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Launching on windy days

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by jumper, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. jumper

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    As a new Phantom Vision 2 owner, as well as new RC pilot, I'm confused about launching the craft on windy days.

    I only have a few flights under my belt and that is mostly due to the sub -20C days here during the Canadian spring. One day there was a cross breeze over my driveway/launch pad and when I gave the up command the craft lifted and immediately tilted so much that I was afraid I would touch one of the props on the paving stones. Once the craft was aloft it handled the wind surprisingly well and I'm assuming it had more to do with the GPS than with my piloting skills.

    I live in Saskatchewan, which is vast and FLAT so the probability of a calm day is low, I'll need to learn to launch in a stiff breeze at minimum.
    My questions are as follows.

    1. Should I be using full throttle when launching? I think I am a bit nervous (pucker factor X100) and I don't move the sticks far off of centre for any manoeuvres. and:

    2. Is there an absolute windspeed where a launch would end up damaging the props?

    Thanks in advance for any tips in this regard.
     
  2. Pull_Up

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    Be assertive with the throttle on launch, then you can just let go and the sprung centre will mean the aircraft will hold height wherever you left it. Much better to have a short, sharp getaway than a gentle ascent. Sitting in ground effect low down can make the aircraft act like a hovercraft and it will much more affected by gusts than if you get it up in cleaner air quickly.

    As far as maximums, I personally don't fly when their are gusts much over 20mph, and I don't like the average windspeed to be much more than 15mph. I carry a small anemometer in the flight case to check, but usually just go by the rule that if I'm not sure if it's too windy then it's probably too windy. :)
     
  3. outlaw704

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    Jumper, I am new to this stuff too with no RC experience, just a few months in. But here are a few techniques that may help. Hopefully I am not being Captain Obvious here...

    Launch from a stable, clean, flat, level surface. I use my carrying case to for launch. Avoid launching from a soft, unstable, grassy or dusty area. I suggest doing takeoffs in GPS mode (if you have converted from Vision to NAZA in your software.) If you have not converted, you will be in GPS mode.

    Point the P2V into the wind for launch. For example, if the wind is coming from the West face the PV2 camera toward the West. If you consistently and repetitively use this set up your take off wind direction and any drift at liftoff will always be the same.

    Stand behind the Phantom during takeoff facing the same direction as the camera. Make sure you have seen the fast green lights flashing, setting the Home position and then watch for the slow green lights showing you have a good GPS (6+ satellites); I double check on the app just to make sure how many I have.

    If the winds are gusty - standby a moment for a more stable wind without a gust. A full left stick up deflection is not necessary, but it will not hurt anything either. However, a fairly aggressive initial climb is required to clear your launch area and avoid a tip over. Climb to about 20 or so feet and allow the P2V to stabilize. Check for the green lights and test your sticks for travel and correctness of motion.

    If you start by practicing on less windy days you will quickly find the right amount of left up stick you will need.

    Final caution - I think you will quickly find how easy this Phantom is to fly in GPS mode, even on a windy day. It is VERY easy to become overconfident and push the envelope. In fact, I did exactly that, and pushed too hard, right into a big low altitude crash while hot dogging around. I had to do some soul searching and decide if this was a cool (expensive) toy for rat racing around or is it a big, tall "aerial tripod" for my camera. So now I have become very careful, use checklists, fly smart (almost sedate) and take photos and video.

    You will have to find your own "sweet spot" as you get more familiar with your Phantom...
     
  4. jumper

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    Thanks Simon:

    I'll try to be a bit more assertive when I launch. If it goes to 0C today I'll give it a try. Fingers crossed. The anemometer sounds like a good addition to the kit.

    Outlaw: Those are great tips. I don't mind being over cautious and 'sedate flying' seems to be the overwhelming opinion for new pilots.

    Thanks again to both of you.
     
  5. jimdenburg

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    One thing I might add for me anyway...set up going into the wind give the left throttle up and add a little forward on the right, flying into the wind until you get 10 feet up or so, then let off on the sticks and it will stabilize. Of course you don't HAVE to point in the direction of the wind as you can use the left stick to account for any direction of wind, just fly into it rather than have it push you the other way. Happy flying.
     
  6. Mori55

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    I almost always takeoff from grass just give a lot of throttle then ease off when it gets to the height you want. I think it lifts off better in atti mode myself.
     
  7. ladykate

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    I'm not sure what the hesitancy is for a full throttle takeoff. The Phantom doesn't take off like it is scalded - it actually winds up a bit and then gets off the ground. You want to get clear of the ground on a gusty day (as Pull-up said). Push it to full throttle and when it lifts just ease back and you are flying. I definitely wouldn't mess with roll or pitch when taking off unless something interfered - very low level actions other than throttle can get weird due to the aforementioned ground effect and other issues (like dragging a foot through grass or other obstruction and causing a flip).

    In wind, either ATTI or GPS work fine on takeoff for me. If you are worried about the wind sweeping it into something, then the winds are too high to launch.

    I do not like winds above 20 on the ground since at any kind of altitude it will probably be stronger. When they are really high, I sometimes fly in a small cove where I live - the winds shift but they aren't violent and the airplane is controllable.
     
  8. FSJ Guy

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    YMMV, but I was taught to slowly spool up the props and then give it a firm push up to launch. That way, all the props have a change to get up to the SAME speed, vs and all out attack on the left stick. LOL!

    If you launch too slowly, the craft will tend to want to tip. Some adjustment with the right stick helps, but gaining altitude in this situation is even better. Pop it up and it will tend to right itself.

    This is why learning on grass can help, as it tends to not chew up blades like concrete can.

    It DOES take practice. The in-the-air part is easy. It's the takeoff and landing parts that are hard. : D
     
  9. Big Ben

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    In GPS and Atti mode the Phantom is a fly-by-wire machine. The throttle is managed by the NAZA and the motors spin up gradually if you give full throttle. You want to be clear of the ground as quickly as possible because it's contact with that ground that causes all the misery. I quickly discovered that full throttle is best for take off and in fact I'd like to see it take off more rapidly than it does. Especially in windy conditions. This can be achieved by taking off in Manual mode. That makes a HUGE difference and once clear of the ground you can switch to GPS mode. Practice how Manual mode throttle works with the Phantom weighted down with something heavy through the landing gear (careful for magnetic effects so preferably not iron things).
     
  10. Kitesplosh

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    Sometimes when I am worried about wind conditions I do a hand launch - avoids the ground effect.

    With phantom on a stable surface, turn the props on with the multi command on the radio controller
    Hold controller in left hand and pick up phantom by landing skid and hold high and DOWNWIND of you
    Push up on left stick and let go when the phantom starts feeling less than weightless

    Caveat - I'm relatively new and only done this 10times or so. Never had any dramas though.
     
  11. nhoover

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    I haven't flown in high winds - about 16-18mph has been the max. There's no problem I've seen with full power take-off and when it's windy I usually do a hand landing. Once you try it a couple of times it's no big deal. Don't be afraid! I really need to find somewhere with more wind so I can get up to 70mph - max so far just over 68.
     
  12. jumper

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    Thanks everyone for the great tips and advice. I went out this afternoon. It was sunny -5C and a 5-8 knot breeze. I held my breath and made an assertive launch to about 3 metres and it was easy as can be. I spent about 10 or 15 minutes launching and then a short flight before landing and doing the sequence again. I quickly got the hang of it and felt pretty comfy with the launches. I would have practiced longer but my fingers were getting numb.

    The long range forecast for this area is that it might warm up around mid July.
     
  13. ladykate

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    I know what you mean about being cold. We've been fighting it for months here. It was lightly snowing today but I went out anyway. I've been flying the 550 just so I had a little weight against the 20 gusting to 36 stuff. However, this afternoon it died down and it was almost dead still. Very weird flying when the aircraft isn't bouncing all over the place. Not nearly as much fun. ;-} I got some interesting shots of a bunch of Canadian Geese in a muddy pond. Not worth posting since the whole area looked like the surface of Mars (no real rain in months so everything is dead). The airframe was dead still - looked like it was on a 15 meter tripod.
     
  14. grochester

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    There is an old Canadian joke that Saskatchewan is so flat you can watch your dog run away for three days. With your new P2V you should able to watch for a week or so!
    Not sure I agree with taking off into the wind while standing behind the craft. Mine tends to drift a bit when it first takes off and then becomes stable. This may be because I seem to need to get in the air to get 6 satellites. Anyway, I would prefer not to directly downwind as the flying blender drifts towards me. It's not relying on lift from air movement over a wing to become airborne so anywhere but downwind seems safer to me.
     
  15. Rastus

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    Great thread...
    Tried to launch for the first time today. There was enough wind to cause the phantom to flex a little bit but not blow over while it was on the ground. If that makes sense.
    I tried to lift off 3 or 4 times. Each time it tipped over grinding the tips of two blades on the asphalt. Very discouraging. There are a probably a million reason why. I'll give it full power next time...
     
  16. XL-Studios

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    I would recommend to always take off with full throttle. This way you minimize blade grinding and horizontal movements while take off. Once off ground let it hover some 2-3 meters up and check that it´s stable and then start flying.
     
  17. 4wd

    4wd

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    Try the hand launching (and catch) but not on a windy day the first few times.
    The drawback to take-off on grass is that the slightest bit of dew or wetness seems to end up on your camera lens.