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Flying in the "Red" zone...

Robzilla

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Hello all. Yesterday while in NJ, I was going to fly my drone in a very no no area Red Zone. I think the president may have been coming to visit. I was not going to fly above 20 feet and only in my friend's back yard. Well the app, DJI GO 4 didn't allow my drone, Mavic 2 pro to start...bummer. Has this ever happened to anyone else?
 

Kilrah

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Of course. Red zone = no flying at all, no takeoff and if you happened to manage to be in the air somehow it would force land straight away.
 

Robzilla

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It was the first time that I tired to fly in a red zone so I was pretty surprised that I couldn't so I won't try that again. Good safety measure living in this crazy time that we are.
 

BigAl07

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Hello all. Yesterday while in NJ, I was going to fly my drone in a very no no area Red Zone. I think the president may have been coming to visit. I was not going to fly above 20 feet and only in my friend's back yard. Well the app, DJI GO 4 didn't allow my drone, Mavic 2 pro to start...bummer. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Flying (at any height) during a TFR isn't a very good idea.

Of course you only "intended" to fly at 20' but what about your RTH height? what happens if you had the freakishly rare "Fly Away"?

Even contemplating intentionally trying to fly in a TFR is a horrible idea.
 

Teddy warrick

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That is why I sold my Mavic Air and got a Autel Evo they are not the police in the sky’s.........
 

Scottalmas

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My golf club is very near an airport and had the same thing happen to me the first time I tried to use my Spark with my phone connected (I had no trouble with my first few flights using Gesture Mode without a phone -- it was only after I tried to use my controller and phone connected did the Spark get the memo that it wasn't allowed to be there). In any event, I contacted DJI and they sent me an unlock code good for one year that unlocked that location for me. Also interestingly: when I get a Mavic Air, the code was transferable to the MA. It was tied to my DJI account :)

Personally, I respect the fact that DJI gets ahead of regulators on this to keep the hobby safe. I think DJI has done a great job of preventing irresponsible drone owners from ruining it for the rest of us. I would much prefer private industry with skin in the game define the issue and solutions than allowing career politicians and bureaucrats who have no idea what they are doing to regulate things like this.
 

theDRONEranger

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Recognizing the TFRs are there for a reason, and also recognizing the impact on pilots during the time frame. Just exactly how would a MA or Spark detect NFZ during, i.e., Presidential visit, (campaign trips will be forth coming) without firmware update? The DJI Spark is capable of flight with just the remote and drone (without phone or view device). Without a firmware update, could a pilot not fly the Spark with just remote controller, not being aware of temp NFZ? Is there some sort of a special signal broadcast by FAA? to inform all pilots, within specified radius, of the NFZ during Presidential operations. Also, realizing the importance of checking NOTAMS, many drone pilots would not even attempt that.

How does the NFZ system work, to notify drone pilots without using an FW update?
 

Shon

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It is worth your time to check TFRs before you fly.

As some folks have reported, If your are flying at 12:55pm and a TFR Starts at 1pm, your drone will automatically start to land. Some folks (over water when this has occurred) lost their drones this way.
 
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theDRONEranger

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It is worth your time to check TFRs before you fly.

As some folks have reported, If your are flying at 12:55pm and a TFR Starts at 1pm, your drone will automatically start to land. Some folks (over water when this has occurred) lost their drones this way.
Check NOTAMS is part of my checklist before leaving the house.
 

BigAl07

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Recognizing the TFRs are there for a reason, and also recognizing the impact on pilots during the time frame. Just exactly how would a MA or Spark detect NFZ during, i.e., Presidential visit, (campaign trips will be forth coming) without firmware update? The DJI Spark is capable of flight with just the remote and drone (without phone or view device). Without a firmware update, could a pilot not fly the Spark with just remote controller, not being aware of temp NFZ? Is there some sort of a special signal broadcast by FAA? to inform all pilots, within specified radius, of the NFZ during Presidential operations. Also, realizing the importance of checking NOTAMS, many drone pilots would not even attempt that.

How does the NFZ system work, to notify drone pilots without using an FW update?
While FW updates could change the functionality of the drone when it enters a NZW the actual NFZ database is updated on the device independently of a FW update. I did a NFZ Database Update last night on my Spark for testing purposes and it took maybe 20 seconds at the most. We are mixing terms/processes and need to make sure we're talking the same language and on the same page.

Hope that makes sense.

Even if your aircraft does not notify/alert you of a NFZ you should be a responsible operator and know about them before you even try to fire up your aircraft. As many have mentioned we need to take the time to look/research these and not merely rely on DJI to keep us out of a potentially dangerous situation. Ultimately it is the FULL responsibility of the Operator to not attempt to fly in a NFZ/TFR etc.
 

Dan C

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Recognizing the TFRs are there for a reason, and also recognizing the impact on pilots during the time frame. Just exactly how would a MA or Spark detect NFZ during, i.e., Presidential visit, (campaign trips will be forth coming) without firmware update? The DJI Spark is capable of flight with just the remote and drone (without phone or view device). Without a firmware update, could a pilot not fly the Spark with just remote controller, not being aware of temp NFZ? Is there some sort of a special signal broadcast by FAA? to inform all pilots, within specified radius, of the NFZ during Presidential operations. Also, realizing the importance of checking NOTAMS, many drone pilots would not even attempt that.

How does the NFZ system work, to notify drone pilots without using an FW update?
As BigAI07 said, it isn't a firmware update, it's a separate database.

Some NFZ are permanent. Some are temporary, usually for a specific event, and are announced ahead of time with a start and end time. I watched a video of a guy blaming DJI for his drone landing in water, because the NFZ database in his drone noted a TFR became active where he was flying. The guy said he knew the restriction was coming into effect at 5pm, but lost track of time. According to him, that's DJI's fault, not his. Wow! Anyway, he was too far inside the zone to fly out before the forced landing put his Phantom 4 in the river.

Point is, that TFR could have been uploaded day(s) before. Clearly, the database contains the start/end times for temporary zones. When the zone becomes active, if you are inside it in the air, the drone WILL land, regardless of what it is landing on.

I suppose DJI could program a little warning. "Hey, dufus, this area will become an NFZ in 10... 9... 8.....".
 
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BigAl07

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I suppose DJI could program a little warning. "Hey, dufus, this area will become an NFZ in 10... 9... 8.....".
I fully agree that additional notices could have been given but I would like to see it taken one step further.... the MOMENT the aircraft was actively flying within an ACTIVE TFR some sort of notification to the local and Federal Authorities... Love to have a couple of Black Sedans waiting on him when he got back to his vehicle for a full investigation and potential "Educational Moment".

I don't agree with some others (this will ruffle many feathers) who say the guy should have been given the opportunity to land his aircraft once the TFR went HOT!! For all he knew that was a HOT area with military or VIP aircraft coming through the area promptly and could have been jeopardizing life & limb. Play stupid games win stupid prizes.
 
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Dan C

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I fully agree that additional notices could have been given but I would like to see it taken one step further.... the MOMENT the aircraft was actively flying within an ACTIVE TFR some sort of notification to the local and Federal Authorities... Love to have a couple of Black Sedans waiting on him when he got back to his vehicle for a full investigation and potential "Educational Moment".

I don't agree with some others (this will ruffle many feathers) who say the guy should have been given the opportunity to land his aircraft once the TFR went HOT!! For all he knew that was a HOT area with military or VIP aircraft coming through the area promptly and could have been jeopardizing life & limb. Play stupid games win stupid prizes.
I hear you. I'd set a more compromising goal, though.

10 or 15 minutes before the NFZ goes active, inform the user, and start recommending RTH.
 

BigAl07

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I hear you. I'd set a more compromising goal, though.

10 or 15 minutes before the NFZ goes active, inform the user, and start recommending RTH.
I like that idea. Definitely!

Maybe use a SMART mode... when there is just enough time to fly home the aircraft initiates a non-stoppable RTH but with "Guidance Control" to be able to maneuver around objects in the landing path.
 
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Scottalmas

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Recognizing the TFRs are there for a reason, and also recognizing the impact on pilots during the time frame. Just exactly how would a MA or Spark detect NFZ during, i.e., Presidential visit, (campaign trips will be forth coming) without firmware update? The DJI Spark is capable of flight with just the remote and drone (without phone or view device). Without a firmware update, could a pilot not fly the Spark with just remote controller, not being aware of temp NFZ? Is there some sort of a special signal broadcast by FAA? to inform all pilots, within specified radius, of the NFZ during Presidential operations. Also, realizing the importance of checking NOTAMS, many drone pilots would not even attempt that.

How does the NFZ system work, to notify drone pilots without using an FW update?
I should have added that I fly the Spark and MA no higher than 15 or 20 feet high on the golf course. It's for selfies with friends and Active Track while playing a hole. The quad never gets anywhere near being a risk to any true aircraft (which is why the application of the geographic restriction for my purpose made no sense at all).
 
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theDRONEranger

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While FW updates could change the functionality of the drone when it enters a NZW the actual NFZ database is updated on the device independently of a FW update. I did a NFZ Database Update last night on my Spark for testing purposes and it took maybe 20 seconds at the most. We are mixing terms/processes and need to make sure we're talking the same language and on the same page.

Hope that makes sense.

Even if your aircraft does not notify/alert you of a NFZ you should be a responsible operator and know about them before you even try to fire up your aircraft. As many have mentioned we need to take the time to look/research these and not merely rely on DJI to keep us out of a potentially dangerous situation. Ultimately it is the FULL responsibility of the Operator to not attempt to fly in a NFZ/TFR etc.
Oh, I totally agree about being a responsible pilot. That is what it’s all about. I just did not know the process DJI uses to update an NFZ. So, it is literally possible for one to actually fly without knowledge of the temp NFZ. Now, it makes me wonder how long before some rogue attempts this with the President on the campaign trail! It seems to me, then, that almost any DJI drone, at least, is capable flight within a temporary NFZ.

Scenario: POTUS does an over nighter at Jackson, WY., while on the campaign trail! POTUS stays in Sheraton Hotel (top 3 floors reserved). Hotel (and appropriate surrounding area) is declared as NFZ via FAA. Rogue pilot, using only remote controller and his trusty Spark, launches and buzzes the hotel. Feasible or NOT?
Of course, the drone used was reported stolen during a home burglary in Atlanta, GA. There has been no connection to DJI database systems since being stolen. Only the batteries charged to ensure flight ability. Perpetrator was lying in wait for about one to two months for perfect opportunity to buzz the POTUS. Flight, of course, must be VLOS to be able to guide the bird in. Could it happen or not?
 

BigAl07

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There are many sUAS platforms out there that have no "manufacturer" GeoZones and many of those have fairly simply "processes" available to over ride them.
 
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Shon

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Oh, I totally agree about being a responsible pilot. That is what it’s all about. I just did not know the process DJI uses to update an NFZ. So, it is literally possible for one to actually fly without knowledge of the temp NFZ. Now, it makes me wonder how long before some rogue attempts this with the President on the campaign trail! It seems to me, then, that almost any DJI drone, at least, is capable flight within a temporary NFZ.

Scenario: POTUS does an over nighter at Jackson, WY., while on the campaign trail! POTUS stays in Sheraton Hotel (top 3 floors reserved). Hotel (and appropriate surrounding area) is declared as NFZ via FAA. Rogue pilot, using only remote controller and his trusty Spark, launches and buzzes the hotel. Feasible or NOT?
Of course, the drone used was reported stolen during a home burglary in Atlanta, GA. There has been no connection to DJI database systems since being stolen. Only the batteries charged to ensure flight ability. Perpetrator was lying in wait for about one to two months for perfect opportunity to buzz the POTUS. Flight, of course, must be VLOS to be able to guide the bird in. Could it happen or not?
I’m sure the US secret service has various countermeasures at their disposal.
 
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