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PRE-FLIGHT CHECKLIST (M4P)

Luckyguy9

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* BEFORE LEAVING HOME
1- Power up drone/controller, check for updates and apply as needed
2- Batteries fully charged
3- check props + SD Cards inserted?
4- Download maps for fly zone if you might not have WiFi at site
5- Check weather on “UAV FORCAST” App
6- Check “B4UFLY” App to see if you'll be in controlled airspace

* AT PLANNED FLY SITE

7- if required, get LAANC permission to fly from the “ALOFT” or "LAANC" Apps
8- turn on controller
9- turn on hotspot on phone
10- connect controller to WiFi hotspot thru settings if available
11- remove gimbal cover
12- unfold arms - if strobes, attach/turn on
13- Start Drone
14- go into "FLY" on controller & check image
15- verify battery level %
16- verify RTN height is higher than nearby obstacles (trees, structures) but LOWER than permitted Altitude.
17- verify satellite bars are WHITE on controller
18- check drone orientation on map (compass check)
19- turn on video recording
20- look for surrounding obstacles, people, etc, and straight above you for trees
21- press & hold “TAKEOFF” button
22- verify "HOME POINT UPDATED
23- Ascend 7 meters (25 ft) before moving horizontally
24- GO FLY

AT END OF FLIGHT, REMEMBER TO STOP RECORDING BEFORE TURNING OFF DRONE.

THIS IS INTENDED FOR EVERYONE FROM BEGINNER ON.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCED, ELIMINATE THOSE ITEMS OBVIOUS TO YOU LIKE "TAKEOFF"
 
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3a) check you have a memory card in the drone and whatever else you may want one.
IMO 7, 8, 9 & 10 are in the wrong order, the order should be 8, 10, 9, 7.

the preceding relates to the original order, not the current order.
If you are going out into the wilds I would suggest you add 0, zero, log out of the app and login in again before you leave wifi & cell network coverage.

14) I often have to take off with insufficient GPS. The solution is, once the drone has got sufficient GPS to establish a home point bring the drone overhead and reset the home point to the controller's position. Then fly the drone out beyond the RTH-behaviour thresholds and initiate an RTH to check where the drone thinks the home point is, adjust it if necessary.
14a) If you stick with the wait until 18+ satellites and want precision landing, launch the drone by your chosen means and climb VERTICALLY to 7m+. From the manual " b. During takeoff, the aircraft must ascend at least 7 m before moving horizontally"
17) I prefer using the CSC to start the motors and throttling up to lift off.

END of flight. STOP RECORDING before you switch the drone off.
 
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3a) check you have a memory card in the drone and whatever else you may want one.
IMO 7, 8, 9 & 10 are in the wrong order, the order should be 8, 10, 9, 7.

If you are going out into the wilds I would suggest you add 0, zero, log out of the app and login in again before you leave wifi & cell network coverage.

14) I often have to take off with insufficient GPS. The solution is, once the drone has got sufficient GPS to establish a home point bring the drone overhead and reset the home point to the controller's position. Then fly the drone out beyond the RTH-behaviour thresholds and initiate an RTH to check where the drone thinks the home point is, adjust it if necessary.
14a) If you stick with the wait until 18+ satellites and want precision landing, launch the drone by your chosen means and climb VERTICALLY to 7m+. From the manual " b. During takeoff, the aircraft must ascend at least 7 m before moving horizontally"
17) I prefer using the CSC to start the motors and throttling up to lift off.

END of flight. STOP RECORDING before you switch the drone off.
Thank you! I'll make some changes. The reason I start the drone before unfolding arms is I want it to start acquiring satellites as soon as possible.. Otherwise unfold arms BEFORE starting!
 
Yeah everyone is going to be a bit different. Not sure I understand the hotspot part.

Usually for me when flying in controlled airspace, I also need to check to make sure my RTH height is lower than my approved limit.
 
Yeah everyone is going to be a bit different. Not sure I understand the hotspot part.

Usually for me when flying in controlled airspace, I also need to check to make sure my RTH height is lower than my approved limit.
That's a good point about RTH being within allowed altitude. But what if there are structures like a water tower that's 200 ft high but you're only approved for 100 feet altitude?
The hotspot has to do with having a WiFi connection so you can see realtime maps. . If you're using the controller with your iPhone or an iPad you're getting wifi directly. With the RC2 Controller (screen built-in), it does not have built-in wifi so you need to get it from your phones hotspot.
 
That's a good point about RTH being within allowed altitude. But what if there are structures like a water tower that's 200 ft high but you're only approved for 100 feet altitude?
The hotspot has to do with having a WiFi connection so you can see realtime maps. . If you're using the controller with your iPhone or an iPad you're getting wifi directly. With the RC2 Controller (screen built-in), it does not have built-in wifi so you need to get it from your phones hotspot.
For the recreational pilot, if you are only approved for 100 feet then you cannot fly over a 200 foot structure located in that grid.
 
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For the recreational pilot, if you are only approved for 100 feet then you cannot fly over a 200 foot structure located in that grid.
True, you can fly around it, but what happens if return to home If a 200 ft structure is in the way? Luckily the mini 4 Pro has obstacle avoidance, so it can do around it.
 
That's a good point about RTH being within allowed altitude. But what if there are structures like a water tower that's 200 ft high but you're only approved for 100 feet altitude?


When dealing with Airspace Restrictions you are dealing with very strict HARD limits. You can't set your RTH to be any higher than your allowed height in your approval. If you set it high enough to clear the Water Tower then you'll be busting the ALT the moment you're no longer within 400' of the tower.
 
True, you can fly around it, but what happens if return to home If a 200 ft structure is in the way? Luckily the mini 4 Pro has obstacle avoidance, so it can do around it.
Just be careful I guess, good planning, keep VLOS, and try not to lose your signal by flying behind those structures. When I Was flying in a downtown Anchorage park with a few tall buildings and I was limited to 50 feet, it was challenging with all those little planes flying around you absolutely didn’t want your drone up high into manned aircraft traffic.
 
I'd move #10, (check for updates), to the top. #1.

Before heading out the door, take advantage of the home WiFi and check the vitals before leaving.

This includes the weather and flying apps too.

No fun having to update stuff in the field when you're wanting to fly.

Once on site, I thoroughly check my props for wear while unfolding the arms.

I'll fire up the (4) add on strobes, remove the gimbal cover and power up the aircraft.

While it's collecting GPS / HP data, I'll get the remote / device powered up for a final check before liftoff.*

* Orientation of aircraft (compass) on the map that may show signs of possible magnetic interference if not displayed correctly.

* Home Point updated.


When I flew my DJI SPARK years ago, turning OFF Bluetooth devices was on the checklist because the Spark flew with WiFi and BT signals hampered the flight.

Don't have to worry about that so much today.

.
 
Good on you for thinking through the flight process. A few suggestions.

The number of satellites is not what you need to consider. When the drone has an adequate GPS fix, the satellite icon turns white. I've seen 20 satellites connected with the icon still yellow without a fix. Check the icon color, not the satellite count.

You might want to modify #16 to include both overhead obstacles and the surrounding area. Check for vehicles, people, dogs, and such that might be a problem.

Ferrous metals and magnetic fields can bias the drone's compass during startup and lead to uncontrollable flight and a crash. Prior to taking off, confirm that the drone heading shown on the map corresponds to reality.

Consider adding a section of your checklist for pre-departure items. Checking for updates and loading maps is more conveniently done at home or the office before you leave. And you may not have access to wifi in the field if your phone connection is poor.
 
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Check props for damage.
No need for 18 satellites at all. Indicator = white and Home Point updated announcement is all you need.
Check updates before you leave home.
 
Just be careful I guess, good planning, keep VLOS, and try not to lose your signal by flying behind those structures. When I Was flying in a downtown Anchorage park with a few tall buildings and I was limited to 50 feet, it was challenging with all those little planes flying around you absolutely didn’t want your drone up high into manned aircraft traffic.
Did you have trouble getting LANC clearance for that downtown Anchorage Park?
 
Before posting this, I searched to see if there were any existing checklists anywhere on the board .
There were plenty of comments about checklists but I couldn’t find any actual lists?

Here is a Checklist I made after upgrading to the Mini 4 Pro.
Since battery life is the limiting factor in flight time, the order was done so as to get as much done before turning on the drone.

1-Check weather on “UAV FORCAST” App
2- Check “B4UFLY” App to see if you're in controlled airspace and if so, get LAANC permission to fly from the “ALOFT” App
3- batteries fully charged
4- turn on controller
5- turn on hotspot on phone
6- connect controller to WiFi hotspot thru settings
7- remove gimbal cover
8- unfold arms
9- Start Drone
10- check for updates and install as needed
11- go into "FLY" on controller & check image
12- verify battery level %
13- verify RTN height is higher than nearby obstacles (trees, structures) but LOWER than permitted Altitude.
14- verify 18+ satellites
15- turn on video recording
16- look straight above you for trees
17- press & hold “TAKEOFF” button
18- verify "HOME POINT UPDATED
19- Ascend 7 meters (25 ft) before moving horizontally
20- GO FLY

AT END OF FLIGHT, REMEMBER TO STOP RECORDING BEFORE TURNING OFF DRONE.

Your input is much appreciated! I will update the list as suggestions come in.
Awesome. Just got my Mini 4 Pro and hoping to due test flights today, weather permitted. Thanks
 
You might think about splitting it up into "before I leave home" and "when I get to the fly spot" entries.

Things you want to do before leaving home:
  • Make sure batteries (and potentially controller) are fully charged
  • Make sure drone has been updated
  • Make sure you can login to DJIFly (this is especially important if you are going to be flying where there is no cell service).
  • Make sure you have an SDCard in the drone
  • Check Weather before you leave home (so you don't get skunked after driving to your fly spot)

Another thing that has been suggested by many is to fly it to about eye level after takeoff and just make sure it is responding correctly - nothing looks weird - fly it there for 15-30 seconds before going higher.

I will also reiterate what @MA2 317 said about confirming the orientation of the drone on the map - this is really important to ensure it got initialized properly.
 
Before posting this, I searched to see if there were any existing checklists anywhere on the board .
There were plenty of comments about checklists but I couldn’t find any actual lists?

Here is a Checklist I made after upgrading to the Mini 4 Pro.
Since battery life is the limiting factor in flight time, the order was done so as to get as much done before turning on the drone.

1-Check weather on “UAV FORCAST” App
2- Check “B4UFLY” App to see if you're in controlled airspace and if so, get LAANC permission to fly from the “ALOFT” App
3- batteries fully charged
4- turn on controller
5- turn on hotspot on phone
6- connect controller to WiFi hotspot thru settings
7- remove gimbal cover
8- unfold arms
9- Start Drone
10- check for updates and install as needed
11- go into "FLY" on controller & check image
12- verify battery level %
13- verify RTN height is higher than nearby obstacles (trees, structures) but LOWER than permitted Altitude.
14- verify 18+ satellites
15- turn on video recording
16- look straight above you for trees
17- press & hold “TAKEOFF” button
18- verify "HOME POINT UPDATED
19- Ascend 7 meters (25 ft) before moving horizontally
20- GO FLY

AT END OF FLIGHT, REMEMBER TO STOP RECORDING BEFORE TURNING OFF DRONE.

Your input is much appreciated! I will update the list as suggestions come in.
A lot of your checklist seems redundant, i.e. does “unfolding the arms” or “press and hold the takeoff button” need to be a checklist item? In general, a checklist should cover critical items that can be forgotten or easily overlooked and get you ready to fly.

My technique for power up is to turn the drone on first so it can go through it’s internal checks and get satellites locked in. Then drone strobes. Then the controller. By then, the drone is usually ready. Next, I visually clear the airspace around and above me, and fly.

Before I leave home, weather, notams, airspace restrictions, and updates are checked and installed as required.

If you are new to drones and aviation in general, a personalized “To Do” list for your needs may be more appropriate. A checklist should be short and concise to cover critical items required for safe flight. Hope this is helpful.

Most importantly, have fun!
 
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