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TestPilot1

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Hello fellow Mavic2 pilots,

I've seen floats on Amazon made with pool noodles, but the first big issue is weight. 9 oz for a 32oz Mavic 2 represents 28% extra weight, which the drone is not designed for. This creates an over-load to the motors, and potential failure of some sort... sooner or later. The milder problem is reduced battery time due to over-weight.

The second problem is stability on the water, because the C.G. of the arrangement is high, so if not stable enough the Mavic2 will flip-over and get all the electronics wet (... total loss).

Bigger floats are better, but then you get into aerodynamic problems, like having too much lateral area, which affects not only battery performance but also how the drone fights the wind. If you exceed certain amount of lateral area, you may have trouble hovering or flying in high wind.

So you need to define your mission. Do you really want to land on water every day? Why? ... Why risk a $1300+ piece of sophisticated equipment just to see it floating on a lake?

If the objective is to add piece of mind while flying over water and save your air-frame in case of an accident, then that's different.

It's possible to build a LIGHT frame with floats that will land on calm water if there is an auto-land due to a battery problem. Worst case ... if the Mavic2 falls out of control (and possibly flips during a hard landing) due to a hawk attack, prop/motor problem, then at least you will be able to rescue the air-frame, have better chances of locating the wreck, and refreshing (if you have the plan) or repair it.

I've been working on the following attachment for the Mavic 2 made with composite materials. My design currently weights only 2.5 oz (less than 8% extra weight for the Mavic2 ). It attaches with good-old rubber-band technology (proven method used with Radio-Control for over 100 years) for quick mounting and quick battery change. It installs in 10 seconds, and stays put even in case of a water-hit. No screws to deal with, always fits tight, these pontoons are made of a single piece composite materials.

Advantages:
- Take-off and land almost anywhere, wet grass, tall grass, sand, mud, on top of a hedge, even water (although I don't recommend to actually land on water if you have other alternatives)
- Peace-of-Mind when flying over water, canals, lakes, the ocean
- Able to "grab" the Mavic2 if flying from a boat, without fear of the props catching your fingers
- Visibility is much better, you can spot the Mavic from further away (increases visual range). Painting them in custom colors is possible.
- Looks really cool

Dis-advantages:
- Might reduce performance by 5% - 10% (maybe lose 2 - 3 mins of flight time)
- Will fly well on winds up to 12 - 13 knots (14 - 15 mph). Above this you can still fly but you will need to fight the wind (and probably fly on the P-mode)
- If a strong crosswind is present, you may see the floats on the edge of the screen momentarily (similar issue as the props coming into view)

I've been flying with them for some time and I really feel no big difference on the handling, except in high-wind conditions.

Anybody interested? Any comments will be welcome.

Alex

Here are some photos:

Mavic 2 Floats on Water.jpg Mavic 2 Floats Day Hover 2.jpg Mavic 2 Floats Dusk.jpg
 
Hi test pilot,
I fly mostly over water, I am intereted in a device to recover my drone if it free falls from 300 feet high into 300 feet of water. I have no interest in landing on water on purpose. I have seen the water buoy and getterback an really do not think either suits my purpose.

One question I have for you is how are the pontoons attached to the frame?. The other question is do you think your device would still be intack after hitting the water from 300 feet high. My drone is a Mavic 2.
 
Hello Otisangb,

Thanks for your comments on my post.

1) The attachment is designed around a light "fiberglass mask" that wraps the underside of the Mavic. This mask has openings to avoid obstructions to the sensors. The mask is held in place by a simple yet effective method: 2 x #64 rubber-bands that wrap around the top of the Mavic. This is the safest and fastest method of attaching it w/o adding weight or complexity. It's a proven method of holding wings on 5 lbs RC airplanes even when flying aerobatics, so it will stay in place.

2) In order to keep the frame under 3oz, everything has to be light as a feather, which means that a big impact will break something. It will also depend on the angle of the impact.

I did a toss-up/drop test to a height of about 10 - 12ft on to water using a dead weight of 2lbs-4oz representing a Mavic 2. After 3 tries with corresponding big splashes, something finally broke. The damage was one broken leg (1 out of 4) and lost half of a pontoon. See picture below.

Another experiment was to eliminate the one pontoon, leaving only one pontoon attached on one leg. This single pontoon still keeps everything afloat. as you can see in the next picture. This means that on a very bad impact, worst case scenario, there will be some kind of damage but all you need is one leg and one pontoon to save the Mavic from sinking.

Falling from 300ft is bad, but the chances of a straight vertical plunge are minimal. Most probable scenario would be an unexpected critical battery auto-land which will save the Mavic 100%. Worst case would be losing one motor or prop, in which case the Mavic will descend spinning or spiraling, and this attitude plus the aerodynamic resistance from the pontoons will help the Mavic slow down and soften the impact.

In conclusion:
There is a good probability that 75% of the structure will survive, and you only need a minimum of 50% of the structure to save the wreck from sinking. The other alternative is flying w/o any floating device, which gives you 0.0% chance of recovery.

Here are the photos of the destructive test.

After a hard impact, 75% of the structure attached:
Mavic 2 Drop Test 2.jpg

Only one float attached (50% of the structure), wreck still floating
Mavic 2 Drop Test 3.jpg

If you are interested in trying it, please contact me at [email protected].

A.S.
 
Last edited:
Fellow Mavic Pilots,

This is a video I put together to show the Pontoons in operations, benefits and possibilities...

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1592922033102.png

If interested, please contact me at [email protected]

Happy Landings!

Rgds,

AS
 
Any plans on making these for the Mavic Air 2? Would the relatively greater weight ratio due to the lighter drone make it unfeasible? Would the lower cost of the Air 2 make the add-on non cost-effective? I like the idea of some sort of water-safe landing, or at least recovery, for a drone but don't like the idea of just slapping a pool noodle on and calling it good enough. Good to see others looking into solutions.
 
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Any plans on making these for the Mavic Air 2? Would the relatively greater weight ratio due to the lighter drone make it unfeasible? Would the lower cost of the Air 2 make the add-on non cost-effective? I like the idea of some sort of water-safe landing, or at least recovery, for a drone but don't like the idea of just slapping a pool noodle on and calling it good enough. Good to see others looking into solutions.
Hello Phebus13,
Thanks for your interest.
It should be possible to make a scaled-down version to fit the Mavic Air2. I have not looked into it yet.
The pool noodle solution is cheap, but you get what you pay for. The noodle can come lose on impact, etc.
There is also a 3D printed plastic structure + noodle on Amazon (For the Mavic2), but it's complex to attach and its' too heavy (reduces your flight time).
I will keep you posted.
AS
 
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