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Never flown + 5 week road trip, need advice (lots of it)

chaos.drone

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Family is taking a road trip through 8 states of the USA with the kids. Lots of hikes, lots of landmarks. I'd love to get amazing footage.

Today was about to buy a Mavic 2 Pro, and then I saw a bunch of accessories and realized I don't know what I'm doing.

I have zero droning experience aside from using $30 toy drones. This means I have no idea what to buy, and I have no idea how to make the best of the experience. I could use your help.

Also there must be lots of "gotchas" like "don't use the stock blades", "always RTH with 20% juice left", "never fly over a mountain", etc. Not sure if those statements are true.

The two things I've got going for me is that:
1) Budget isn't an issue
2) Lots of you have TONNES of experience

Do you have some advice on purchasing, and advice on flying?

Sorry ahead of time if this isn't an appropriate post for this forum.
 
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there must be lots of "gotchas" like "don't use the stock blades"
I think you mean always use stock blades. 3rd party props are what many try not to use.

Do you have some advice on purchasing, and advice on flying?
For purchasing:
  • You can find a sortable list of daily Mavic 2 Pro deals here:
    Buy A DJI Mavic (Deals Update Daily)

  • If you're going to buy a deal that's packaged with accessories, make sure it contains accessories you actually want. And compare the package vs. no package pricing since you could save money by buying the drone and accessories separately.

  • Buy from DJI or an authorized DJI dealer.

  • Consider buying from a place that has a great return policy (like Amazon).

For flying:
 
apart from all the great advise from@msinger get some apps for your phone to access information on where you can fly also get some third party insurance for that unforeseen crash that causes damage to someones property and try to get some practise flying in before you go also make your self aware of the laws governing drones in your country
 
So, i would say this - always be aware of rules faa posted. Rules exist for a reason. Mavic 2 is crazy reliable and simple to fly and it gives a lot of false confidence to beginners. You should always be aware what is under your drone in case if it drops down.

As of buying - get a bundle with a smart controller. It may have tricks to update sometimes but it way better to use. Buy dji refresh when you activate the drone.
Get 5-6 128gb a2 sc cards - they are cheap on amazon now. Have a laptop with you on a trip. Buy fly more kit - you will get a bag to carry and 2 extra batteries and a car charger. And have fun.

Ps. Never take off or land if kids are near. Keep them always way away from the model. And never start or land on a car or anything metal.
 
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You will need an FAA license - pretty cheap.

You canNOT fly in National Parks. I would imagine most of Washington, DC is off-limits, too. Some localities, like Seattle allow NO flying from any public space including parks or streets (you can fly from private property) - Someone crashed one into the Space Needle and another fell on someone at a parade - therefore, the strict (overly so????) regs.

Most confusing thing is flying or returning toward yourself - stick controls are or feel backward (or is it just me!!!). Get extra props. Extra batteries - maybe DJI's multi-battery charger or a 3rd party charger. I think the Smart Controller is terrific - personal choice.

Oh, not to rain on your parade but put stuff in or take stuff out of the trunk/boot/whatever before you get to your destination so as to not attract unwanted attention to the contents.
 
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Be prepared for m2 to decide not to fly...and take your time sorting out why.

Don't take off until GPS mode confirmed.

Don't wear "smart watch" because it will argue with controller. My Samsung watch is a real spolier.
If using samsung phone use main usb port and be easy for disconnects because cable fit into late model samsung is not reliable.
 
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Be prepared for m2 to decide not to fly...and take your time sorting out why.

Don't take off until GPS mode confirmed.

Don't wear "smart watch" because it will argue with controller. My Samsung watch is a real spolier.
If using samsung phone use main usb port and be easy for disconnects because cable fit into late model samsung is not reliable.
I won't dispute you on the watch but I don't think I've had any issues with my Samsung smart watch. Watch is coupled with my android phone and was when I used the regular controller and now with the smart controller.
 
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Family is taking a road trip through 8 states of the USA with the kids. Lots of hikes, lots of landmarks. I'd love to get amazing footage.

Today was about to buy a Mavic 2 Pro, and then I saw a bunch of accessories and realized I don't know what I'm doing.

I have zero droning experience aside from using $30 toy drones. This means I have no idea what to buy, and I have no idea how to make the best of the experience. I could use your help.

Also there must be lots of "gotchas" like "don't use the stock blades", "always RTH with 20% juice left", "never fly over a mountain", etc. Not sure if those statements are true.

The two things I've got going for me is that:
1) Budget isn't an issue
2) Lots of you have TONNES of experience

Do you have some advice on purchasing, and advice on flying?

Sorry ahead of time if this isn't an appropriate post for this forum.
When is your trip?
The downloadable manuals are about 60-70 pages for all the Mavic2 series and most others.
You’ll want to fly in beginner mode until you are very comfortable, especially with pause and RTH.... I flew my first 20-25 flights (all sifferent days) before I was comfortable leaving beginner.
Consider if you have time to be familiar enough with a new drone.
I am assuming you are U.S. based... if not there’s a bunch of things to do over and above learning a new drone.
 
The effect of my Samsung smart watch was delayed responses to controls, zigzag flight path when told to fly straight and major problems getting to land... it stayed hovering at 500mm and I couldn't turn props off... had to press battery switch on phantom and on m2z.

I took watch off, put in in car 20 metres away and flights resumed as normal. I thought the controller would have displayed a warning.
 
You will need an FAA license - pretty cheap.

You canNOT fly in National Parks. I would imagine most of Washington, DC is off-limits, too. Some localities, like Seattle allow NO flying from any public space including parks or streets (you can fly from private property) - Someone crashed one into the Space Needle and another fell on someone at a parade - therefore, the strict (overly so????) regs.

Most confusing thing is flying or returning toward yourself - stick controls are or feel backward (or is it just me!!!). Get extra props. Extra batteries - maybe DJI's multi-battery charger or a 3rd party charger. I think the Smart Controller is terrific - personal choice.

Oh, not to rain on your parade but put stuff in or take stuff out of the trunk/boot/whatever before you get to your destination so as to not attract unwanted attention to the contents.

Washington DC is not a state so... it’s also illegal to fly a drone in DC, but even if it was legal, it wouldn’t matter because National Airport has a 15 mile NFZ radius. Probably wasn’t on your list anyway, but it was an opportunity to rant about DC.

Aside from National Parks, many other state and local parks have laws against drones. Also, aircraft NoFlyZones are like... everywhere. Do your locations research ahead of time and use AirMap to check the NFZ’s.

Get at least a couple of big, fast SD cards (128gb). In order to get smooth video, it’s necessary to reduce sensitivity on drone and gimbal.
 
OK folks let’s try to stay on topic for the OP.

You can start a new thread if needed for another issue.

Family is taking a road trip through 8 states of the USA with the kids. Lots of hikes, lots of landmarks. I'd love to get amazing footage.

Today was about to buy a Mavic 2 Pro, and then I saw a bunch of accessories and realized I don't know what I'm doing.

I have zero droning experience aside from using $30 toy drones. This means I have no idea what to buy, and I have no idea how to make the best of the experience. I could use your help.

Also there must be lots of "gotchas" like "don't use the stock blades", "always RTH with 20% juice left", "never fly over a mountain", etc. Not sure if those statements are true.

The two things I've got going for me is that:
1) Budget isn't an issue
2) Lots of you have TONNES of experience

Do you have some advice on purchasing, and advice on flying?

Sorry ahead of time if this isn't an appropriate post for this forum.

.
 
I have no idea how to make the best of the experience. I could use your help.
You wouldn't buy a Cessna and expect to leave for a flying holiday without knowing how to fly the plane.
It should be the same with the drone.
Get one asap and start learning how it works and how to fly and get some experience.
 
See my last post. I do not know what the reason is. I suspect magnetic interference with signal.
Any magnetic field associated with the watch would be tiny. It would have no effect on the signal.
 
Depends on how long between getting one and when your trip starts. As Meta4 said, you can't just buy one and bring it on a holiday and just fly with it.
You need a few hours of flight time to understand how it actually works. It might look straightforward reading a manual, but flying it is a different story. Just as you can't expect to get a driver's license just because you read a manual about driving a car. I think minimum 20hrs of flight time in a familiar location.
If you crash or lose your drone in the first week, it'll put a damper on your holiday for the rest of the 4+ weeks.
 
If you can fly a toy drone easy, the big one is Exactly the same thing.
Always set your RTH altitude higher than the tallest obstacle that you will be flying over while in the air.
Always only take-off when it says Ready to Go. If you are going to fly tight, use Tripod mode so it has 6-way Obstacle Avoidance. In Normal mode the sides are disabled.
Come back for landing with plenty of battery to spare. Basically, you want to be on the ground before it says 25%.
Disable Wifi and Bluetooth on the Smartphone before connecting it to the controller.
Flying in Sport mode on the way back and descending increases flight time.

Stock props work perfectly fine. I wouldn't use aftermarkets.

Also, always firmware update your controller and aircraft through the computer with DJI Assistant for Mavic 2 considering your PC is reliable.

Do the IMU, compass, and Gimbal calibration. before taking-off.
 
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I'd take it to a wide open field and experiment with everything including Return To Home, and practice maneuvering and get good at bringing it home using only the information on the controller screen. That way loss of the phone connection or the app crashing is a minor inconvenience instead of panic-time.
 
I'd take it to a wide open field and experiment with everything including Return To Home, and practice maneuvering and get good at bringing it home using only the information on the controller screen. That way loss of the phone connection or the app crashing is a minor inconvenience instead of panic-time.
RTH will definitely work as long as you are far enough it won't land where it is such as over water.
 
get extra batteries and a car charger. :)
practise before you go.
train your kids to be your spotters, very useful, pay them if needs be, $1 for being the spotter (or ice cream at the fuel stop, etc, be creative). you can offer them 50c for every attacking bird they spot, what fun, like African safari!
learn to set up fast, so as to minimize the impact on your family. Mine don't tolerate long stops to take photos, so I have learnt to be very, very fast.
 
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To me, RTH is a last resort, I prefer to fly it home.
agreed, but I do use it when I "lose" the drone in the bright sky. Eventually I manage to spot it and cancel RTH. It's important to always make sure the "home point" has been registered.
 
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