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Anybody exploring caves with their drones?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tarzan!, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Tarzan!

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    I searched and found a few old threads, but none that were too recent. I was wondering if anybody has been flying their drones in any caves and if they've had any issues/tips about flying in the caves?

    I mostly plan to fly in the larger caves to limit the risk of a collision, but there are a couple spots I'd like to get my eyes on that we can't reach without bolting a route in the in the cave (trying not to cause unnecessary damage unless there is indeed more passages beyond what we can see). I wouldn't be sending it far out of sight (maybe 15 feet or less from line of sight), but wasn't sure if that would be enough to lose the signal since it's solid limestone.
     
  2. With The Birds

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    Out of direct LOS is too big a risk where you almost certainly don't have GPS available.
     
  3. Mark The Droner

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    I suspect your signal would be okay because you'd be close and the signal would bounce around. Still - definitely risky. It would be so easy to become disoriented and crash.
     
  4. WetDog

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    You would be relying on VPS to keep you from wandering. You would not have the stability that GPS positioning affords you. You would have to put lights on the thing (easy).

    Sounds like a way to buy a new drone.....

    A little wriggler bot hooked up to a cable seems more sensible.
     
  5. Tarzan!

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    Sounds like I'll just be flying up to get a better lateral view directly above me and not investigating into any possible passages. That's what I was assuming would be the case, but was just curious if anybody else had tried it. Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. gmanquad

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    I have a little bit. Obviously, you need line of site, but I've sent it down pits to explore and a little into passages. Make sure you have a lot of room and if it's dark you will need a lot of lights.
    1.jpg
     
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  7. k4wil

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    I would think about the dust that you would be breathing. Bats crap etc might not be to healthy.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  8. Tarzan!

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    That's awesome! I have several lightweight caving lights I plan to attach to it.
     
  9. Tarzan!

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    The cave and section of the cave I intend to fly in has no dust or bats. It's several miles back into the system from the entrance, so the bats don't go back this far and it's a wet cave. So dust will not be an issue. Although, that is a legitimate concern in some other caves.
     
  10. link1111

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    I found a fabulous cave. Too difficult to access; 100 ft about ground carved into a shale, rock cliff. It's rectangular so it's man made. Indian ceremonial stuff is nearby but this cave is impossible to access without climbing gear. Does anyone in the Santa Clarita, CA area have a drone w/lights? There's no other option for scanning the interior of this cave.
     

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  11. Tarzan!

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    Be sure to post any footage you get if you happen to find somebody to help you out. If I was near the area, I'd love to check it out both with the drone and with some gear!
     
  12. Pharm

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    I just stick a GoPro on my son's head and send him in the cave while I wait safely outside. ;)
     
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  13. Mr. Salty

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    Longtime caver here and member of the National Speleological Society. You would be wrong. Radio signals do not bounce around on rock --- at all. The antennas have to be in direct line of sight.

    A friend of mine and I did some experimentation with portable ham radio gear a few years ago. We were about 30 feet apart and as soon as he went around a corner there was a complete loss of signal. And I mean complete.

    If you fly a drone into a cave where you can't see it, you will lose control, period.
     
  14. AlecW

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    I know this is an old thread but no one suggested this yet. Set RTH to hover if you do try this.
     
  15. Mr. Salty

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    RTH doesn't work without GPS, even hovering, and you're not going to get a GPS signal in a cave.
     
  16. AlecW

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    Good point. I wonder what happens if you have no GPS and lose signal?
     
  17. Mr. Salty

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    If it's in a cave it'll drift until it hits something.
     
  18. link1111

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    Yes, that's my concern. I posted photos which were visible when I started my thread but I don't see them now. Here's the cave with rock "face" nearby:
     

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  19. link1111

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    Please look at a photos I posted of this impossible to reach cave and it's neighboring "face" carved into the cliff rock. Any suggestions on how to access it?
     

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  20. stubblefield

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    Two assumptions: you can see the entrance from where you are flying the bird and you and the bird are open to the sky above and have satellite coverage, GPS. Once you approach the cave and maybe right at it's entrance you will lose GPS and you will have to fly ATTI mode. ATTI mode is really difficult as the bird will drift any which way. When you start to correct the drift and go in the direction you want the bird to go, the controls get very sensitive and you WILL fly into a wall. I say this with experience. I tried to fly thru a very short slot canyon and couldn't really even get started. I crashed it twice, but was only a couple of feet off the ground and did no damage. I had the luxury of being only a couple of feet away from the bird when controlling it. I quit and once the weather here clears up ATTI practice is #1. I'm beginning to wonder if precise ATTI flying is even achievable. The difference between GPS and ATTI modes is vast.

    Your scenario tells me if you try to enter, you will crash with no way to retrieve the bird.
     
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