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Drones anyone?

bczoom

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Does anyone have any experience with drones?

I've been considering getting a drone for fun and to check the property now and then.
By ATV, it's nearly 1/2 mile getting to the back of our land and relatively steep terrain.

How's the range?
How easy are they to fly?
Are they strictly line of sight? Will terrain or trees interfere with their signal?
Do they have any collision avoidance or are they absolutely going where ever you send them via the controls?
 
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230 Pilot

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I have a phantom 4, like everything electronics, it’s now out of date but still is awesome (3 years old).
it has built in collision avoidance, an automatic return to lift off positioning system, so if you fly it out of range it comes back to where it took off. Simple to fly, but you need to get used to it. People seem to have the most problems if they are looking at the bird flying toward themselves , what you do on the controls is reversed, because it’s coming at you, not flying away from you. Just need practice.
You can set it to follow something and it will go wherever the machine goes. You can’t fly close to a large airport, don’t know where u are located. They have no fly zones around the US. The newer one are even more high tech. And the price tag of some are pretty expensive. And yes they crash expensive ?
 

bczoom

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Thanks 230 Pilot!
I would only be using it over my own property.
For returning to the launch point, do they have something where I can just push a button letting it know to come back to the launch point as opposed to me having to fly it back?
Can you elaborate on this? "You can set it to follow something and it will go wherever the machine goes. " Do you pre-program a route using something like GPS?
How long does an average drone stay in the air before it has to come back for a re-charge?
Am I assuming correctly they have a view screen so you can fly using that instead of physically watching the drone?
What's a "reasonable" price to expect to pay for a drone with a camera, view screen and a 1-mile range?
 

MNwr786

Member
Thanks 230 Pilot!
I would only be using it over my own property.
For returning to the launch point, do they have something where I can just push a button letting it know to come back to the launch point as opposed to me having to fly it back?
Can you elaborate on this? "You can set it to follow something and it will go wherever the machine goes. " Do you pre-program a route using something like GPS?
How long does an average drone stay in the air before it has to come back for a re-charge?
Am I assuming correctly they have a view screen so you can fly using that instead of physically watching the drone?
What's a "reasonable" price to expect to pay for a drone with a camera, view screen and a 1-mile range?
I also had the Phantom 4K. Too many captain cokes flew it ($850 at the time) full speed into the garage door.

Yes, there is a button to return it home. It has an onboard GPS and uses wifi to connect the drone controller to a smart phone (that attaches to the top of the controller) for watching the video stream, data, and even some flight control. A friend of mine had the same one with a lower res camera. He was able to program in a flight plan using GPS mapping software, the camera views, direction speed, all of it pre programmed. The entire flight from take off to landing was program. The controller was on the ground. He set it to take off, fly around the perimeter of our lake and video the shoreline from a couple hundred feet up and maybe 50 off shore and return. I am not sure if he used DJI software or another phone app for drones though. I know he had programmed it to fly down the Mississippi river too, he followed the drone with his truck and at the end of the programmed flight, he took manual control and put it down. Here is his video Dont forget to set the video quality to max in youtube

The Phantom drone is so stable and easy to fly that I had no problem putting the controller in other peoples hands with no practice (even my 10yr old nephew). 3 years ago it had a gyroscope, acoustic altitude sensor, magnetic sensor and GPS. If you flew it up an inch above your head, it was so stable (even in light wind) that you could set the controller on the ground and go walk under it. It knows its altitude, position, pitch, orientation and can sit stable in the wind until the battery dies. I flew mine in the house a few times its so stable. If you are used to traditional RC aircraft, this thing gives nimble, responsive and stable new meaning. There is also an option to turn off the sensor-based flight corrections for the bad@$$ pilots.

The camera is on a 360° full view gimble, the controller has its own control for camera orientation and zoom. The drone carries an SD card for recording. By default, recording is in raw format and you will need a high speed SD card if you plan to record 4k video.

As for battery life, I would get about 20-25 minutes of flight. Flight range is a function of altitude as the GHz frequencies used are moderately blocked by trees. Above 400 feet, Ive had mine a mile away. To that I'll add the new ones are being capped at a certain altitude and geo-locked from flying near airports, so it might be worth your time to find an old Phantom 4k and use the old phone app.
 
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mla2ofus

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I just started researching drones and am interested in the DJI mini 2. For a low budget one it seems to have a lot of features. No collision avoidance so I'd have to practice a lot in open areas to get used. The next model up is the DJI Air 2S and for another $500 it has collision avoidance. I'm in no rush so I'll keep researching.
 

MNwr786

Member
You should be in a rush.... a big rush. The longer you wait, the more built in restrictions there are. My friend updated his DJI software shortly before I crashed mine and suddenly his home was too close to the airport in town to fly it at home. They are continually adding restrictions like how high, how far, where is ok to fly, etc. Honestly, although I loved mine and miss it very much, if I ever decide to take to the skies via remote control again, I'll be adding cameras to my old nitromethane airplane and putting up a tower so I can fly it behind 3 large computer monitors with a joystick. Hurry, don't wait, the next restriction will be on speed lol. And back up your apk. They force updates so uninstalling and reinstalling from personal backup and staying offline is the only way to avoid it. I might have the original DJI 4k android software before they limited altitude (their first software limitation), so if you need it, I'll take a look.
 
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mla2ofus

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Thanks, the mini 2 doesn't have to be registered w/ the FAA at this time due to it's weight. I don't have any nefarious plans for it but that was one of the selling points for me. I sent an email to DJI to see if my LG Stylo6 is compatible with it.
 

mla2ofus

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Update: got a reply back from DJI advising my LG Stylo6 is not compatible. I'm damned if I'll go buy a new phone!! I'll just keep shopping.
 

mla2ofus

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After checking with other mfgrs I found my phone must be 5G so I guess if I want a drone a new phone is in order.
 
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