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New P3P operator in Washougal, WA

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Xlrrp, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Xlrrp

    Jan 3, 2016
    Likes Received:

    Thank you for having such a great forum and for posting all the tips, advice and unfortunately mistakes. It has been invaluable in my journey towards becoming a drone (quadcopter) operator. Sorry for the long first post but I wanted to explain how I got here and what my experiences as a very new operator have been. I should point out that until three or so weeks ago, I had zero interest in flying drones and I am not a tech person (yes, I have an Iphone but do not understand most of the new technology out there).

    This Christmas I bought my six year old son a small drone from Amazon. It is tiny and difficult to control. Due to the bad weather, I ended up flying it inside the house quite a bit and learned how to control it the hard way (lots of crashes and glaring from my wife). It has a "ground mode" which prevents it from flying and attachable wheels so my son was also able to play with it inside the house too. We have been having a blast with it and it even has a camera attached. Pretty cool for a tiny cheap drone (DBPOWER Hawkeye- I 3D Flip $78.00).

    Since I was having so much fun with my son's drone, I decided to buy my own. I did some online research and ended up getting a Syma X5C-1 for myself ($79.00 on Amazon plus I ordered extra batteries on Ebay). Once again, due to the bad weather I spent a lot of time flying the X5C inside the house. I only had a few crashes this time and was getting the hang of it.

    The first break in the weather, my son and I took the X5C outside to fly it. I now realize it was way too windy but we really wanted to do some flying outside. After a few minutes of 20-30 foot flying I decided to turn on the camera and get some shots from altitude. Wow, that thing really went up fast. I think I was over 100' before a gust of wind decided to turn it into a kite and it sailed off out of control. That seemed like the end of the X5C. We walked a few houses away and I was trying to establish a connection with the remote when my son yelled that he saw it. Apparently while playing with the control I caused the drone to jump a few feet up in the air right where he was looking. It had snowed so a white drone in the snow would have been hard to find. We recovered it with zero damage! I was very lucky.

    Because of this site and others, I had the bug and decided to do a massive ($$$$) upgrade. I saw a decent deal at BestBuy and ended up buying a P3P and additional battery on a whim. The first week or so it remained in the box as I was questioning my decision. During that time I read everything I could find on the aircraft. How to's, flyaways, crashes, tips, instruction manuals, settings, etc. I watched all kinds of videos on Youtube as well.

    I finally unboxed the aircraft and followed the guidance I found on this forum. I charged everything (not the remote and battery at the same time.....), was able to successfully update the firmware in the aircraft, RC and batteries and spent much time playing around with the DJI GO app changing settings, learning what everything does and using the flight simulator (which quickly became boring).

    A few days ago the rain stopped and I decided to fly the thing. With the thought of destroying a very expensive drone I used beginner mode and attached removable prop guards just in case. The first flight went off without a hitch. I could not believe how well it worked. Super easy to fly, responsive and FUN! Wow!

    I did discover that my older Ipad Mini is not up to the task. Even after tweaking the settings as described in this forum, it has a lot of lag and the picture is horrible. It works and if I do not move too quickly (either the drone or the camera), it is usable but not good. I did everything recommended to improve the picture quality but I think it is simply too old. I will be buying a Nvidia Shield K1 in a few days ($199 at BestBuy).

    Since there were weather breaks, I have flown four times now. No issues whatsoever! I am having a great time with this thing and am looking forward to taking some awesome photos and videos once the weather improves and I get better with the camera and which settings to use.

    On each flight I have been as careful as I can by checking and double checking everything. I charge the batteries fully before each flight. I check the settings in the DJI GO app before each flight (in case they somehow change). I calibrate the compass before each flight (yes, I know I don't have to but I am anyway). I check the tightness of the props two times before flying. I make sure the battery is fully seated and using the app check the condition of each cell before and during each flight.

    I have tried Auto Takeoff but prefer doing take offs manually. I hover a few feet off the ground for 30-45 seconds and check all the controls as well as make sure the aircraft isn't doing anything weird. I do not use full stick to climb and have ended my flights with 50% battery remaining (I will do this for the first ten or so charging cycles).

    I tested Return to Home and it works great. I have it at about 150' (well above any obstacles where I am flying). During RTH I played around with using the sticks (practicing avoiding obstacles during RTH and just before it landed I took over control by shutting off RTH). I have practiced orienting the aircraft in the event I cannot see which way it is pointing. I have manually landed each flight because it's fun. I'm sure I will hand catch it at times depending on the landing zone but where I've flown it is flat and grassy so no issues.

    I have only flown in Beginner Mode the first flight and shut it off after that. I also removed the prop guards after the first flight. I didn't know what to expect so I was being very careful but the P3P is so easy to fly compared to the X5C. It almost flies on it's own (well, it does actually). I spent one flight in ATTI mode and discovered it's fun and easy to fly this way. I liked having control and even allowing it to drift with the breeze was fun knowing I could stop the drift anytime I wanted to.

    I have attached my FAA operator number (have to be legal) and a sticker stating "Reward" and my phone number to the aircraft (and batteries in case the sticker on the aircraft is ripped off for some reason). I also numbered my batteries so I can use them equally.

    On this site I have found some experts with outstanding advice that I have followed. I have also found some "experts" with advice that is completely wrong. I take everything with a grain of salt and decided if it is good or bad advice.

    While it very well may happen, I have not had a "flyaway" or had it "drop from the sky" and I feel I've done everything possible to minimize the chances of these things occurring by doing my homework, following good advice, paying attention to the small details and flying responsibly.

    Last night my wife jokingly suggested I find a way to combine all my hobbies (riding my Harley, target shooting and knife making). Hummmm.... I'll have to think about that!

    Thank you for helping me get started in this amazing hobby! My last comment and my first piece of advice to those on the fence about investing in a Phantom 3 is if you can fly a Syma X5C (and you should fly something similar before you send over a thousand dollars into the sky), you can easily fly one of these things. I will continue to fly the X5C because I can do silly things at high speed without the worry of losing too much money should I crash, plus it's great practice!

  2. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 9, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Amory Mississippi
    Sounds like ya got it figured out pretty good Chris .
    Welcome to the forum :)