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Controlling the drone at a cliff's edge

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Timelinex, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. Timelinex

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    I was in beautiful Sedona, AZ and took the drone to take some panaramas after a hike. I know there is no logistical problems with taking the drone over the edge and even taking it down. However I left that day with a little uneasiness.

    The windws were between 0 and 10mph so nothing major. I took off several times with full gps and about 30 feet from the edge. Coming close to the edge, the drone definitely had a hard time with smooth flight and would bounce around. I turned off VPS and it definitely seemed to make it better (Placebo maybe though?). I'm assuming this instability was from crosswinds going up and down the edge? When I had my wife try to catch the drone about 20ft from the edge, we were actually having a very hard time. It's movements were too choppy. At 30ft from the edge it was all good. I did calibrate the compass there. Maybe the ground there had some magnetic effect?

    I flew maybe 20-30 feet above the ground. I know if I took it 200ft up none of this would happen. Also once I started getting farther from any edge and in the middle of the canyon it was all good. However this behavior made me very nervous to fly it in that area and I actually only went about 400 ft away and wasn't confident enough to go down into the canyon.

    Anyone else experience this?
     
  2. Wibble

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    All cliffs and hills will have an updraft. Just watch a bird sitting in the lift without flapping it's winds. I used to do quite a bit of slope soaring with my RC glider. Ridge flying it is also known as.
    Sometimes the drafts can get nasty!
     
  3. ScottLB

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    Even with little wind, cliffs will almost always give you a hard time. If the wind is coming into the cliff, you get updrafts, with a break at the cliff edge. Opposite wind, you get downdrafts over the cliff, again with a break at the edge. The break is an area of instability, usually due to the air rolling. Many hang gliders have crashed due to this phenomenon. If the wind is parallel to the cliff, you tend to get the worst of both worlds, with more instability. You are correct, more altitude, staying farther from the cliff, will help. Depends on the wind speed.
     
  4. Timelinex

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    OK, I'm just glad it's not just me and something wrong with my drone.

    Have you guys had issues flying into the canyon area? Was I right to be hesitant or as long as I had 50+ ft at all times from the nearest edge, it should be stable with minimal random drafts?
     
  5. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    Updrafts can make things bouncy.
    The Phantom can do 15 metres/sec horizontally, so can hold position in a reasonable horizontal wind.
    But it's vertical speed is much less (5 m/s up & 3 m/s down) so in a strong and gusty updraft it makes for fun times.
    Try flying out further from the edge to reduce the updraft effects.
     
  6. impilot51

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    Altitude above the cliff is your friend.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  7. Wibble

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    Whoops I should have said draught - too late at night for me!
     
  8. Timelinex

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    Got it. Further out it did become stable but since I wasn't 100% sure what was going on I wasn't too confident to take it out too far.

    Thanks for the advice guys. Here's some panarama porn for you guys that I compiled from my hilke there (use your mouse to drag it around and zoom in/out):

    Sedona
     
    #8 Timelinex, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
    FlyingFool likes this.
  9. fastsmiles

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    Try to always be aware of what the winds are doing. It doesn't just happen around cliffs, it happens around large buildings also.
     
  10. digital290

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    Was flying at an area called Fishers Point outside of Moab last week and bout had a heart attack. Standing on the edge of a huge drop off with about 3-5 mile per hour wind I launched. At about 30 feet off the ground I moved over the edge of the cliff and things got crazy. Appaerently the updraft coming out of the canyon caught my P3A and spun it around like a top. I finally regained control and brought it back to me safely. I think the use of prop guards made it worse because they catch so much wind. Bottom line be careful launching from a cliff.
     
  11. phantomi

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    Nice panorama. What program you use to create it and how many pics?