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Wind tolerance does not mean immunity - my first close call.

Heindrich1988

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The title may seem obvious to some of you, but long story short, I risked a longer-than-usual flight today and nearly paid for it with my precious drone, because I completely underestimated the impact of wind.

I've heard people say "fly into the wind on the way out" many times, but my Air 2 has handled windy days so well thus far that I finally got complacent. I didn't see any wind warnings as I flew out with the wind at my back over my nearby lake, so although I could feel that it was quite gusty today, I thought I'd be perfectly fine to ignore the first suggested RTH warning. Big mistake. The lack of wind warnings just meant that the wind was within the operating tolerance of the drone, it doesn't mean that the wind had no effect on it.

Flying against the wind on the way back, my poor drone often struggled to maintain 25km/h at full stick on Normal Mode. Even when it was able to fly at the regular speed of around 39km/h, it seemed to be burning battery much faster than usual. I've done 24min long flights and got home with 20%+ battery. Today, my drone hit 0% at just 26min flight time.

At around 15%, I realized that I wasn't going to make it home. So, I headed for a local Hyatt Regency hotel and made an emergency landing on top of a glass roof that covers part of the entrance car park. Thankfully, the hotel staff were very friendly and helped me to access the glass roof, which was thankfully designed thick enough to support human weight. Not gonna lie though, it was quite scary and I did end up crawling at one point to spread my weight.

Thankfully, I was able to rescue my Air 2 without any harm coming to myself or my drone. But important lesson learnt for sure. Don't dismiss the wind factor just because you aren't seeing any wind warnings on DJI Fly. I was flying at category 4 wind (Chinese definition) today, well within the level 5 tolerance of the Air 2 and Mini 2. But clearly, level 4 wind is not the same as lv1 or 2. My experience seems especially pertinent nowadays with many new pilots about to take their first flights with the Mini 2. No doubt it is much more wind resistant than the Mini 1, but the combination of long range and light weight could cause many miscalculations like mine in the months to come.

Take care guys and fly safely!




*I was also too worried about my drone to take any exciting photo or video of the rescue effort besides this picture from the ground, when I first spotted it.

IMG_20201107_173003.jpg


... phew!
 

old man mavic

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@Heindrich1988 the biggest mistake you made there was ,not just flying out with the wind behind the drone ,but also going out to far and not allowing for the fact that you would need more battery to make it back home into the wind ,plus the fact you did not factor in the reduced current flow as the battery gets below around 30% its good that you post these things on the forum ,to help others not to make the same mistakes, my reply was along the same lines
 

Heindrich1988

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One reason I still like ATTI mode of the phantom 3, you can switch to it and see what the wind is doing to the drone.
I have to ask, why land on a glass roof?


lol ... honestly? A bit of panic set in. My thought process was:

1) Find somewhere big and easy to get to... the Hyatt swimming pool really stood out from the air so I decided to head there right away instead of landing somewhere generic that could be hard to find on the ground.

2) In hindsight, I should have landed in the gardens next to the pool, it was completely empty at the time, and considering the hotel let me access their car park roof, I'm sure they'd have allowed me into their garden to retrieve my drone. But I was worried that I'd be denied access, so I tried to look for somewhere out front.

3) Now that I was at the front of the building (and didn't have enough battery to rise above the hotel and return to the garden), I was horrified to find that there were no open grass fields to land on. My goal at this point was to land in a corner of the car park where hopefully it won't be run over by a car and might be picked up by hotel workers. (Who I trusted would return the drone).

4) As I got lower, I noticed the glass. It seemed pretty sturdy. In the absence of obviously better landing spots, I decided to gamble that I could reach the drone up there rather than risk going anywhere else and possibly ending up in a worse spot.
 

scorpio66

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@Heindrich1988 the biggest mistake you made there was ,not just flying out with the wind behind the drone ,but also going out to far and not allowing for the fact that you would need more battery to make it back home into the wind ,plus the fact you did not factor in the reduced current flow as the battery gets below around 30% its good that you post these things on the forum ,to help others not to make the same mistakes, my reply was along the same lines
Glad you got your drone back safely. Thanks for posting. Good info for a soon to be pilot.
 

Garatshay

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The title may seem obvious to some of you, but long story short, I risked a longer-than-usual flight today and nearly paid for it with my precious drone, because I completely underestimated the impact of wind.

I've heard people say "fly into the wind on the way out" many times, but my Air 2 has handled windy days so well thus far that I finally got complacent. I didn't see any wind warnings as I flew out with the wind at my back over my nearby lake, so although I could feel that it was quite gusty today, I thought I'd be perfectly fine to ignore the first suggested RTH warning. Big mistake. The lack of wind warnings just meant that the wind was within the operating tolerance of the drone, it doesn't mean that the wind had no effect on it.

Flying against the wind on the way back, my poor drone often struggled to maintain 25km/h at full stick on Normal Mode. Even when it was able to fly at the regular speed of around 39km/h, it seemed to be burning battery much faster than usual. I've done 24min long flights and got home with 20%+ battery. Today, my drone hit 0% at just 26min flight time.

At around 15%, I realized that I wasn't going to make it home. So, I headed for a local Hyatt Regency hotel and made an emergency landing on top of a glass roof that covers part of the entrance car park. Thankfully, the hotel staff were very friendly and helped me to access the glass roof, which was thankfully designed thick enough to support human weight. Not gonna lie though, it was quite scary and I did end up crawling at one point to spread my weight.

Thankfully, I was able to rescue my Air 2 without any harm coming to myself or my drone. But important lesson learnt for sure. Don't dismiss the wind factor just because you aren't seeing any wind warnings on DJI Fly. I was flying at category 4 wind (Chinese definition) today, well within the level 5 tolerance of the Air 2 and Mini 2. But clearly, level 4 wind is not the same as lv1 or 2. My experience seems especially pertinent nowadays with many new pilots about to take their first flights with the Mini 2. No doubt it is much more wind resistant than the Mini 1, but the combination of long range and light weight could cause many miscalculations like mine in the months to come.

Take care guys and fly safely!




*I was also too worried about my drone to take any exciting photo or video of the rescue effort besides this picture from the ground, when I first spotted it.

View attachment 116720


... phew!
It's a bold (and possibly dishonest) drone operator who says that they've never been surprised by something that happened to them. I think it's important to recognize that the winds are almost always stronger up where the drone is than the forecast may have suggested. That catches people out all the time. The good news is that DJI drones usually alert you to strong winds - only the incautious ignore them....
 
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hiflyer201

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What an adventure! Great situational awareness picking a landing spot. From the pictures I've seen they are far and few in between. No second guessing ;) it's done put a fork in it.
 
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Scubadiver1944

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One reason I still like ATTI mode of the phantom 3, you can switch to it and see what the wind is doing to the drone.
I have to ask, why land on a glass roof?
And furthermore, what if the glass roof hadn't supported his weight, shattered & he went falling several metres to the ground, maybe sustaining cuts to his person? Time possibly spent in hospital, not to mention the hotel asking him for payment to repair said glass roof and all for what? A drone costing a few hundred dollars! Why couldn't he land it on the ground instead of a hotel's glass roof? Pleased at least he had the gumption to own up for what could've been a very costly error of judgement with even more serious consequences, so others can learn from his mistakes.
 
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Heindrich1988

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It's a bold (and possibly dishonest) drone operator who says that they've never been surprised by something that happened to them. I think it's important to recognize that the winds are almost always stronger up where the drone is than the forecast may have suggested. That catches people out all the time. The good news is that DJI drones usually alert you to strong winds - only the incautious ignore them....

Yeah, what caught me out on this occasion was that I didn't get any wind warnings as I flew around the lake. I didn't even get any warnings on the way back, which was a bit strange as at one point, my max speed (on Normal mode) was reduced to just 25km/h. In the past, if I see a strong wind warning, I stop whatever I'm doing and reduce altitude and check that I can fly home. The lack of warnings on this occasion is what led to my false sense of safety.
 

Heindrich1988

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And furthermore, what if the glass roof hadn't supported his weight, shattered & he went falling several metres to the ground, maybe sustaining cuts to his person? Time possibly spent in hospital, not to mention the hotel asking him for payment to repair said glass roof and all for what? A drone costing a few hundred dollars! Why couldn't he land it on the ground instead of a hotel's glass roof? Pleased at least he had the gumption to own up for what could've been a very costly error of judgement with even more serious consequences, so others can learn from his mistakes.

Yes, with the incomplete information about the height, accessibility and strength of the glass roof, landing there was definitely a poor choice compared with just landing in the hotel gardens. I can only blame a degree of panic for that poor judgement call.

That said, I was very careful in actually retrieving my drone from the roof. In fact, hotel employees assured me that it is perfectly safe to walk on it, and that's how cleaners access it. It also felt very sturdy underfoot. Even so, I walked along the concrete ledge until I got near my drone before walking onto the glass.

The final stretch was scary because it's quite hard to overcome human instinct to freak out a little when you are walking on top of something see-through and with a significant drop below. I suspect the guy who took me to the roof chuckled a little when I actually went prone for a bit. lol
 

Terry777

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The title may seem obvious to some of you, but long story short, I risked a longer-than-usual flight today and nearly paid for it with my precious drone, because I completely underestimated the impact of wind.

I've heard people say "fly into the wind on the way out" many times, but my Air 2 has handled windy days so well thus far that I finally got complacent. I didn't see any wind warnings as I flew out with the wind at my back over my nearby lake, so although I could feel that it was quite gusty today, I thought I'd be perfectly fine to ignore the first suggested RTH warning. Big mistake. The lack of wind warnings just meant that the wind was within the operating tolerance of the drone, it doesn't mean that the wind had no effect on it.

Flying against the wind on the way back, my poor drone often struggled to maintain 25km/h at full stick on Normal Mode. Even when it was able to fly at the regular speed of around 39km/h, it seemed to be burning battery much faster than usual. I've done 24min long flights and got home with 20%+ battery. Today, my drone hit 0% at just 26min flight time.

At around 15%, I realized that I wasn't going to make it home. So, I headed for a local Hyatt Regency hotel and made an emergency landing on top of a glass roof that covers part of the entrance car park. Thankfully, the hotel staff were very friendly and helped me to access the glass roof, which was thankfully designed thick enough to support human weight. Not gonna lie though, it was quite scary and I did end up crawling at one point to spread my weight.

Thankfully, I was able to rescue my Air 2 without any harm coming to myself or my drone. But important lesson learnt for sure. Don't dismiss the wind factor just because you aren't seeing any wind warnings on DJI Fly. I was flying at category 4 wind (Chinese definition) today, well within the level 5 tolerance of the Air 2 and Mini 2. But clearly, level 4 wind is not the same as lv1 or 2. My experience seems especially pertinent nowadays with many new pilots about to take their first flights with the Mini 2. No doubt it is much more wind resistant than the Mini 1, but the combination of long range and light weight could cause many miscalculations like mine in the months to come.

Take care guys and fly safely!




*I was also too worried about my drone to take any exciting photo or video of the rescue effort besides this picture from the ground, when I first spotted it.

View attachment 116720


... phew!
Lucky boy!

That's a nice landing though and i'm glad the staff were cool about you rescuing your drone. There is nothing worse than a "bum clencher" though when you think your not going to make it home!
Well done having the foresight to get it landed before it fell into the lake ?
 
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Heretik

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Yeah, what caught me out on this occasion was that I didn't get any wind warnings as I flew around the lake. I didn't even get any warnings on the way back, which was a bit strange as at one point, my max speed (on Normal mode) was reduced to just 25km/h. In the past, if I see a strong wind warning, I stop whatever I'm doing and reduce altitude and check that I can fly home. The lack of warnings on this occasion is what led to my false sense of safety.
What are you talking about? Wind Warnings? Im unaware of such on the Fly App. You got some connection to the Gods. Someone was on your side during the crisis ;)
 
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PhiliusFoggg

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BTW if doing a remote emergency landing attempt to ensure the motors are stopped. They should do automatically I think but I think it was a Youtuber from around Dover lost his M2P? because the motors did not stop after landing at a safe place and a lost connection or something meant it tried to RTH and didn't make it. It seems unfeasible but I have no reson to doubt the guy.
 
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Heindrich1988

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BTW if doing a remote emergency landing attempt to ensure the motors are stopped. They should do automatically I think but I think it was a Youtuber from around Dover lost his M2P? because the motors did not stop after landing at a safe place and a lost connection or something meant it tried to RTH and didn't make it. It seems unfeasible but I have no reson to doubt the guy.

I know that story and watched the video before ever getting my drone. It was "Ian in London", who is actually a forum member here (same name). I believe it is something that's been patched since then. But yes, to be safe, if the drone has any power left, people should kill rotors to ensure it stays put.

I actually lost signal just after the camera automatically switched to facing forwards (from looking downwards) as it made the final descent. I'm not 100% sure if it's because power ran out, or low altitude meant too much interference between me and the drone. I would guess the latter.
 

zeusfl

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This is a great example of even experienced pilots need to take into consideration wind factors.
In a situation like yours how to prevent this sometimes is tricky.

When you have tailwind or heavy tailwind the app will not tell you all the time when this happened. The drone will be able to archive the maximum speed in each mode (Normal, Sport) however, a good way to know if you have some or strong tailwind is using the sport mode in and use a full stick and if you see the drone exceeding for few seconds the max speed and then going back to max speed, that tells you you have some tailwind. The drone will not use too much battery when you have tailwind but will burn a lot once you are coming back to headwinds.

Another thing we need to mention; you are lucky you were able to land your drone in the distance without losing the video feed. Not everybody has that luck. Normally when people try to land the drone and they get obstruction they lost the video feed when this happened you really don't know if the drone actually landed and where. The biggest problem is that when you lose that connection, the drone will go RTH and you will lose track from where is it and will change completely the place where you think it landed. If you need to land the drone in an emergency because you know you are not going to make it, I recommend changing your home point manually in the map to an area you know you can recover the drone and once you do that then click return to home. In this way, the drone will land in your desired spot even if you lost the video signal. Now very important, do not wait until you have a 10% battery to do this since the drone will start going down automatically. I recommend people practice this procedure of manually change the home point many times and do not wait to learn this when you really needed since this will take time to do the first time learning. I can do this in less than 15 seconds since I practice this a lot.

I glad you were able to recover your drone safely. Will be interesting to see your video if you have it from that experience and also the flying log.
 
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And furthermore, what if the glass roof hadn't supported his weight, shattered & he went falling several metres to the ground, maybe sustaining cuts to his person? Time possibly spent in hospital, not to mention the hotel asking him for payment to repair said glass roof and all for what? A drone costing a few hundred dollars! Why couldn't he land it on the ground instead of a hotel's glass roof? Pleased at least he had the gumption to own up for what could've been a very costly error of judgement with even more serious consequences, so others can learn from his mistakes.

What if?
 

Tentoes

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The title may seem obvious to some of you, but long story short, I risked a longer-than-usual flight today and nearly paid for it with my precious drone, because I completely underestimated the impact of wind.

I've heard people say "fly into the wind on the way out" many times, but my Air 2 has handled windy days so well thus far that I finally got complacent. I didn't see any wind warnings as I flew out with the wind at my back over my nearby lake, so although I could feel that it was quite gusty today, I thought I'd be perfectly fine to ignore the first suggested RTH warning. Big mistake. The lack of wind warnings just meant that the wind was within the operating tolerance of the drone, it doesn't mean that the wind had no effect on it.

Flying against the wind on the way back, my poor drone often struggled to maintain 25km/h at full stick on Normal Mode. Even when it was able to fly at the regular speed of around 39km/h, it seemed to be burning battery much faster than usual. I've done 24min long flights and got home with 20%+ battery. Today, my drone hit 0% at just 26min flight time.

At around 15%, I realized that I wasn't going to make it home. So, I headed for a local Hyatt Regency hotel and made an emergency landing on top of a glass roof that covers part of the entrance car park. Thankfully, the hotel staff were very friendly and helped me to access the glass roof, which was thankfully designed thick enough to support human weight. Not gonna lie though, it was quite scary and I did end up crawling at one point to spread my weight.

Thankfully, I was able to rescue my Air 2 without any harm coming to myself or my drone. But important lesson learnt for sure. Don't dismiss the wind factor just because you aren't seeing any wind warnings on DJI Fly. I was flying at category 4 wind (Chinese definition) today, well within the level 5 tolerance of the Air 2 and Mini 2. But clearly, level 4 wind is not the same as lv1 or 2. My experience seems especially pertinent nowadays with many new pilots about to take their first flights with the Mini 2. No doubt it is much more wind resistant than the Mini 1, but the combination of long range and light weight could cause many miscalculations like mine in the months to come.

Take care guys and fly safely!




*I was also too worried about my drone to take any exciting photo or video of the rescue effort besides this picture from the ground, when I first spotted it.

View attachment 116720


... phew!

Glad you weren't out over water!
 

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