DJI Mavic, Air and Mini Drones
Friendly, Helpful & Knowledgeable Community
Join Us Now

Flying in the woods

petholla

New Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
Apr 14, 2024
Messages
4
Reactions
0
Age
44
Location
NJ, USA
Hi,

I just got my first FPV(ish) drone with the Avata 2 this week and flying it a little bit inside the house and in our backyard I'm loving the whole first person view experience.

Half of the Avata 2 reviews I watched on YouTube had some footage about flying it in the woods, which I was super excited about (I was never brave enough to fly my mini close to trees), but thinking about the VLOS requirements now I'm not sure how I can actually do it as even with having a visual observer with me we would pretty quickly lose sight once the drone passes a few trees.

Can anyone who has done this before help me understand how (if?) this can be done responsibly by the current regulations?

Thanks,
Peter
 
we would pretty quickly lose sight once the drone passes a few trees
You're no longer legal at the point where the VO loses sight. Without some kind of exception from the FAA, you couldn't legally fly BVLOS.

As for how people are doing such things legally -- well, it's probably not legal.

Here's an Avata 2 video I saw earlier today from Ready Set Drone where both the pilot and VO were wearing goggles:

1713132396902.png
 
Last edited:
In addition to any legal concerns, remember to set the failsafe option to either hover or land and make sure you can get to the drone before a low battery RTH kicks in.
That assumes the drone behaves in the normal DJI way.
Be aware that a "land" instruction might be ignored if the drone dislikes the landing site.
As a consequence the resulting hover could end in a low battery RTH and I assume that will send it up to RTH height and probably into the tree canopy.
 
A spotter will save you money also. Its a different world sometimes when the goggles come off and you have lost your drone! I mostly fly FPV in a group so we have a spotter available. NOW I do my best to fly legal and I DO NOT encourage anyone not too-BUT there are short periods of time when the drone will fly behind something and leave the spotters view. That's when your spotter should give you a heads up. As far as 100 percent line of site all the time in the woods...I don't think that' gonna happen. Just don't linger there and come back when your spotter lets you know. Not only is this safer for the ones around you BUT you will come home with your Drone,
 
Last edited:
It looks like they can be flown backwards when using the motion controller, is that correct, though perhaps it is for a limited distance ?
 
It looks like they can be flown backwards when using the motion controller, is that correct
All DJI drones can be flown backward for an extended period of time.

I think you're referring to the new 180 Drift feature while flying with the motion controller in Easy ACRO. If so, the drone will continue flying backward until you stop it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: calum1362
Thanks for the replies! I was hoping for some special clause for flying under trees like being similar to indoors since you aren't going to obstruct other flying vehicles there but I can imagine that a drone could still malfunction and ascent above the canopy and cause trouble or hit something at an unknown location if out of sight so it makes sense.

Good tip about changing the low battery option!

It can fly backward slowly when you lift the trigger instead of pressing it.
 
I was hoping for some special clause for flying under trees like being similar to indoors since you aren't going to obstruct other flying vehicles there
Right -- except maybe other drones flying in the area. You could crash into people walking in the woods though.
 
All DJI drones can be flown backward for an extended period of time.

I think you're referring to the new 180 Drift feature while flying with the motion controller in Easy ACRO. If so, the drone will continue flying backward until you stop it.
With the FPV and the first motion controller I found it very difficult to get the drone to fly backwards. From memory I had to carefully tip the motion controller upside down or nearly so to get reverse and then it was a very slow speed reverse.
I think reverse stopped if I tilted it too far.
Yep I think you are correct about the 180 drift feature, I had to switch the subtitles on lol.
 
With the FPV and the first motion controller I found it very difficult to get the drone to fly backwards
Yep -- reverse seemed like an afterthought for whatever reason. DJI fixed that with the RC Motion 2.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yorkshire_Pud
In addition to any legal concerns, remember to set the failsafe option to either hover or land and make sure you can get to the drone before a low battery RTH kicks in.
That assumes the drone behaves in the normal DJI way.
Be aware that a "land" instruction might be ignored if the drone dislikes the landing site.
As a consequence the resulting hover could end in a low battery RTH and I assume that will send it up to RTH height and probably into the tree canopy.
One of my sons has been storing one of his drones about 100 ft. up in a cedar tree for several years. RTH kicked in and the preset altitude was not high enough so it found a nice branch to rest on. We could see the camera's view until the battery dies.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yorkshire_Pud
One of my sons has been storing one of his drones about 100 ft. up in a cedar tree for several years. RTH kicked in and the preset altitude was not high enough so it found a nice branch to rest on. We could see the camera's view until the battery dies.
At least it's safe from two legged thieves up there and possibly enjoying a fine view.
 
Last edited:
  • Haha
Reactions: Nanny Ogg
It looks like they can be flown backwards when using the motion controller, is that correct, though perhaps it is for a limited distance ?

Yes, and no distance is not limited.

Also the Avata 2 has added rear OA cameras, making backing up even more viable.
 
It can fly backward slowly when you lift the trigger instead of pressing it.

To be completely accurate the reverse, roll, and ascent rates with reverse trigger and joystick are configurable, and can be turned up to full speed (for the Avata at least, assuming this didn't change with the 2).

Default is quite slow, though.
 
With the FPV and the first motion controller I found it very difficult to get the drone to fly backwards. From memory I had to carefully tip the motion controller upside down or nearly so to get reverse and then it was a very slow speed reverse.
I think reverse stopped if I tilted it too far.
Yep I think you are correct about the 180 drift feature, I had to switch the subtitles on lol.
Yep -- reverse seemed like an afterthought for whatever reason. DJI fixed that with the RC Motion 2.

I don't recall any way to go in reverse at all on the MC1, nor was there any mention in the documentation.

Any of you guys that did make it go backwards with the MC1 please describe in detail what to do? I'd like to try it.
 
Flying in the woods BVLOS (which it always is, VO or not): IMO, 99.999% of such flights are done solo, in violation of the regulations, camera drone or FPV.

And technically it's breaking the law. For that reason, no one here, including myself, is gonna say, "sure, go ahead and do it."

However, I have no reluctance to offer my opinion on three important facts in this scenario:
  • Adverse risk to anything other than your drone is near non-existent. Assuming you're talking about wild, unimproved land, chances of encountering a human being are extremely low, a manned aircraft zero. Wildlife? Non-zero, but they're generally going in the opposite direction of that strange, unnatural screaming whine.
  • Law enforcement resources are limited. Far too limited to spend on monitoring the public for things like flying in the woods without a VO. You will never be confronted by an LEO for something like this unless there is a complaint. They have real™ crimes to deal with.
  • You can count on local authorities not even knowing you're violating the VO and BVLOS regs. The rare exception to this is the officer that's a drone pilot, and the vast majority of the time that usually makes them "one of us", and they'll leave you alone in the usual "no harm, no foul" circumstance. Not guaranteed, just what historically usually happens.
So how do people do this? They break the rules. And while I can't speak for the FAA, it is my opinion that they largely don't care, like the LEOs having real problems to deal with.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Limewood and okw
Flying in the woods BVLOS (which it always is, VO or not): IMO, 99.999% of such flights are done solo, in violation of the regulations, camera drone or FPV.

And technically it's breaking the law. For that reason, no one here, including myself, is gonna say, "sure, go ahead and do it."

However, I have no reluctance to offer my opinion on three important facts in this scenario:
  • Adverse risk to anything other than your drone is near non-existent. Assuming you're talking about wild, unimproved land, chances of encountering a human being are extremely low, a manned aircraft zero. Wildlife? Non-zero, but they're generally going in the opposite direction of that strange, unnatural screaming whine.
  • Law enforcement resources are limited. Far too limited to spend on monitoring the public for things like flying in the woods without a VO. You will never be confronted by an LEO for something like this unless there is a complaint. They have real™ crimes to deal with.
  • You can count on local authorities not even knowing you're violating the VO and BVLOS regs. The rare exception to this is the officer that's a drone pilot, and the vast majority of the time that usually makes them "one of us", and they'll leave you alone in the usual "no harm, no foul" circumstance. Not guaranteed, just what historically usually happens.
So how do people do this? They break the rules. And while I can't speak for the FAA, it is my opinion that they largely don't care, like the LEOs having real problems to deal with.
Thanks for sharing your opinion!
 

DJI Drone Deals

Forum statistics

Threads
131,725
Messages
1,565,659
Members
160,579
Latest member
Ron613