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Wind Speed Relative To Drone Weight

The word“heavier”may not be the best terminology. How about“bigger”.
I don’t have any technical information to provide, but my experience is the larger size aircraft along with the larger motors and props do handle more wind. Speed in a strong wind has not been a concern for the kind of flying I do so I can’t provide information on that aspect.
DJI, based on what reading I have done, is making a good amount of money on the word“Mini”.

I've always thought, (and still do, perhaps incorrectly !), that a larger heavier drone will HAVE to be more stable / fly better in the wind than a smaller lighter one.
Inertia from it's mass / weight would have to handle winds and more importantly gusts.

Ok, there is more surface area than a smaller drone, but if you have a small weight from a cotton thread vs a feather from a same thread, and expose them to wind / gusts, you can tell what the results will be.

Will it make better progress in wind due to inertia ?
More so than it's top speed capability ?

Whether stability / mass will help flying ability for forward (or other) progress in wind, I feel the only true way to determine this is proper testing in a wind tunnel capable of constant flow and gusts, but of course the practicality / cost viability of this is not something that is generally accessible / viable.
It's possible DJI or other institutions would have done such tests, but results would not likely be released.

I would have thought even if speed was generally (primarily) related to a drones ability to make progress in winds, gusts etc would HAVE to affect how the overall aircraft performs.

I did a search on this for various terms, like wind speed inertia, mass, weight, and of course drone, a few interesting results pondering this conundrum . . .

Does object mass have a significant bearing on wind interference?

Stable flying and hovering drone


A search on aircraft as the primary term was also interesting . . .

https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/494975-effect-wind-aircraft-size.html


Edit typo
 
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In a steady wind, speed will be the main consideration. In a gusty wind the mass of the drone does seem to have an effect, as does the shape (sail area).

My Phantom 4 was steadier in gusty conditions than my (newer) Mavic 2 Pro, which is steadier than my Mini 3 Pro.
 
I think it's both. Light as a feather will be blown away no matter how fast it can move
That is completely wrong.
That kind of physics might work if you are comparing a rock and a feather,
But makes no sense for powered aircraft.
The speed a drone can push through the air is all that matters.
 
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That is completely wrong.
That kind of physics might work if you are comparing a rock and a feather,
But makes no sense for powered aircraft.
The speed a drone can push through the air is all that matters.
yeah, except flying my mini 3 pro in 24mph winds vs flying my air2s in same wind doesn't react the same.
 
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yeah, except flying my mini 3 pro in 24mph winds vs flying my air2s in same wind doesn't react the same.
I wonder why.
Perhaps a look at the specs will help.
Max Speed - Sport Mode
DJI Air 2S - 19 metres/sec
Mini 3 pro - 16 metres/sec

Max speed - N Mode
DJI Air 2S - 15 metres/sec
Mini 3 pro - 10 metres/sec

Is it any wonder they are affected differently?
Now, what were you saying?
 
I wonder why.
Perhaps a look at the specs will help.
Max Speed - Sport Mode
DJI Air 2S - 19 metres/sec
Mini 3 pro - 16 metres/sec

Max speed - N Mode
DJI Air 2S - 15 metres/sec
Mini 3 pro - 10 metres/sec

Is it any wonder they are affected differently?
Now, what were you saying?
I'm saying,, at lets say 10 metres/sec your mini 3pro max speed N mode. both dji air 2s and mini 3 pro...Air 2S is much more stable. And dont say it's not... 20 mph winds. its noticeable I know, I have flown both in the same conditions
 
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I'm saying,, at lets say 10 metres/sec your mini pro max speed N mode. both dji air 2s and mini 3 pro...Air 2S is much more stable.
It's hard to understand what are saying there.
I was addressing your previous post where you said" Light as a feather will be blown away no matter how fast it can move" which is not true at all.
A faster drone can push through wind better than a slower drone and has more ability to fight against wind.
Isn't that what the OP was asking about when he asked if a Mini 3 was "too light to handle the winds"?
 
It's hard to understand what are saying there.
I was addressing your previous post where you said" Light as a feather will be blown away no matter how fast it can move" which is not true at all.
A faster drone can push through wind better than a slower drone and has more ability to fight against wind.
Isn't that what the OP was asking about when he asked if a Mini 3 was "too light to handle the winds"?
not at all. too light to handle winds means too light to handle winds. If a mini 3 pro can handle 15mph winds barely, but an air 2 s can handle it better, power vs weight have a factor in it. Doesn't matter what top speed of the drone is.
the other part of the equation is that I am not going to fly the drone at max speed all the time
 
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not at all. too light to handle winds means too light to handle winds
Too light doesn't mean much at all, because the weight of the drone isn't what matters.
. If a mini 3 pro can handle 15mph winds barely, but an air 2 s can handle it better, power vs weight have a factor in it.
The weight of the drone is already factored into the maximum airspeed that the drone can achieve.
Doesn't matter what top speed of the drone is.
As I've explained more than adequately, it's the only thing that matters
That makes no difference to the discussion.
It looks like you don't understand the (simple) physics involved and prefer to stick with the myth that heavier drones deal with wind better.
I won't waste any more effort on this with you.
 
It's certainly an argument that is hard to get your head around . . . well, my boofy head anyway :p
It's talked about in manned aircraft terms as well.

Perhaps in a perfect nil to very slight wind there would be little difference in how a drone performs, be it lighter or heavier, relative to it's top speed.
Winds are not stable or absent very often though, as we know there can be quite different (increased) wind speed at just 120m AGL.

Add in more gusting type wind action in moderate wind speed, and I feel it must make a difference, and not just in the extra speed of the gusts vs a drones normal top speed, but buffeting about and having many minor corrections by the flight controller to keep it on course etc.

One day there might be some sort of scientific study done on this, couldn't find one with a quick google search above, but dig and there might be one around.
 
It's certainly an argument that is hard to get your head around . . . well, my boofy head anyway :p
Like I said, the myth is very common but it's just not true
The physics is quite simple.
The drone's top speed already factors in the drone's weight.
It might help to think about a swimmer or rowboat trying to make headway against the current in a river.
A stronger current doesn't affect the lighter swimmer or boat any more than it does the heavier one.

It's talked about in manned aircraft terms as well.

Perhaps in a perfect nil to very slight wind there would be little difference in how a drone performs, be it lighter or heavier, relative to it's top speed.
That would be because in that situation there is no or nearly no wind !!
Add in more gusting type wind action in moderate wind speed, and I feel it must make a difference, and not just in the extra speed of the gusts vs a drones normal top speed, but buffeting about and having many minor corrections by the flight controller to keep it on course etc.
A drone with a higher top speed has more power, which is also used to deal with any turbulent airflow issues.
But that's usually a minor issue anyway in drone flying.
The gimbal does most of the work to keep the camera stable in buffeting conditions anyway.
The kind of winds that drone flyers have to be concerned about are headwinds that could prevent the drone from getting back home.
With those winds, gusts are only a problem in that they cause the headwind speed to be variable.
If the drone is already pushing into a headwind at its maximum airspeed and the wind speed increases (or decreases) the weight of the drone makes no appreciable difference.
 
It's certainly an argument that is hard to get your head around . . . well, my boofy head anyway :p
It's talked about in manned aircraft terms as well.

Perhaps in a perfect nil to very slight wind there would be little difference in how a drone performs, be it lighter or heavier, relative to it's top speed.
Winds are not stable or absent very often though, as we know there can be quite different (increased) wind speed at just 120m AGL.

Add in more gusting type wind action in moderate wind speed, and I feel it must make a difference, and not just in the extra speed of the gusts vs a drones normal top speed, but buffeting about and having many minor corrections by the flight controller to keep it on course etc.

One day there might be some sort of scientific study done on this, couldn't find one with a quick google search above, but dig and there might be one around.
This conversation has only talked about a drone coming back in a head wind. But I have visually noticed that my lighter drone has a real hard time maintaining hover in strong side winds. I suppose that if a controlled test is done with a drone in a wind tunnel with no side variance, that would be where the faster drone is better than the slower one. That makes sense. But, add side winds whipping around with gust, I still say as I have had visuals of it happening, that the lighter drone has more trouble maintaining hover and maintaining level. You can see this on the attitude indicator.
I know... I'm being stupid to believe my own eyes. :)
 
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This conversation has only talked about a drone coming back in a head wind. But I have visually noticed that my lighter drone has a real hard time maintaining hover in strong side winds. I suppose that if a controlled test is done with a drone in a wind tunnel with no side variance, that would be where the faster drone is better than the slower one. That makes sense. But, add side winds whipping around with gust, I still say as I have had visuals of it happening, that the lighter drone has more trouble maintaining hover and maintaining level. You can see this on the attitude indicator.
I know... I'm being stupid to believe my own eyes. :)
Your drones go equally well in any direction.
It makes no difference to them which way they are facing or where the wind comes from.
 
Speed is a function of power-to-weight ratio, along with other things. A Mavic 3 with double the weight (mass) and the same power would have substantially less ability to overcome the effects of wind.

The drone flies through the air, no matter whether the air is still or moving. If the air is moving 30 mph over the ground, the drone will have to fly 30 mph to hold its position over the ground. More speed > more ability to fly against the wind. The heavier drone can't fly as fast, so it can't operate as well in wind.

The added mass of the heavier does result in greater inertia, so the heavier drone wouldn't bob around as much in response to turbulence and wind speed variations. But that's not going to get the drone home against a strong wind.

All dji's are tilt limited. A heavier drone will get more forward trust at max tilt unless you change the shape of the drone so it gets more drag.
Take the mini3 for example. It can penetrate wind better with the bigger battery. But, what can fool you is that it's still ground speed limited, so in zero wind it will have the same max speed.

If you can provide your formula, it might get more sense.
F_trust>mg*sin(attitude)
 
This debate has always intrigued me. You would think a larger drone would have more wind resistance and therefore be pushed around more than a smaller one but in my flight experience its always the opposite. Clearly the flight speed capabilities of the drone are critical when fighting wind but it seems to me that the mass also plays an important role. More mass means more inertia, and more inertia needs more energy to make it move. Logically, it makes sense that the wind will have an easier time moving a object with low mass compared to a an object with greater mass. In a situation where both drones have equal speed capabilities the larger drone should always be more stable in the wind, due to its greater mass and inertia. Just my opinion anyway lol.
 
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The Mini 3 Pro is not a good drone in the wind as its ability to overheat and force land is a stress situation not needed.

We fly in some Pretty Severe winds , and the Air 2s / Mavic 2 and Mavic 3 all hold there own very well.

The most important aspect is what happens to the Camera when flying in the wind.

This is where you do start to see some differences. The Air 2S is better than the Mavic 2 camera , where as the Mini 2 is on par with the Mini 3 Pro as far as unwanted camera movement and camera flipping.

The Mavic 3 is very similar to the Air 2S as we get some occasional movement but nothing serious.

I shot this a few days ago : Mavic 3 in the Rain in a Strong crosswind going slow as all the drones do well at faster speeds in the wind but no so much the camera.

If your not skilled in the Way of Wind , it wont matter what drone you have , your going to loose it.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain. Land on the Water , or Experience are Cinematic Control Pods.

 
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One day there might be some sort of scientific study done on this, couldn't find one with a quick google search above, but dig and there might be one around.
The physics involved is quite simple and there's no need for a new study.
If you want to see what the most highly qualified physicist in the forum said on the topic:
 
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The physics involved is quite simple and there's no need for a new study.
If you want to see what the most highly qualified physicist in the forum said on the topic:

I forgot about that thread to be honest, it is about exactly this thread, and very likely numerous other threads in years past.

Ok, so that's saying the mass of an aircraft can have no part of performance in wind apart from aircraft maximum speed . . . if the wind is steady in speed and direction. (And that makes perfect sense !!)
In an unsteady wind field it's potentially much more complicated, since the response depends on the rate of change of the wind speed and direction relative to the rate at which the aircraft can change tilt.

You replied in the following post "so for most flight situations involving wind, the weight of the drone makes no difference and all that's important is how fast the drone can fly."

Then as per post #43 on the next page sar104 replies "In a steady wind, yes, that's correct. Of course winds are often not steady though."

A bit of countering this point in the following 2 posts, back and forth.

Wind (as mentioned) in mountainous terrain, valleys, cliffs, etc . . . and certainly where you fly a lot over the ocean, can vary immensely in both gusting and direction.

As per post #43, these are factors that will affect lighter drones, vs heavier drones that can hold their position better / steadier both when still or in flight with their mass / inertia.

That makes perfect sense to me, and is (I'm pretty sure) what the link you posted says.

Is that how you read the info you linked to ?
Or are you saying the link reply you posted was supporting your 'only maximum speed' performance in variable winds ?

I'm interested in what the linked reply is actually saying, if I'm reading / processing it wrong.

One scenario I thought about . . . if you have a strong tailwind, that's gusting briefly to say +20km/hr - +30km/hr, the lighter drone should make more efficient headway speed during those gusts, as it is also tossed forward easier for better performance, while the heavier drone holds longer before the extra wind speed makes a difference.

When 'battling' winds, as most of these threads are really asking about, I feel if the wind is coming anywhere other than somewhat behind the drone, the heavier aircraft is going to deal with varying wind speed (gusts) and changes of direction relatively better.
 
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As per post #43, these are factors that will affect lighter drones, vs heavier drones that can hold their position better / steadier both when still or in flight with their mass / inertia.
That only really applies for the small time the drone would be making changes to address any wind changes.
You would also have to consider the cross-sectional area that's exposed to the wind, but in the grans scheme of things, those things are trivial issues when you are wanting to get your drone home against a headwind.
Gusting would mostly just be the difference between dealing with a headwind or dealing with a stronger headwind.
One scenario I thought about . . . if you have a strong tailwind, that's gusting briefly to say +20km/hr - +30km/hr, the lighter drone should make more efficient headway speed during those gusts, as it is also tossed forward easier for better performance, while the heavier drone holds longer before the extra wind speed makes a difference.
If your drone has a strong tailwind, the flight controller tilts the drone less because it doesn't have to fly as fast when the airmass is already moving in the direction of travel.
I'm not sure how you would define or measure "more efficient headway" but it wouldn't make any difference to the flyer.
Both would cover the distance very easily.
When 'battling' winds, as most of these threads are really asking about, I feel if the wind is coming anywhere other than somewhat behind the drone, the heavier aircraft is going to deal with varying wind speed (gusts) and changes of direction relatively better.

It's not worth the effort of getting into the complexity of vector mechanics for those vague, non-specific situations, particularly when the effect is trivial for the drone flyer who didn't plan his flight and has to work out how to get his drone back after flying off too far with a tailwind.

I understand that many people can't get their heads around the non-importance of the drone's weight when it comes to dealing with strong winds.

Here are the simple facts.
DJI give accurate specs to show the maximum speed each model can achieve.
That's the max airspeed that that drone, with that weight, cross-sectional area etc, can penetrate air
The weight etc is already factored into that maximum speed.
A drone that can push through the air at 15 metres/sec is always going tobe able to push through the air faster than a drone with a max speed of 10 metres/sec, regardless of the weight of the drone or the direction and speed that the airmass is moving.

If you want to think that the weight of the drone is a significant factor, consider the DJI Minis.
All three have the same weight (250 grams) but different top speeds.
Mini - 8/13 metres/sec Normal/Sport Mode
Mini 2&3 - 10/16 metres/sec
Is a headwind going to have the same effect on their ability to get home?
 
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