Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Need safety feature when flying over a pond

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Roger Donnay, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. Roger Donnay

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    I'm fairly good at flying my Phantom 3 and so I decided I want to create a video adventure in which I chase my RC boat across the pond. I got the idea from re-watching an old James Bond film - From Russia with Love.

    It's a great Chris-Craft style boat and would make a good video. This will take 2 operators of course. One for the boat and one for the Phantom.

    After some trials however, I realize that I can't get a close enough video unless I'm flying 6 ft or less above the water. This can be very dangerous. I have good GPS in the area (12 satellites) so vertical stability shouldn't be a problem. My biggest worry is that I will accidently move the altitude adjustment when making sharp turns and find myself hitting the water.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to add some safe guards? I thought about putting a mechanism on the left joystick that would require much more pressure to move the stick up/down but still allow free left/right movement. I can visualize how I would do this with a simple washer and rubber band.

    I would feel much better if I could set a minimum height. The home point for takeoff would be about 6 feet higher than the water level. It would be great if there were a safety feature that makes it stop or slow dramatically if the height ever goes below home point height.

    Any ideas?
     
    curiosity likes this.
  2. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,770
    Likes Received:
    3,479
    GPS provides horizontal position holding but isn't involved at all in vertical.
    I can't think of any gadgets or settings to handle the situation so it's just going to come down to being extra careful.
    Try a few practice runs at a safer height to see if you feel comfortable that you can do it down lower.
     
  3. Pharm

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Messages:
    751
    Likes Received:
    273
    Getterback. It won't keep you above the water but it'll help you fish it out after it goes swimming. Available at Amazon.
     
    Dronebow likes this.
  4. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Messages:
    6,811
    Likes Received:
    4,376
    Location:
    Live! From New York!
    I use them. :cool:
     
  5. Roger Donnay

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    >>> GPS provides horizontal position holding but isn't involved at all in vertical.

    How does it determine altitude then? Does it have an altimeter? What keeps it stable? It always hovers nicely for me.
     
  6. HWCM

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Messages:
    658
    Likes Received:
    138
    VPS and barometer.
     
  7. FantomFlier

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    76
    Consider these:-

    Gimbal-Guard

    restraint.jpg
     
    Lefty63 likes this.
  8. Roger Donnay

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Perfect! Thank you! This will save me a lot of time. I will report back in a week or so about my successes or failures.
     
  9. Roger Donnay

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    I looked at the 32 reviews on Amazon. Great reviews for the concept, but not a single success story. The pond is an old rock quarry that is fed by the Boise River. It is very deep, so I anticipate that the device would deploy if I lost it in deep water. Any ideas what the cost would be for repairs? I assume that the camera and gimbal are a full loss from anecdotes I have heard.
     
  10. MasterBlaster

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    203
    Location:
    GA
    Go get a State Farm policy....
    $60 for a year.
    That's what I would do anyway.
    JMO


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
    Fat Daddy and Pharm like this.
  11. Roamer105

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    25
    I would use Autopilot with Airspace and work that mission "hands-off". I would not dare a manual flight like this while on a shaking, bouncing boat.
    You can setup a very cinematic and dramatic mission by setting up an ORBIT with Autopilot with Focus=Device (subject = RC/iPad). As you take off with the boat, Autopilot will try to keep the RC in frame and orbit distance while attempting to fly an orbit. For more effect, you can increase or decrease the speed, change the altitude or change the distance during the mission using the RC's throttle (altitude) or right stick (up/down for distance, left/right for speed). Furthermore, if "dynamic home-point" is enabled, Autopilot will continuously update the home point as the RC/Device moves with the boat. So, if for some reason RTH is invoked, the bird will come to your boat and attempt to land there. I suggest, you take over when it is close and hand-grab it.
     
    LWC1496 likes this.
  12. Pharm

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Messages:
    751
    Likes Received:
    273
    No idea of repair cost. Whether or not camera and gimbal are a full loss would depend on how long it was underwater and how thoroughly it was cleaned and dried afterwards, plus a few other factors. I wouldn't guarantee the Getterback will work but it gives me a sense of semi-security when flying over water.
     
  13. alokbhargava

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Messages:
    5,158
    Likes Received:
    1,665
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Please ensure you keep your VPS definitely off when flying low on waters.
     
  14. Solar Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    144
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Roger, it's easy to do. Did it all weekend following the kids getting pulled on the tube. Start with a few trial runs and stay 20-30 feet above the water. I had no problem maintaining the same height above the boat and water. After 8-10 batteries, I was comfortable about 10-12 feet above the water or 5' above the boat/jet ski. During your trial runs, practice panning without losing altitude. Do you pinch the sticks or use all thumbs? Easier to maintain altitude by pinching, but I learned with my thumbs and it was easy enough.

    Palmiter_16.jpg 7-9-16.23.jpg 7-9-16.25.jpg 7-9-16.26.jpg
     
  15. jcoop

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    13
    Wait...
    Isn't it an rc boat? So you'll be on land, and you won't have to worry about bouncing around, right?
    Will autopilot track and orbit such a small thing?
    Also, if you do do it, and make a video, post it here or something, because I would love to see it!



    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  16. WetDog

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,491
    Likes Received:
    640
    P3's are pretty stable altitude wise. I fly 2-3 feet off the water all of the time. Turn VPS off as suggested. Practice. Practice. Practice. The P3 won't lose altitude unless you push the left stick. So don't push the left stick. When you're done stop, take a deep breath and think about what do do next.

    Do you have access to an RC car? You could find a nice flat field and practice. One advantage of water is that it won't sneak up in altitude like land can. Tends to stay pretty flat.

    Also, this would be an excellent mission to plan with Autopilot. It adds a whole new level of complexity to the game, but if you are really serious that is probably the best way to go. You can choreograph the P3 and fly autonomously, leaving you to manipulate the camera while somebody else flies the boat.

    It is how a pro would do it. (Along with having three boats, four aircraft, 10 crew and a caterer.)
     
  17. Roamer105

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    25
    If it is a small RC boat, that is a different story. You would have to setup an Airspace in Autopilot defining an airspace device that is in the RC boat (like an iPhone). Then define that device as the focus. One big note of caution (aside from protecting the iPhone from water :)) - If you are in an area with poor, or no cellular service, Airspace is severely limited in distance (distance between your RC/iPad and the iPhone in the boat). If the airspace communication breaks down, the bird remains focused on the last known position.
     
  18. FantomFlier

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2016
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    76
    An example of a very close call:-

     
    Perry Jefferies and Techcop50 like this.
  19. kirk2579

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2015
    Messages:
    1,350
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    Girard. ohio
    be carefull with vps on when flying low over water, maybe shut it off since you have a p3
     
  20. Roger Donnay

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    >>> I would not dare a manual flight like this while on a shaking, bouncing boat.

    I will not be in a boat. The pond is much too small for that. We will be controlling everything from shore.