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Landing Mini 2 on a boat

Freddy K

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Hi everyone,
In a few weeks I'm going on a dive cruise on a small yacht. I plan to fly my mini 2 to take pictures and video of the boat and surroundings.
I did the same last year, but only flew when the boat was anchored and when there was no or little wind. I had no problems launching and landing then.

I am now thinking of grabbing a video of the boat while it is moving. Obviously this poses extra things to be aware of. Launching should be done from the rear of the boat, as the drone will stay at its GPS location while the boat moves away underneath it.
I'm more worried about landing as hovering above the deck will mean I will actually need to fly forward at the same speed as the boat.

My question: is it possible to initiate the landing sequence while flying forward?

I almost always hand catch the drone so I'm very experienced in that, but I would need both hands to land and fly forward at the same time, so I would need a second person to do the hand catching.
Any remarks and suggestions are welcome.

Freddy
 
I'd be inclined to, on dry land and with good GPS, experiment with taping over the vision sensors on the bottom of the drone.
I am pretty sure hand catching is going to be the only way you will land this and then you, or your catcher, may well have to use snatch and twist approach to stop the motors.
Alternatively, enable the CSC "anytime" setting but be wary of that as it will also stop the motors with the drone in mid air. The delay period is around 1.7 seconds.
The only other thing I can think of working is a weighted line tied to the bottom of the drone that the catcher could catch and haul the drone in but that could be problematic. A catching handle attached to the drone might trigger payload mode.
 
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Not sure about landing whilst moving, you certainly wont be able to use auto landing but also remember that return to home will end with a swim as the boat will not be where it was.
 
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How about covering the downward sensors, get the bird into a stable flight relative to boat and use a six foot ample sized butterfly net to scoop it upward and pull into moving boat? Probably would not harm the props. I have never done this of course but I have slept at a Holiday Inn or what ever that commercial was. This could be tested on land.
 
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FreddyK,
I tried it for the first and last time this summer. We were not going terribly fast and I felt very confident in bringing it back and hand catching it…NOT. Other than moving over the water the flying conditions weather wise were good 👍.

I quickly realized, that, you bloody well need both hands on the controller to perform this maneuver…unless your drone has cruise control. I was at the bow and after a minute of trying to coordinate this awkward maneuver I yelled out to my son to come forward and assist me. He came forward, had a laugh 😂 watching me, and then did a grab and inversion while I had the drone in position…never again. To save face I used my age and the fact I have a tremor in both hands 🙌🏽 as an excuse.

So, if you do attempt this crazy flying maneuver make sure you have a co pilot with drone experience, a fully charged battery, and DO launch off the stern. I must of had about three close calls that would have resulted in a downing in the ocean. Maybe cruise control which I’ve never tried is the answer to a solo retrieval…maybe. FYI…I was flying my Mini 3 Pro.

It was an exciting moment for this old man, but, never again. I’ll leave it to the mavericks out there from now on.

👍 🇨🇦
 
Hi everyone,
In a few weeks I'm going on a dive cruise on a small yacht. I plan to fly my mini 2 to take pictures and video of the boat and surroundings.
I did the same last year, but only flew when the boat was anchored and when there was no or little wind. I had no problems launching and landing then.

I am now thinking of grabbing a video of the boat while it is moving. Obviously this poses extra things to be aware of. Launching should be done from the rear of the boat, as the drone will stay at its GPS location while the boat moves away underneath it.
I'm more worried about landing as hovering above the deck will mean I will actually need to fly forward at the same speed as the boat.

My question: is it possible to initiate the landing sequence while flying forward?

I almost always hand catch the drone so I'm very experienced in that, but I would need both hands to land and fly forward at the same time, so I would need a second person to do the hand catching.
Any remarks and suggestions are welcome.

Freddy
I have a family member with a yacht on lake Erie and had the pleasure of going on a couple of 1 week trips. The first one, I would not even consider launching and landing from the boat as tempting as it was. The second opportunity, I had watched several YouTube videos on the subject and took my Mavic 3 with the intention of getting some cool images. When it came right down to it, still couldn't muster the nerve to give it a try for fear of losing my drone, damaging my brother's boat and just the embarrassment. Being the younger cockier me, I would have given it a try, but now being a senior, I allowed my experience or lack of guide me.
 
Try it from the back of a moving pickup truck. There's tricks you need to learn, like landing backwards so the controls match the drone movements. Set loss of signal to hover so you can return to the drone..or else it drowns. RTH doesn't help when moving from original home point. Practice helps. My A2 has a Rescue Jacket in case a water landing is necessary..it floats upright.
 
Try it from the back of a moving pickup truck. There's tricks you need to learn, like landing backwards so the controls match the drone movements. Set loss of signal to hover so you can return to the drone..or else it drowns. RTH doesn't help when moving from original home point. Practice helps. My A2 has a Rescue Jacket in case a water landing is necessary..it floats upright.
Thanks for those suggestions! All make good sense.
 
After reading the comments and reflecting on previous life decisions, I think it would be best if I simply don't try launching and landing from a moving boat until I'm absolutely sure the missus can be convinced to let me buy a new drone.

Thank you all for your feedback.
 
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Hi everyone,
In a few weeks I'm going on a dive cruise on a small yacht. I plan to fly my mini 2 to take pictures and video of the boat and surroundings.
I did the same last year, but only flew when the boat was anchored and when there was no or little wind. I had no problems launching and landing then.

I am now thinking of grabbing a video of the boat while it is moving. Obviously this poses extra things to be aware of. Launching should be done from the rear of the boat, as the drone will stay at its GPS location while the boat moves away underneath it.
I'm more worried about landing as hovering above the deck will mean I will actually need to fly forward at the same speed as the boat.

My question: is it possible to initiate the landing sequence while flying forward?

I almost always hand catch the drone so I'm very experienced in that, but I would need both hands to land and fly forward at the same time, so I would need a second person to do the hand catching.
Any remarks and suggestions are welcome.

Freddy
I launched and landed from a kayak on a slow moving river recently. Took me 4-5 tries to land/catch it. Would be easier with one person on the controls and another acting as the catcher. Can’t imagine trying it solo moving much faster.
 
I fly from and return to moving boats all the time. But you have to hand launch and hand catch. You cannot land on something that is moving. After you catch it, turn the drone sideways and the motors will shut off. Much easier and safer if you have a rigid handle on the bottom to catch it, but that might not work on a mini. If you don’t have a handle have the person catching it wear some heavy gloves to protect their fingers. Have one person fly the drone and someone else launch and catch it, until you are very experienced with it. Fly from and to the back of the boat, not the side and definitely not the front. Then the drone separates from the boat automatically. Make sure it is pulling up before letting go. The suggesting to approach the boat backwards is good. Obstacle detection is also a concern. I have no problem with down looking sensors.
 
Change controller settings so that the home point is the controller location. If something happens it will at least try and come back to you. Not a fan of hand catching, any miss will probably result in a hospital visit for stiches. If you are 107 that is an FAA and NTSB report.
 
I think the rational solution here is pretty simple: it's a small yacht. You're going to need to have the approval and support of the boat owner/driver (what - you think you're gonna sneak away to some unobserved corner of this small yacht, and while nobody is looking, launch your drone, and recover it too, all while nobody notices? Yeah, sure...) So you're going to need the approval (if not the enthusiastic blessing) of the ship's crew. If they're willing to let you do this, they'll need to be willing to slow the boat down and STOP for a few minutes, twice (first to launch, then to land). If they're willing to do that, it'll still be challenging (even with engines stopped, boats move - a lot more than you think they do). If they're not willing to do that, then don't bother, because nothing good is going to happen. Maybe offer the boat owner footage of the boat in motion, maybe that will help motivate them.
 
Change controller settings so that the home point is the controller location. If something happens it will at least try and come back to you. Not a fan of hand catching, any miss will probably result in a hospital visit for stiches. If you are 107 that is an FAA and NTSB report.

The OP's Mini 2 doesn't have the option to have the home point dynamically update to the controller location.

An FAA accident report is required only "if it results in at least serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness, or if it causes damage to any property (other than the UAS or drone) in excess of $500 to repair or replace the property (whichever is lower)."


I doubt that a cut from a propeller would be considered a "serious injury." I was curious about found an FAA summary statement and an advisory and a good article by a drone pilot/attorney. The FAA considers a serious injury as level 3 or higher on a six-level scale where 1 in minor and 6 is nonsurvivable.

In case anyone wants to dig into the issue:
 
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