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Why the Pro behaves so differently in strong winds from the Air

Ian in London

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I don't usually fly in Sports Mode and had often noticed the Pro to be struggling or even drifting in moderate wind, requiring me to flip it into Sports to regain its speed or direction.
So the other day I did a test. And sure enough in a strong head wind, keeping it in standard mode, it ground to a near halt and was then being blown sideways.
When I flicked it into Sports Mode, it flew absolutely fine. Wind was no issue.

This came about as I was doing a comparison video between the Air and the Pro, so I was confused when the Air managed to fly straight and fast in high wind despite not being in Sports Mode.

From some of the comments of that video, it seems the Pro would be fine in standard mode if I turned off Obstacle Avoidance.
I noticed the AIR often brings up a warning notice that 'Attitude is too large - Rear obstacle avoidance sensors turned off' when flying fast in strong winds.

So is it literally a case that the AIR auto-disables the OA system to let it fly at a steeper pitch to overcome strong winds, whilst the PRO just sits there and struggles until you manually disable the OA or flip into Sports Mode?

This seems bad. Some people do not fly in Sports Mode; knowing it disables the sensors and increases the speed is enough to keep some cautious people away from it. And if you've never enabled Intelligent Flight Modes, then Sports Mode isn't even available in your moment of need without diving into the app settings.

I just wonder if others had noticed this, and why the Pro isn't updated to handle high winds the same way as the Air?

Cheers
Ian
 
One of my main gripes with the Mavic Pro is how poor it is in windy conditions unless it's in Sport mode. I've often had to flip it into Sport mode to get it back to me. Without doing that I would have lost it to a fairly moderate wind.

A big concern of mine is that in RTH mode it doesn't ever switch to Sport mode. So if you lose signal in windy conditions and it attempts a RTH, and cant' make it through the wind, it'll never make it back to you. It's not intelligent enough to realise it needs to switch into Sport mode to fight the wind.

This wouldn't be a big concern if it wasn't for how poor the Mavic Pro handles with wind in normal mode.

I'm glad to hear the Air is better in this respect, but at the very minimum I'd like to see an option on the Mavic Pro to be able to enable RTH in Sport mode.

By the way Ian I subscribe to your Youtube videos and really enjoy them. Keep them coming.
 
It seems DJI learned from the Mavic Pro and used that for the Air.
They should be able to change it for the MP the same way, I guess.
I usually have all the sensors off and never noticed any problem in high winds. However, yesterday I had OA on, just to test, and noticed it was indeed more wind sensitive.

Good point!
 
It seems DJI learned from the Mavic Pro and used that for the Air.
They should be able to change it for the MP the same way, I guess.
I usually have all the sensors off and never noticed any problem in high winds. However, yesterday I had OA on, just to test, and noticed it was indeed more wind sensitive.

Good point!
Good to see it's not just me.
I forgot to attach the actual video. If you jump to 7:40 or so, you see where the Pro is being blown backwards and sideways
 
One of my main gripes with the Mavic Pro is how poor it is in windy conditions unless it's in Sport mode. I've often had to flip it into Sport mode to get it back to me. Without doing that I would have lost it to a fairly moderate wind.

A big concern of mine is that in RTH mode it doesn't ever switch to Sport mode. So if you lose signal in windy conditions and it attempts a RTH, and cant' make it through the wind, it'll never make it back to you. It's not intelligent enough to realise it needs to switch into Sport mode to fight the wind.

This wouldn't be a big concern if it wasn't for how poor the Mavic Pro handles with wind in normal mode.

I'm glad to hear the Air is better in this respect, but at the very minimum I'd like to see an option on the Mavic Pro to be able to enable RTH in Sport mode.

By the way Ian I subscribe to your Youtube videos and really enjoy them. Keep them coming.
Thanks Pablo!

I have found that initiating RTH does improve the abilty to fly against a strong wind, so perhaps it disables the sensors in RTH mode to achieve this. I'll do some testing....
Ian
 
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Seems to me, for the Mavic Pro, the joystick movement is proportional to the angle of attack. It doesn’t take into acc the ground speed (measured by gps). With the Air, the joystick movement is proportional to calculated ground speed, so it allows for greater angle of attack when fighting against headwind. My 2c. Surely DJI can modify code in Pro to be similar?
 
On all DJI aircraft in GPS mode the stick order is a ground speed command.

But there is also a tilt limit set to ensure OA sensors work. If said tilt limit is reached before the desired speed is reached then the desired speed simply won't be achieved.

The Air either can reach higher speed with same tilt, has sensors that are adjsuted to allow more tilt, or priorities are changed to auto-disable sensors to prioritize the speed command (the latter seems to happen for the back sensors, but for the front ones could have some unforeseen consequences so I doubt it).
Or it is just an impression, becasue the Air is slower than the Pro in the first place so it will take more wind until a reduction in speed is noticed. The Pro would still be faster then, but people might be misled when they see it slowing down.
 
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On all DJI aircraft in GPS mode the stick order is a ground speed command.

But there is also a tilt limit set to ensure OA sensors work. If said tilt limit is reached before the desired speed is reached then the desired speed simply won't be achieved.

The Air either can reach higher speed with same tilt, has sensors that are adjsuted to allow more tilt, or priorities are changed to auto-disable sensors to prioritize the speed command (the latter seems to happen for the back sensors, but for the front ones could have some unforeseen consequences so I doubt it).
Or it is just an impression, becasue the Air is slower than the Pro in the first place so it will take more wind until a reduction in speed is noticed. The Pro would still be faster then, but people might be misled when they see it slowing down.

The Air is much faster than the Pro; that's the point here.

If you look at 4:45 on the video, when I start flying the Air fast upwind, you get two messages:
"Attitude is too large. Backward Obstacle Sensing is not functioning."
and
"Attitude is too large. Forward Obstacle Sensing is not functioning."

I thought those messages were a result of the angle of the sensors being too steep, making them ineffective, but it seems the AIR is actually auto-disabling the sensors on purpose, to allow it to fly at the steeper pitch required to fly faster in strong winds.

I would have thought this could be rolled out to the Pro via a firmware update quite easily.

Ian
 
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The Air is much faster than the Pro; that's the point here.
Well more precision is needed there, becasue with both in standard P mode with sensors on the Air is NOT faster than the Pro at all, it's about 5km/h slower.

I thought those messages were a result of the angle of the sensors being too steep, making them ineffective, but it seems the AIR is actually auto-disabling the sensors on purpose, to allow it to fly at the steeper pitch required to fly faster in strong winds.
Yup as mentioned in my previous post. I've never seen that message for the front sensors before though.
 
Interesting. Did you try the same test with the Pro in GPS mode but with the sensors turned off? I didn't see that in the video.
 
Well more precision is needed there, becasue with both in standard P mode with sensors on the Air is NOT faster than the Pro at all, it's about 5km/h slower.


Yup as mentioned in my previous post. I've never seen that message for the front sensors before though.
True. My post is about flying in 'standard' mode, not about turning off the sensors.
When I filmed the video, I was simply testing two scenarios; "standard mode" or "sports mode". It was only after posting the video that I got the comments about turning off the obsatcle sensors.
Your average user would not be aware of the requirement to switch off the sensors in order to achieve faster speeds in windy conditions. And essentially, I guess I'm asking why should they? I have already had a few comments on the YT video about users who do avoid using Sports mode and have suffered a near total loss of speed due to being caught out by the wind. The connection is all about the sensors, which isn't a connection you might easily make. So this is agood discussion as many people are learning something new.

Ian
 
Interesting. Did you try the same test with the Pro in GPS mode but with the sensors turned off? I didn't see that in the video.
No, as I just replied to Kilrah, until today I had no idea about the connection between speed (in standard mode) and the sensors.
I will do some more testing on this....
cheers, ian
 
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The way I understand it is that the difference between regular and sport mode is the limit on aircraft tilt required to maintain sensor field of view. One of the fundamental things you learn when becoming a pilot is that the wind has absolutely no effect on the aircraft in regards to angle of attack, stall speed, bank angles or anything else having to do with flight. The only things affected are your speed and track across the ground. With an airplane your heading (where the nose is pointed) and course (track across the ground) are only the same if you are going directly into or with the wind or there is no wind. A drone however can have the same “heading” and track at all times because the direction the nose points doesn’t matter, it can tilt in whatever direction is needed to fly the desired track and it does this automatically because you are basically commanding it to fly a GPS course

So I don’t think it “fights” the wind at all, it basically tilts to the maximum degree allowed by that mode and doesn’t know anything about the wind outside of how it affects its ground speed. If it had an airspeed indicator it would read the same regardless of what direction you flew.
 
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I just got my Air on Sunday. The Winter Season has been very hard this year and I have only flown once since December. Yesterday and today a double dose of freezing rain and wind. Don’t know when I’m going to put the Air up or even the Phantoms. So this is really great information to have. Thanks for doing this and taking the risk. I also can’t believe the difference in cameras. The Air is so much clearer and better. The colors just pop and I like that. Great job, learned a lot and it’s appreciated.
Harry
 
I just got my Air on Sunday. The Winter Season has been very hard this year and I have only flown once since December. Yesterday and today a double dose of freezing rain and wind. Don’t know when I’m going to put the Air up or even the Phantoms. So this is really great information to have. Thanks for doing this and taking the risk. I also can’t believe the difference in cameras. The Air is so much clearer and better. The colors just pop and I like that. Great job, learned a lot and it’s appreciated.
Harry
Thanks Harry. I do think this is a real major difference in how it handles high winds, and a big improvement. (Who needs obstacle avoidance when you're high up in a strong wind?), so this has been good for me as well as anyone just starting out with their Air. I wonder if DJI will amend the Pro to auto-disable the sensors when a steep pitch is required?
Thanks to kcabpilot too; the bottom line is that higher wind will require a steeper pitch for the drone to fly against, and whilst the AIR just switches off the forward, rear or both sensors to increase its pitch, the Pro will only pitch as steep as possible to maintain functioning sensors, which will severely limit its ground speed as you say. For an aircraft pilot, it's all about airspeed but for a drone pilot, its usually about getting there or getting back, with ground speed the main point of focus. Either way, nice ot know how they behave.
Cheers
Ian
 
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Regarding RTH speed, I have read that forward push on the right stick increases speed, is this true? Never had a chance to test this myself.

Also read that if connection is lost while flying in Sport mode, the RTH is in Sport mode. So there could be an option to RTH with increased speed for windy conditions.
 
Max speed will be limited by whether OA sensors are on or off. By default, OA is turned on when on RTH, even if you turn it off while flying in normal. From personal experience, OA on during RTH has saved my Mavic (would have lost it on the side of a cliff and didnt know it). I will not turn it off in advance settings.
So, fly according to conditions. Don't fly away from the sun (dawn/dusk) cos it could mess with OA on RTH, and dont fly in windy conditions.
First. try to avoid risk where possible. If not try to mitigate/minimise it. Not the other way round.
 
Regarding RTH speed, I have read that forward push on the right stick increases speed, is this true? Never had a chance to test this myself.
Yes, if the condition allows it. If you RTH with tailwind and you switch the OA off, you can reach about 50kph. The default RTH speed is 36kph.

Also read that if connection is lost while flying in Sport mode, the RTH is in Sport mode. So there could be an option to RTH with increased speed for windy conditions.
No, even if you are in Sport mode RTH is always in Normal mode by default. For windy condition (or any condition for that matter), turn off OA if you don't need it. Front OA is actually rather useless if you fly high enough above any obstacle.

Edit: See my reply below to RayOz regarding OA off during RTH.
 
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Max speed will be limited by whether OA sensors are on or off. By default, OA is turned on when on RTH, even if you turn it off while flying in normal.
Only if you enable RTH Obstacle Check in settings. Otherwise if you switch OA off, it will stay off during RTH.
 
True. My post is about flying in 'standard' mode, not about turning off the sensors.
When I filmed the video, I was simply testing two scenarios; "standard mode" or "sports mode". It was only after posting the video that I got the comments about turning off the obsatcle sensors.
Your average user would not be aware of the requirement to switch off the sensors in order to achieve faster speeds in windy conditions. And essentially, I guess I'm asking why should they? I have already had a few comments on the YT video about users who do avoid using Sports mode and have suffered a near total loss of speed due to being caught out by the wind. The connection is all about the sensors, which isn't a connection you might easily make. So this is agood discussion as many people are learning something new.

Ian

I saw your video a while back, since you observed that, why dont you make another video experimenting with the Mavic pro and the sensors being off in higher wind to educate us on if this is actually true?
 
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