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Flying Above the Arctic Circle - Compass Issues

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by phneeley, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. phneeley

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    I'm planning some treks in Iceland/Greenland in June/July and am hoping to bring along the P3A. Magnetic north and true north will be a long way off, particularly from where I'm traveling in Greenland. Does anyone have experience flying this far north? Do I need to be concerned about compass calibration issues on the bird?


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  2. happydays

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    There are a few folks on here from the far north @ParsnipHysorter, I believe from memory. They might be able to advise you. AFAIK there may be compass issues - depends how far north you intend to go. Also, it will be cold, so keep the batteries warm (and your hands too!) Beware of prop icing too.
     
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  3. spindrift

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    You will get constant compass errors. You will likely have to fly in ATTI mode. Take care with windy days. I often try to hand catch it as it becomes more erratic close to the ground. Good luck
     
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  4. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    It will cause compass & GPS errors that far North. People have flown there but DJI recommends against it. Just stay in ATTI. I would stay LOS too.
    Enjoy your trip!
     
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  5. phneeley

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    Thanks for the tips! If all goes well, hoping to post some interesting videos.


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  6. tom.griger

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    I have done 13 hours in the air in arctic Norway, as far north as Tromso. Never had a problem with compass, return home always worked. Iceland is not as far north, should be no trouble. My friend was flying with P2 in Southern Greenland. No problems reported.
    Amazing locations for drone. Pure enjoyment! Have fun over there ;)
     
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  7. phneeley

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    Will be flying into Kangerlussuaq and trekking toward the coast Google Maps


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  8. WetDog

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    Did you change how you calibrate your compass on those trips? More frequently? Less?
     
  9. Sagebrush

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    The manual for my P3A says it can't operate "in polar areas." Unfortunately, the term "polar" is a subjective term. And I'm still having a hard time understanding how the DJI compass systems interacts with its GPS system. So take this post with a grain of salt.

    I've used a Garmin trail GPS as far north as 65º –it doesn't have GLONASS capabilities like my Phantom has– and the Garmin worked fine. The Russian GLONASS system is supposed to work better at higher latitudes (probably because they orbit higher than the GPS sats). So I would anticipate that the so-called GPS system in the Phantom 3 will work fine in Iceland (at 65º). The compass? I have no idea.

    There are numerous videos and photographs floating around the Internet taken with Phantoms on Iceland. Looks like awesome aerial videography/photography country to me. I think the bottom line is how far north your trip will take you in Greenland. (I saw a comment on a Greenland Youtube vid that says he had problems with the GPS system. No idea what the latitude was.)

    Fly it. Share the pics and videos and let us know your experiences.

    S
     
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  10. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    The magnetic field is more likely to be different from one area to the next as you get closer to the poles, so calibration should be done on shorter distances between locations. You can expect some significant declination values which can cause curved flight until the adaption kicks in.

    Keep ATTI mode on the ready.
     
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  11. nhoover

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    I'll be at 79-80°N this summer and am pretty sure it will be ATTI mode only. Can't wait to try!
     
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  12. Kaspers1

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    I'm living at the high north, city called Tromsø in Northern Norway. No problem at to fly in GPS-mode at all...
     
  13. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    I see a lot of Phantom photography done in Iceland. It's a very popular photo destination and obviously not too tricky.
    Bear in mind that compass problems are related to proximity to the Magnetic North Pole (northeast of Canada) - not just how far north you are.
     
  14. phneeley

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    Thanks again for the info, all. I punched the lat/lon and date into an online calculator. Magnetic declination for my general destination in Greenland will be between 29° 50.28' W and 30° 45.96' W, more than twice what it is in Reykjavik and about 3.5 times what it is in Tromsø (assuming I'm reading it correctly).
     
  15. spindrift

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    You may be ok as I was farther north in the Canadian Arctic. No way to use GPS when your approaching 70 degrees. Loads of magnetic interference. Flyer beware!
     
  16. Tyler Sparks

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    DANGER DANGER!!
    I am flying a Phantom 4 in Hammerfest, Nordkapp areas in the far northern parts of Norway (Norge.) I am having major issues with the compass and have already run into my phantom 4 spinning out of control at full speed with no input from the pilot. After reading this I think I will have to fly only in A-mode only. But I highly recommend not flying in P-mode it could cause a serious crash. I can't stress that enough, the phantom 4 was only at a 1m hover after take-off then on it's own went full speed and right and I was unable to control it. I was able to get the phantom 4 some altitude to avoid hitting people and side of a cliff. Was a nightmare come to life.
     
  17. Sagebrush

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    That **** north pole.

    Out of curiosity, do you recall how many GPS/GlONASS sats you were receiving before you throttled up? (I realize this is a separate issue from the compass and it's just trivia for me.)

    Sounds like you managed to land your bird.

    Sagebrush
     
  18. Tyler Sparks

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    Here is my flight data. I had full bars and no error messages. Thanks for taking a look. I hope its something simple.
     
  19. Sagebrush

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    Crazy! Great landing, by the way.

    I'm assuming you did a compass calibration away from any steel?

    SB
     
  20. Tyler Sparks

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    Before flight I had a good compass reading. After this flight I re-calibrated the compass and then did another flight. That next flight after I had issues flying in a straight line. As if the phantom 4 was a bit drunk. I will once again calibrate the compass and keep testing it and see if it settles down to a more normal flight. Just need to find a safe after to test.