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When do YOU use Return to Home?

Whether you use the automated RTH feature or not, it's always a good practice to launch from an open area, well clear of trees or other obstacles.
Agreed and including obstacles yourself. When a drone has a problem on take off, it usually occurs right away. I've been near a violent take off, had to do some serious dodging and going forward, I always want to stand clear particularly with those FPV drones that you blast off with.
 
Whether you use the automated RTH feature or not, it's always a good practice to launch from an open area, well clear of trees or other obstacles.
Those are often surprisingly hard to find in the woods.


That open field you see in the distance? Private property. If you look closely there's a small clearing with a trail through it and a couple of benches just to the north, where I was able to launch from. Clearing was full of bushes so I had to launch from the trail.

Even this shot meant launching from a trail, as the meadow is 2-3 feet high.

 
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I've flown thousands of flights and I've used RTH deliberately three times. It's just not feasible for me. I must pay attention to my flightpath and not overfly people or moving vehicles. RTH can't manage that. I do however use cruise control quite often now, but I still keep eyes on the aircraft and on the screen, and hands on the controller. I can then adjust accordingly, including stopping and waiting to transit a roadway/sidewalk/etc. I also hand catch the majority of the time.
 
Return to Home is a great feature! It's even nicer with the new Green Glide Slope on the Mini 4 Pro .

Since I started flying a number of years and several drones ago, I always thought of it as a last ditch savior. That I should improve my flying skills so I wouldn't need it.
A parachute -if you will - for when things go wrong like a dying battery, signal loss or when I can't find HOME.

But lately I'm wondering, "why not just use it to get back quicker and easier" instead of flying my way back home.

I'M CURIOUS... WHAT IS EVERYBODY ELSE DOING?
I use the RTH feature as often as i can,as it gives me a direct path back to my home point.
 
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I use it pretty regularly - when I'm teaching a newbie how to fly my Mavic 3 or Matrice 30 - accurate hand landing requires some practice.
If it's really windy, the drone can compensate more accurately than I can when performing a precision landing.
When I'm mapping longer missions with my Matrice 30 that require multiple battery changes, I use RTH during the mission pauses so I can keep an eye on the drone.
I keep around 130' for an RTH height since that clears the trees in our area which top out around 80'.
Further north where there are white pines that reach 150', I need 200' for safety.
I always hand land my Mini 3 Pro since it's RTH accuracy is poor. It's usually off the mat by 1-2' which is a problem in the fields where I often fly.
 
In some ways flying our drones is similar to flying transport category jets (airliners), which I have a lot of experience with, as well as lots of experience flying drones. Fly drones and jets both include manual flying and using the automation (autopilot). Both types of operating the aircraft require continual practice to remain proficient. Using RTH should be practiced regularly, in my opinion. Also, I don’t think it’s a badge of honor to say that you only hand fly and never (or rarely ) use RTH, it’s quite the opposite actually. Both skills should be practiced regularly. Personally I use RTH most of the time with my drones.
 
Return to Home is a great feature! It's even nicer with the new Green Glide Slope on the Mini 4 Pro .

Since I started flying a number of years and several drones ago, I always thought of it as a last ditch savior. That I should improve my flying skills so I wouldn't need it.
A parachute -if you will - for when things go wrong like a dying battery, signal loss or when I can't find HOME.

But lately I'm wondering, "why not just use it to get back quicker and easier" instead of flying my way back home.

I'M CURIOUS... WHAT IS EVERYBODY ELSE DOING?
Yes, I have used it for all of those reasons. I use all of buttons on my controller. When I am finished filming I just hit the return to home button to retrieve the fastest easiest way.
 
Also, I don’t think it’s a badge of honor to say that you only hand fly and never (or rarely ) use RTH, it’s quite the opposite actually. Both skills should be practiced regularly. Personally I use RTH most of the time with my drones.
Exactly!. Like with airplanes, also with drones it is important to have all the flying modes, both automatic and manual, well trained and regularly practiced to be ready for situations when you really need them. It includes both RTH and manual return, precise landing and manual landing, hand launch and lading on the hand, and even e.g. sport mode, though I never need it normally. But once it happened that after a sudden change of wind direction and speed higher than the max speed of my drone, I coudn't return in normal mode. And I was not nervous but quickly changed to sport mode and returned home with no problems. So practice everything!
 
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Return to Home is a great feature! It's even nicer with the new Green Glide Slope on the Mini 4 Pro .

Since I started flying a number of years and several drones ago, I always thought of it as a last ditch savior. That I should improve my flying skills so I wouldn't need it.
A parachute -if you will - for when things go wrong like a dying battery, signal loss or when I can't find HOME.

But lately I'm wondering, "why not just use it to get back quicker and easier" instead of flying my way back home.

I'M CURIOUS... WHAT IS EVERYBODY ELSE DOING?
Well, Unlike most out there I fly the mavic mini ( and absolutely loving it ) but I came unstuck with the return to home function. I just wasn’t thinking. I flew In a forested area ( oh oh! ) with my return set at above-tree height forgetting it doesn’t have obstacle above function. Being in a treed area I started to lose contact so it started to return home and imediately raised to the set height and got stuck in a very high tree above it. It took a lot to get it back safely. Me with a drone near trees is like Charlie Brown and his kite but I have learnt my lesson.
 
I use it most of the time. To me it is just common sense. I have done the photos or videos I wanted to do and it is the quickest and easiest way to get the drone back home. I also use my GPS in the car instead of a map most of the time when I am looking for an address, and I do set my speed control (generally 5 - 7 mph above the speed limit). In all 3 cases, I cannot think of many good reasons not to use it.
OT... I grew up in Erie 59-1981
 
Return to Home is a great feature! It's even nicer with the new Green Glide Slope on the Mini 4 Pro .

Since I started flying a number of years and several drones ago, I always thought of it as a last ditch savior. That I should improve my flying skills so I wouldn't need it.
A parachute -if you will - for when things go wrong like a dying battery, signal loss or when I can't find HOME.

But lately I'm wondering, "why not just use it to get back quicker and easier" instead of flying my way back home.

I'M CURIOUS... WHAT IS EVERYBODY ELSE DOING?
I use it as a last resort when all else fails. Twice this year.

D
 
Return to Home is a great feature! It's even nicer with the new Green Glide Slope on the Mini 4 Pro .

Since I started flying a number of years and several drones ago, I always thought of it as a last ditch savior. That I should improve my flying skills so I wouldn't need it.
A parachute -if you will - for when things go wrong like a dying battery, signal loss or when I can't find HOME.

But lately I'm wondering, "why not just use it to get back quicker and easier" instead of flying my way back home.

I'M CURIOUS... WHAT IS EVERYBODY ELSE DOING?
I like being in complete control of the drone at all times, especially during urban flights and in controlled airspace, so I'm inclined never to use it. My fear is that it would make me lazy, less vigilant and create a false sense of security. I consider it only as an insurance policy. I use it when training other pilots and if I permanently lose VLOS, which out of hundreds of flights has only happened two or three times.
 
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^Have you not had a disconnect before? Because you're right, feels like a complete loss of control (and it is a partial loss of control). This is what RTH feels like but not quite because you can interrupt the process and sometimes you can control the sticks. You should try it because it kinda reminds me of cruise control.

It also allows you to spend some time thinking about how long it really takes for a drone to cover certain distances because you can concentrate on that instead of actually flying. And then you can also stare at the sky and determine at what point you can actually start to see your drone [again]. I can once recall searching the general area for my drone trying to spot it approaching (and never looking down at the remote) and not seeing anything and then all of a sudden my drone was swooping in screeching to a stop overhead. It returned and I didn't even see it arrive; it was high, it was quiet, and it blended with the sky.

Just like different levels of self-driving cars, one day drone flyers will need to accept a certainly level of "loss of control" as AI starts to take over. "Landing" is a form of this; my Mavic 3 is hard for me to land (for some reason) and maybe it's just easier to let the controls land it in certain situations.

It reminds me of waypoints where you have so much less control over the drone. I'm with you I used to enjoy just flying my drone around like piloting an airplane but we are so much more beyond that now. As soon as BVLOS is legal, RTH will be so much more important, not so much as bringing it home for a landing but getting your drone back into position for you to take over. It might be a challenge and fun to do but bringing a drone back manually from a couple miles away is not always the safest way. Today, I'm doing a fair amount of practice for that since like you said, it could be a bit unnerving at times as you try to navigate on a small screen. When we eventually navigate using cellular and start to go in and around buildings, etc. at some point, the drone is going to need to fly on it's own in part. I like the idea of a drone being able to retrace and backtrack it's steps.
 
^Have you not had a disconnect before? Because you're right, feels like a complete loss of control (and it is a partial loss of control).

OMG - One of my first flights with my mini pro 4 - I took it out over a lake to see how far out I could get. Suddenly had a disconnect and I panicked a bit but return to home brought it back in range and I took over manual flight again.

I now use it regularly after completing a planned flight.
 
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