control and cannot correct).
 
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I have flown multiple times out over cliffs / canyons up to a few thousand feet high. Zero problems - the Air has been rock solid. Keep in mind also your altitude will always be relative to your take off point, so your drone doesn't all of a sudden think it's 3000ft higher than you, for example, when you fly over a ledge.

Just make sure you have good GPS (minimum 11-12 satellites).


If you are flying in gps mode you wont get any elevation change warnings. That happens only when flying in “opti” (vision) mode.
 
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