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Judging Horizontal and Vertical Distances

JDG3K9

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I have been flying the Mavic for about 2 months now and have accumulated a little over 4 hours total flight time.
I am having a very difficult time getting over the fear of crashing this thing and much of the fear comes from my inability to determine distance from an object horizontally and vertically. Example, yesterday I went to a local church that has a very nice steeple. It is tall but from the ground I estimated it to be about 70-80 feet tall. I flew what I thought was pretty close to it and pointed the camera straight forward 90 degrees and began to climb until I reached the top of the steeple. My altitude was now reading 192 feet. Impossible. Yet, the camera still gave me the impression that I was not yet above the top of the steeple. I wanted to fly directly over the top of it to setup a Point of Interest shot. Because of my fear of having so high in the air and not being able to judge how close to it I was I just brought it back to me and landed. I was shaking and trembling with fear (mostly due to the though of what my wife would do to me if I crashed the drone). What should I do? Thinking I may not be cut out for this stuff, even though I am a certified, private pilot!!!!
 
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BD0G

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StateFarm Personal Articles Policy for the Mavic Pro will set you back a whopping 60 dollars a year. You do not have to be currently insured with StateFarm to obtain the policy. It covers everything that could happen to the Mavic.

Theft, crash, water damage, etc.

Ive been insured for quite some time and it will help "take the edge off".

Contact a local agent and be prepared for them to say " I'm not sure if we cover drones and I will need to get back to you" Indicate that many others in the forum in which you participate already have this style of insurance from StateFarm and I look forward to hearing back from you.
 

rydfree

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My experience with the Mavic is that the camera makes things look a lot closer than you actually are to them so I just trust the camera . I always am further away from the object than I think I am . As long as your video feed was being displayed in real time and not freezing up , just trust your camera .
 

Annevanzwol

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With respect to judging heights. I understand that if you point the camera straight ahead that everything lower than the horizon is below you. So turn the Mavic around and check if anything sticks above the horizon. If so increase altitude and repeat. Further if you fly high enough there is nothing to crash into. So better flying too high than too low. I am impressed by the stability of the mavic. Even in high wind conditions and at high altitudes.
 
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BD0G

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My experience with the Mavic is that the camera makes things look a lot closer than you actually are to them so I just trust the camera . I always am further away from the object than I think I am . As long as your video feed was being displayed in real time and not freezing up , just trust your camera .


Same here. I literately think I am right next to a structure when I view the video feed on my device , but when I look up and see the Mavic as I am flying LOS I realize that it is still a good distance away.
 
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JDG3K9

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Same here. I literately think I am right next to a structure when I view the video feed on my device , but when I look up and see the Mavic as I am flying LOS I realize that it is still a good distance away.
Part of what I am experiencing is that my LOS is WAYYYY off. What appears to be very close to something with my naked eye is actually not even close. I open up the map view and I am still 50 yards from where I want to be. I don't trust my eyes at all.
 

JDG3K9

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If you look at this footage the second scene the crane is wel below the horizon. Nevertheless I felt some tension flying over it.

This is very cool. Makes my knees tremble thinking about flying over that thing. Are you anywhere in the shots? I was trying to see if I could find you or determine how far away from the crane you were.
 

Annevanzwol

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Lower right corner. In black car on parking lot. As long as everything is below horizon on camera I think you will be fine. Just add a safety margin of another 10 meters if you like. The trick is to be high up in the air. Nothing to crash against. I try to read each crash report to learn from it. Most of them is people crashing against something. The stability is great even in windy conditions. My take on it.

IMG_1696.PNG
 

rydfree

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If you look at this footage the second scene the crane is wel below the horizon. Nevertheless I felt some tension flying over it.


If I had to guess , you were 30-40' above the crane .


My old Yuneec Q500 4k that I had last year was the same way . If you look at the 1:30 mark in this video where I was checking out a bird nest the Drone was still 3 feet above the tallest limb sticking up from the tree :)
 
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halley

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I understand that if you point the camera straight ahead that everything lower than the horizon is below you.

Gimbal angle doesn't matter too much as long as you see the true horizon (ignoring distant mountain ranges).

Also remember that the altitude you read is distance above the takeoff point, so a steeple on a church that is built on a 20 foot hill higher than your takeoff will seem to be 20 feet taller than the architects would record.

TiX1SKF.jpg
 
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Kilrah

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Climb progressively. When object goes below horizon you know its height. Take 30-60ft extra margin and go ahead.
The narrower FOV of the Mavic camera compared to most drones makes things look "closer than they are" so you tend to be on the safe side.
 
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Bob1956

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I’m new to drones also and have the same fears. I fly in the rolling hills of western PA and WV. Trees on hilltops catching my MP2 are my biggest worry. I have the RTH set to the max of 390 feet and sometimes that seems way too low.
Here at my “test track” my home point is lower than my turn around point. Lately I’ve been staying at 300 feet. But the art is usually isn’t up high. With the Mavic’s wide lens hills flatten at this height. Still at 250 feet here I’d swear i can see the bugs on the tree branch I’m about to fly into. Practice and experince is the key. RTH 390ft.jpg train.jpg
 
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I think honing perception only comes with practice, slow at first and increasing speed when necessary as your perception skills increase. It's like learning to land a manned aircraft, your perception of height and when to flare get better the more time you spend in that period of transition during the landing process.
 

kensteele

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I have been flying the Mavic for about 2 months now and have accumulated a little over 4 hours total flight time.
I am having a very difficult time getting over the fear of crashing this thing and much of the fear comes from my inability to determine distance from an object horizontally and vertically. Example, yesterday I went to a local church that has a very nice steeple. It is tall but from the ground I estimated it to be about 70-80 feet tall. I flew what I thought was pretty close to it and pointed the camera straight forward 90 degrees and began to climb until I reached the top of the steeple. My altitude was now reading 192 feet. Impossible. Yet, the camera still gave me the impression that I was not yet above the top of the steeple. I wanted to fly directly over the top of it to setup a Point of Interest shot. Because of my fear of having so high in the air and not being able to judge how close to it I was I just brought it back to me and landed. I was shaking and trembling with fear (mostly due to the though of what my wife would do to me if I crashed the drone). What should I do? Thinking I may not be cut out for this stuff, even though I am a certified, private pilot!!!!

sure. if that steeple is 192 feet then it would be amazing indeed. if you're going to fly in the same area all the time, may as well get the actual measurements of all the tallest building in the area. for my place, i find 350 feet is sufficient so when i feel uncomfortable, i lift to 400 feet. nothing in my ao is anywhere close to 400 feet i should be able to fly that with my eyes closed. and i have state farm insurance so as the other poster said, it really takes the edge off.
 
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DeeRose

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I have been flying the Mavic for about 2 months now and have accumulated a little over 4 hours total flight time.
I am having a very difficult time getting over the fear of crashing this thing and much of the fear comes from my inability to determine distance from an object horizontally and vertically. Example, yesterday I went to a local church that has a very nice steeple. It is tall but from the ground I estimated it to be about 70-80 feet tall. I flew what I thought was pretty close to it and pointed the camera straight forward 90 degrees and began to climb until I reached the top of the steeple. My altitude was now reading 192 feet. Impossible. Yet, the camera still gave me the impression that I was not yet above the top of the steeple. I wanted to fly directly over the top of it to setup a Point of Interest shot. Because of my fear of having so high in the air and not being able to judge how close to it I was I just brought it back to me and landed. I was shaking and trembling with fear (mostly due to the though of what my wife would do to me if I crashed the drone). What should I do? Thinking I may not be cut out for this stuff, even though I am a certified, private pilot!!!!
The radar, front and back, helps me to judge whether I'm getting too close to an object. Granted, I slow up when I get close. I've been flying for about 6 months and at first it was a bit unnerving for the reasons you mentioned. Over time and with practice, I'm a lot more relaxed these days. As someone else mentioned, if you don't have DJI care refresh, having a State Farm policy also helps a lot. It did for me.
 

deepakvrao

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Gimbal angle doesn't matter too much as long as you see the true horizon (ignoring distant mountain ranges).

Also remember that the altitude you read is distance above the takeoff point, so a steeple on a church that is built on a 20 foot hill higher than your takeoff will seem to be 20 feet taller than the architects would record.

TiX1SKF.jpg

I know this is an old thread, but it came up on search.

Is that true? That the angle of the gimbal does not matter, and if an object is below the horizon, you are definitely above the said object?
 

DanMan32

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That's how I judge it. Only works in relatively flat terrain like here in Florida.
If you're really low to the ground, you lose your distant horizon reference though.
 

deepakvrao

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That's how I judge it. Only works in relatively flat terrain like here in Florida.
If you're really low to the ground, you lose your distant horizon reference though.

So, even if the gimbal is say, at 20 degrees down, this would be reasonably reliable?
 
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