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Newbie questions on legalities, wind, etc.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by duijver, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. duijver

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    Hi Guys,

    I have been off, and on, into the RC hobby for a couple of years now, but in fairness most of my time has been spent researching/learning than actually flying. I suspect that I have less than 10 hours of real flight time between my Blade e-flite CX2 and the smaller syma S107. I won't go too much in detail, but I wanted set the stage that I am a newbie with some experience. I live in the east coast, USA.

    My question(s):

    1. Where I live the wind is almost always 5-20 MPH. It really varies, but >7-10 MPH gusts are very common. This made flying the Blade CX2 almost impossible outside and I see that the GPS will help stablize things, but am I better of sticking with indoor use? Something like the Hubsan X4 V2 H107L 2.4G 4CH RC Quadcopter RTF vs. the Phantom?

    2. I live approximately 1 mile from a pretty big naval station and will flying this thing, even at line of sight, in my yard, will this pose a problem? If I do keep the order, should I reach out to the base or wait for the MP's to close in and question me? I am guessing that I will want to fly it on the beach once I gain enough experience to use it safely.

    3. I see that there is a restriction on flying these 3 miles from an airport, but do Helipads also count in this restriction? I am less than 1 mile from two Helipads.

    4. The only place that you are legally allowed to fly these are on your own property and on state land (parks, beaches, etc)? The question is really to understand the legal ramifications of learning to fly in a really large parking lot with no pedestrians/cars. I had no problem doing this with my Blade CX2, but I suspect that this would draw more attention.

    5. Given #4 are the rules different without a camera? I suspect that adding a camera tends to increase the hostility of flying around and if you are just flying around then you may not experience as much hostility?

    I appreciate any guidance - thank you!
     
  2. Dave Pitman

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    The Phantom is definitely not an indoor quad. There are videos of folks flying them indoors, but that is not too smart. So, you can't really use the comparison to indoor friendly models.

    The Phantom will be able to handle some wind. It will drift more in wind than without, but the FC (Naza flight controller) will try to keep the model stable. If it has a good sat lock, it will do pretty well, even in light wind.

    As far a the legal stuff, I would stay away from helipads, and congested areas, and don't fly over the base. If you fly with common sense and courtesy you should be fine. The irresponsible guys you see going for "altitude records" with their quads in other than closed air space are the ones that are going to get everyone in trouble. Having a camera on board makes no legal difference.

    I can't speak for state law. For example, I have seen headlines about Virginia being very restrictive, but since I live a long way from there, I have not paid much attention.
     
  3. duijver

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    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for the response. I did not mean to imply that I would use it indoors as I read that it is dangerous even with the prop guards. I was more inquring if based on my scenario if it was more realistic to drop the Phantom and buy something smaller that could still be fun indoors while used outdoors as well. I was thinking about the Blade SAFE units, but I decided to just go with the Phantom and I picked up a few items from the dslrpros.com BF deals (batteries, prop balancer, CF blades, etc.

    The biggest challenge I had, with the Blade CX2 (coaxial heli) was that the blades chipped and broke so easily. Yet, the cheaper units seemed to hardy. My hope, is that the Phantom is somewhere between the CX2 and the S107's usability. It seems like the unit is pretty solid and I will just need to wait and see.

    I have no interest in flying over helipads, like that guy in the video's posted here, or even reaching new max altitude. Heck, at this point, hearing all of the fly aways I am concerned about going over 10-20 feet. I do not own a goPro, so my interest is only to have fun.. but I will attempt to attach my Lumix DMC-TS5 to grab some video/photos, but it is heavy at 214g.

    Thank you again!
     
  4. Dave Pitman

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    duijver,

    Get a good understanding of the calibrations, the "compass dance", and what the led's are telling you. All of this is documented in the Phantom and Naza M manuals available on the dji website. Particularly understand when the Phantom sets it's "home point" during the start up. When it is confirmed, lift off and note how stable the model is when it is in GPS mode. You will get a feel for when it is typical. If during this step, you ever feel that it seems to be acting different, and cannot be accounted for by wind, then consider setting her down and re-start. I have done this, and the subsequent flight is typically solid.

    I think you will have fun.
     
  5. race3

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    Max wind (according to DJI) is 17.5mph.
     
  6. Ksc

    Ksc

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    I have all the blade helis in the CX and SR series. I am extremely familiar with how easy it is to break those props. I've dropped them on my tile floor and had them crack. The Blade props suck but the reason they are so easy to break is because its better for a prop to break then a shaft or other part of the helicopter. I've never had a broken phantom prop. I've also put it through some serious abuse. Its slammed into concrete walls at high speed. Ripped through trees. Got caught in a cast net (a net used to catch fish right the shore). Even after all that, never had a problem. I've flown it in my house quite often. I have low 8 foot ceilings and small rooms. Its a super pain to fly it inside because the prop wash sends dust and papers everywhere. I prefer to fly it in hotel rooms because I normally stay at the homewood suites and most of their rooms have 14 foot ceilings. Either way, the phantom is a lot tougher than a Blade hell. True fact, Blade makes more money off parts than off their helicopters. They could still survive as a company if they gave the helicopters away for free because people would be back the next day for props and other parts. The worst accident I had was when a prop came off at 50 feet up and it came straight down like a rock. The body cracked and the prop guard snapped off but other than that, it was still flyable. The prop issue was user error, I didn't tighten the nut all the way and it just came off.

    I'm in Florida by the beach so I'm familiar with winds and gusts. I've taken out in heavy winds and its done really well. Battery life sucks because it spends much of its time fighting the wind but it does a great job. It doesn't hold its position EXACT but it stays within about 3 feet when the gusts come through. At the prices the phantom is selling for now, you can't go wrong.

    As for the base and that issue, I'd keep my distance. If you stay under a 100 feet (altitude) and close to home, you shouldn't have an issue. I actually have more fun flying under 50 feet and using trees as obstacles.

    DJI is not the easiest company to get ahold of but if you can reach them and you do have a fly away, they will make it right. Another nice thing about flying low like I do, if it decides to fly away, it will end up in a tree or hit someones house pretty quickly. Makes finding it easy.
     
  7. duijver

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    I just need to finish up watching the videos and reading the online tutorials.. and then maybe hit them up again! I was lucky to stumble across this group as it seems like a really nice crowd.

    Thank you again for all of the responses and advice - I appreciate it!

    Ksc,

    I really appreciate the write-up. I am really excited to receive my Phantom as it seems like exactly what I have been wanting/needing to get back into the hobby. I can definitely understand the need for the blades to crack to save the more expensive pieces; however, I never understood why a E-flight could not make / modify the beginner/entry level heli props to fold like the cheaper units. As you mentioned, they would probably loose a lot of money in parts if they did that.

    I live in a pretty highly saturated interference area: WiFI and cellular (3G/4G/LTE/etc). So, am going to try keeping it <15-30 feet for at least the first 10 hours. My hope is that it will also insure that I have most of the controls down pat and as you said if it does loose its' mind then hopefully it will hit a local tree/house. Then again, if it goes 60 feet up and flys away all bets are off.

    Thanks again!