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Phantom Pilot Switching to Mini 2

Bill Ballard

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Hello all -

I'm new to the Mavic/Mini UAV systems, coming from flying a DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ (among various other UAV's) for a while. I live on my sailboat, and safely storing and securing the P4P is becoming an issue. So, out with the Phantom, (it's up for sale), and in with the Mini!

Yes, it's quite a trade off in features, etc. However, I feel the Mini 2 will be a more than capable replacement for what I need. And it goes without saying that it will be much, much easier to store; it can live with my other camera gear. And, the batteries can be recharged via USB using the boat's 12vDC system without involving the inverter, (a huge savings in the daily power budget), or by portable power banks, and falling under the 250g weight, it won't be so much of an issue moving between countries. (When we can do that again...)

It should be here Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to getting in the air with it.
 

Malcx

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Your most notable difference will be handling the wind, so take some time to get used to that and you'll be golden!
 

Bill Ballard

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Your most notable difference will be handling the wind, so take some time to get used to that and you'll be golden!
That's what I'm anticipating...hand launching and catching will be a bit different as well...I think it's going to work well.
 

Phantomrain.org

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Hello all -

I'm new to the Mavic/Mini UAV systems, coming from flying a DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ (among various other UAV's) for a while. I live on my sailboat, and safely storing and securing the P4P is becoming an issue. So, out with the Phantom, (it's up for sale), and in with the Mini!

Yes, it's quite a trade off in features, etc. However, I feel the Mini 2 will be a more than capable replacement for what I need. And it goes without saying that it will be much, much easier to store; it can live with my other camera gear. And, the batteries can be recharged via USB using the boat's 12vDC system without involving the inverter, (a huge savings in the daily power budget), or by portable power banks, and falling under the 250g weight, it won't be so much of an issue moving between countries. (When we can do that again...)

It should be here Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to getting in the air with it.

That is big shift between going from a Phantom 4 Pro flag ship , to to the Mini 2 , if anything the Air 2 would have been a nice fit .

Although there are videos of the Mini 2 handling some winds in 20 mph that is not without the whipping of the drone that can occur, being on the boat adds yet another part of the Equation and hand catching yet another.

I suspect the first couple times that drone whips past your face , you will be forgetting all about that 250 g weight benefit. But I do think that Air 2 would be the perfect option with a lot less surprises coming from the Phantom 4 Pro.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly your Mavic in the Rain and Float on water.
 
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msinger

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Welcome to the forum! :)
 

Bill Ballard

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That is big shift between going from a Phantom 4 Pro flag ship , to to the Mini 2 , if anything the Air 2 would have been a nice fit .

Although there are videos of the Mini 2 handling some winds in 20 mph that is not without the whipping of the drone that can occur, being on the boat adds yet another part of the Equation and hand catching yet another.

I suspect the first couple times that drone whips past your face , you will be forgetting all about that 250 g weight benefit. But I do think that Air 2 would be the perfect option with a lot less surprises coming from the Phantom 4 Pro.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly your Mavic in the Rain and Float on water.
The concern I've gotten here (and on the Phantom forum) for flying the Mini in high wind conditions is quite reassuring. Trust me, I did give significant consideration to the Mavic Air 2, and also to the Mavic 2 Pro. In the end, while all have their pros and cons, the Mini 2 has won out for the reasons listed above.

That said, flying a drone (any drone) from a boat (any boat) is a dicey proposition. Regardless, the decision when to fly lies with me, and if there's too much wind - then I don't launch. I'm a conservative pilot and rarely flew the Phantom in more than 15 knots at ground level. And yes, the wind threshold for the Mini is obviously lower than it is for the Phantom, but this is not flying on land or launching and recovering on land while flying over water. When winds pick up at sea, so does the sea state. Trying to launch and recover any drone on a boat moving through just a moderate sea, even if stopped, is quite difficult.

Many of you may find it interesting that of all the times I nearly lost the Phantom when flying from the boat - which are more than I care to recall - it wasn't because of wind conditions, but usually because of the motion of the boat. And, the Phantom's own obstacle avoidance systems nearly caused the loss of the drone on more than one occasion. I quickly learned to fly when we were at anchor, or in very light weather conditions when we were underway. We also learned to stop, or at least slow the boat as much as possible when recovering the drone. Launching is easier and safer to do with the boat moving, as opposed to recovering.

To be honest, I'm quite surprised I haven't lost the Phantom, considering some of the situations I've been in with the bird. Losing the Mini would (will?) be a much easier financial hit than losing the Phantom or the Air 2 or the Mavic 2 Pro would be, plain and simple. And the Phantom has whipped by my body and head as well; there was the time when I was attempting to hand catch the Phantom from the bow of a small moving motorboat, and the drone went unexpectedly from P-Mode into Atti Mode. That was not fun. (And no, I did not hit the mode switch on the controller!)

The weight of the Mini did play a big role in my decision. This is mostly to avoid potential legal issues when traveling. When we clear into a country arriving by our boat, it's a different experience than if we were arriving by a commercial airline with a drone packed in luggage. We are subject to more inspections, scrutiny, etc. I have heard stories of customs officers seizing UAV's from vessels when the owner of the drone could not show a license or similar from their country of origin, to be returned when the vessel and crew departed the country. (Full disclosure; I don't personally know anyone this has happened to.) Because my boat is my legal residence/home, I cannot get a 107 license, as my legal mailing address is a mail forwarding service. Accordingly, the FAA does not regard me as having a 'fixed, permanent, residential address which can be inhabited,' even though the boat federal registration number is on the address line of my Florida issued driver's license. Thus, no address the FAA recognizes, no test. I've tried. Hence the appeal of the Mini's weight.

Lastly, the ability to charge the Mini's batteries and controller through the boat's own 12vDC system, or portable USB power banks, is huge. Until you live 'off-grid,' which we do much of the time, and depend on either mechanical or solar methods for all of your power generation needs, it's tough to understand how miserly one must be with power budgets. This is a big plus; I'm sure opportunities to get great footage and shots were missed because the power to charge the Phantom's batteries simply couldn't be spared.

Thanks all!
 
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medeacor

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The concern I've gotten here (and on the Phantom forum) for flying the Mini in high wind conditions is quite reassuring. Trust me, I did give significant consideration to the Mavic Air 2, and also to the Mavic 2 Pro. In the end, while all have their pros and cons, the Mini 2 has won out for the reasons listed above.

That said, flying a drone (any drone) from a boat (any boat) is a dicey proposition. Regardless, the decision when to fly lies with me, and if there's too much wind - then I don't launch. I'm a conservative pilot and rarely flew the Phantom in more than 15 knots at ground level. And yes, the wind threshold for the Mini is obviously lower than it is for the Phantom, but this is not flying on land or launching and recovering on land while flying over water. When winds pick up at sea, so does the sea state. Trying to launch and recover any drone on a boat moving through just a moderate sea, even if stopped, is quite difficult.

Many of you may find it interesting that of all the times I nearly lost the Phantom when flying from the boat - which are more than I care to recall - it wasn't because of wind conditions, but usually because of the motion of the boat. And, the Phantom's own obstacle avoidance systems nearly caused the loss of the drone on more than one occasion. I quickly learned to fly when we were at anchor, or in very light weather conditions when we were underway. We also learned to stop, or at least slow the boat as much as possible when recovering the drone. Launching is easier and safer to do with the boat moving, as opposed to recovering.

To be honest, I'm quite surprised I haven't lost the Phantom, considering some of the situations I've been in with the bird. Losing the Mini would (will?) be a much easier financial hit than losing the Phantom or the Air 2 or the Mavic 2 Pro would be, plain and simple. And the Phantom has whipped by my body and head as well; there was the time when I was attempting to hand catch the Phantom from the bow of a small moving motorboat, and the drone went unexpectedly from P-Mode into Atti Mode. That was not fun. (And no, I did not hit the mode switch on the controller!)

The weight of the Mini did play a big role in my decision. This is mostly to avoid potential legal issues when traveling. When we clear into a country arriving by our boat, it's a different experience than if we were arriving by a commercial airline with a drone packed in luggage. We are subject to more inspections, scrutiny, etc. I have heard stories of customs officers seizing UAV's from vessels when the owner of the drone could not show a license or similar from their country of origin, to be returned when the vessel and crew departed the country. (Full disclosure; I don't personally know anyone this has happened to.) Because my boat is my legal residence/home, I cannot get a 107 license, as my legal mailing address is a mail forwarding service. Accordingly, the FAA does not regard me as having a 'fixed, permanent, residential address which can be inhabited,' even though the boat federal registration number is on the address line of my Florida issued driver's license. Thus, no address the FAA recognizes, no test. I've tried. Hence the appeal of the Mini's weight.

Lastly, the ability to charge the Mini's batteries and controller through the boat's own 12vDC system, or portable USB power banks, is huge. Until you live 'off-grid,' which we do much of the time, and depend on either mechanical or solar methods for all of your power generation needs, it's tough to understand how miserly one must be with power budgets. This is a big plus; I'm sure opportunities to get great footage and shots were missed because the power to charge the Phantom's batteries simply couldn't be spared.

Thanks all!
Thoroughly enjoyed this read and the rationale in the decision-making process. Obviously a lot of thought went into the process - enjoy the new addition - maybe some reports down the road?
 
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Bill Ballard

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Thoroughly enjoyed this read and the rationale in the decision-making process. Obviously a lot of thought went into the process - enjoy the new addition - maybe some reports down the road?
Thanks! It was much more than a snap decision to make the switch,(oh, look! That Mini's cool!!); I appreciate you taking the time to read.

The Mini is expected to arrive on Tuesday, and it will be closer to the weekend before I'll have a chance to get it in the air. We're in a marina now until we depart next spring for somewhere in New England, so I have plenty of time to do some training and flying from both the beach and the boat while here in the Keys.
 
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medeacor

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Thanks! It was much more than a snap decision to make the switch,(oh, look! That Mini's cool!!); I appreciate you taking the time to read.

The Mini is expected to arrive on Tuesday, and it will be closer to the weekend before I'll have a chance to get it in the air. We're in a marina now until we depart next spring for somewhere in New England, so I have plenty of time to do some training and flying from both the beach and the boat while here in the Keys.