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Flying my Phantom 3 from a cruise ship

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by slidewilson, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. slidewilson

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    I work on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean and I've received special permission to fly from the helicopter deck while we're in Santorini. I'm pretty excited about getting the shot but I'm worried about taking off from an all-metal cruise ship in a bay. I'm moderately experienced but by no means an expert. I'll fly in ATTI mode since the ship will be drifting in the bay somewhat.

    Does anyone have any insight into how much risk there is involved in having the compass work correctly? Would you fly this flight? Any suggestions recommended!

    Also if anyone is curious, it's been *very* challenging just having this drone on the ship and getting permission from the port authorities to fly. It's worth it in the end, though I've only received approval from two port authorities to bring the drone off the ship. Also, many companies have banned drones from being brought onboard because of the safety, logistical and approval issues. My company has actually banned drones as well in the last few months, but mine is grandfathered in since I had it onboard before the ban and I'm doing some promotional stuff for the company as well.

    Thoughts appreciated!
     
  2. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Might be challenging but not impossible. Be mindful of support wires/cables over head and of course antennae, satellite equipment, radio equipment and more that could ALL create havoc on your communications and instruments.

    There's a LOT of things that could interfere with this flight so take extra precautions and don't have anyone near by just in case.
     
    captainmilehigh likes this.
  3. WetDog

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    There were a number of posts from someone who said he flew off a ? Norwegian ferry a number of times and had no problems. It was an old steel boat. I certainly would NOT calibrate the compass on the boat and if the P3 started whining about the compass, I would not take off. You won't necessarily need ATTI mode - you should see the GPS sats just fine and if you are getting the compass very confused, just ATTI isn't going to help. If it really is the helicopter pad than you should have a pretty clear path - that's nice.

    Set it up and try it. If you get lots of warnings, shut down.

    You should also check on the location of local airports and heliports. You could possibly be in an Greek no-fly zone.
     
    BigAl07 likes this.
  4. slidewilson

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    Thanks for the great info. I'm not going to have a chance to calibrate on shore. Are you saying it's better to not calibrate?

    I should be fine for obstacles but it's the antenna interference I'm worried about. It's a massive ship. Would you try? I mean, I could see if I can get it safely up in the air a few feet and go from there. I really don't want to risk any kind of crash. Of course.

    I should be ok for airspace - both the municipality and the port have cleared me to fly. Which is nice. Only took like 6 weeks :)

    Thanks!
     
  5. WetDog

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    Definitely DO NOT calibrate the compass on the ship. That's the last thing you can do. Remember, you want to be well away from any ferrous (magnetic) material. Even watches and cell phones can theoretically upset the calibration. Calibrating on a sidewalk with hidden rebar is a popular mistake. A ship dwarfs a sidewalk in terms of steel.

    The transmitter issue is a little less clear. Those big puff balls on the boat are mostly receiver dishes. The big emitter is radar and it's unclear if closely approaching a commercial level radar is a problem. I've seen plenty of videos of P3s flying around big ships so at least at some distance it's OK (power falls off at the square of the distance). Assuming the helipad is on the back of the ship and the radars are up front, you should be fine. You should be able to see the radars, otherwise ask somebody on the bridge.

    All and all, you have a flight that entails some risk. You've done a lot of homework about it. Sounds fun.

    I would try it but then, that's me.

    But -- if you get a bunch of errors on the pad, I would abort that that stage. Much cheaper.
     
  6. Ptr

    Ptr

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    Bring a friend with you, who by the way took a very large beach towel from the cabins below, do not auto take off, arm motors manually then hope you picked a friend that if it goes pear shaped that he/she gets it right @ your command to abort, you might be down a few props but have gained a best friend, good luck & let us know outcome
     
  7. MiamiDroneFlights

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    Flying around Cruise Ships/Liners is my most favorite thing to do. I have flown around, next to, above, behind, on the side of many of those beautiful and powerful beasts. I have never taken of from the ship but I think I can provide you with some good insight.

    #1: On a bobbing ship you will never get a GPS mode home point lock, so you are correct that you will have to undertake and ATTI mode flight. ATTI mode will not give you the assistance on maintaining your position like GPS mode will so high winds introduce a tipping over in the air risk. I would not try an ATTI mode flight from the deck of a ship in high winds. Once in the air you may be able to gain GPS assistance in maintaining a GPS location.

    #2: How good are you at flying backwards and sideways and the like? You have to maintain line of sight to the drone, If you're taking off from a foredeck, the back of the ship will not be accessible to you. If your taking off from an aft deck vice versa. Because you won't be able to maintain line of sight, so you have to fan out to make your reception cone larger. When your landing or flying just off of the boat you'll have to fly something other than straight-ahead to get into position.

    #3: You've done a lot of planning just to be able to fly, but do you have a flight plan. I just love flying around large beautiful, majestic machines like these. I usually take a position ahead of a moving ship, you haven't said the Liner will be moving but, long sweeps and fly-bys look fantastic, especially offset by the color of the water. If the ship will be stationary. Set a POI above it with a radius triple the length of the ship, if you are constricted on any side adjust that as necessary. If you are clear and confident of the flight path, the perfection of the circular motion of the camera around the ship can have many uses in cut scenes and be just downright beautiful. You can adjust your altitude without disturbing the perfect 360 deg. motion of the craft. To sum it up. I know what I'm going to do before I get in the air!!

    Good and Safe Flying.

    Remember:

    The safety of pedestrians and passengers and any aircraft in the vicinity is paramount. The Recoverability of the aircraft is next! and we can't forget about the shot!!!


    Here is one of my best flights.








    YouTube: Miami Drone Flights

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Ptr

    Ptr

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    OP asked about taking off from ship???