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Professional P3 Pro flying out at sea filming whales

Discussion in 'Phantom 3 Help' started by RobbiNewman Light&Vision, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. RobbiNewman Light&Vision

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    We have a marine studies unit in our Living Ocean Organisation and I have permits to fly 'drones' to study them. This is in Sydney Australia to the north.

    Have had a lot of successful flights but its very tricky taking off and landing...and indeed flying out at sea.
    Issues include the rocking of the boat affects the motors re getting a smooth launch and as for landing...we catch manually using the landing gear during a delicate hover return.

    The other issue is the boat is moving all the time, either tracking the whales or simply being moved around by wind and currents.

    The other day I launched in spot A and then we moved further away to spot B following the whales. I made 2 mistakes. I didn't change the default limit distance of 500m and I also let the software set home point at that take off point.

    Obviously we drifted past the 500m limit and the software (GPS mode) started to warn etc. When I tried to bring it home manually it was still referencing to home point. Answer was I let it hover (didn't want to trigger return to home) and we motored back to where it was and I manually took over.

    Since then I realise I should have used dynamic home point but my tablet is non GPS.

    What would anyone confirm or suggest is the best system or set up to operate out at sea from a moving craft with a moving target. Obviously total manual control seems the answer but I need GPS to film the beasts..when we find them.

    Thats another point or tip....if you see whales nearby go high to spot them...and then come down onto them...if you wander around at low altitude the endless water on your screen is no help.

    Robbi
     
  2. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    G'day Robbi ... probably the easiest solution would be to use a GPS enabled tablet and when you want to bring the Phantom back to you, reset home to the current location of the controller.
    Are you hand launching?
    That's pretty with an assistant holding the Phantom above their head and works well from a boat
    I would switch off the max distance limit as you've seen the complication that creates.
    And if you are doing a lot of flying out on the water, set the loss of signal behaviour to hover.
     
  3. RobbiNewman Light&Vision

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    Perfect answer..thanks...just have to buy a GPS enabled tablet...I could have a while ago but thought..why bother...now I see why I should have
    Have tried hand launch but have had a few wonkey releases so I just launch from the bridge and flatten the take off in between the rock and rolls of the boat.
    Thanks...we have roughish water here as well so its complex.
     
  4. With The Birds

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    Your so lucky to have this opportunity with the permit. Please share some footage here.

    I have had the opportunity to film dolphins and whales however the $110000 max fine for flying within 300m dampened my enthusiasm. Reminds me check the rules. I had a greenie screaming like a banchee at me on the first occasion i was flying towards a dolphin pod close in to the beach. They were surfing. Awesome sight. Such magnificent animals.
     
  5. RobbiNewman Light&Vision

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    Thats a strange attitude towards recording the wonders of these animals, tho not surprising when you consider there is an inate hostility to 'drones'..yet when wonderful footage is shown on Attenborough doccos everyone marvels without considering how it was obtained. In my experience never once has any of the animals we have 'shot' been bothered. We have 2 permits. One for federal and one for State waters. The state waters has very stringent guidelines whereas the federal is totally open ..sort of. Whats amusing is the controls we have to comply with in State waters are totally ignored by whale watching tours...no one cares..but we are watched like hawks. 'Drones' have also been used to fly thru whale spume to sample DNA. I think the line between under 2kg drones like Phantoms and aircraft like helo's etc. will become more defined and open soon.
     
  6. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    I suspect that the laws are very slow to catch up and are the same old rules that have been around for 30 years and were written for real planes and helicopters.
    There's a massive difference between a Cessna or helicopter and a Phantom.
    I can't imagine that a seagull sized Phantom would upset a humpback whale or be any risk to it and I know that they have no impact upon dolphin behaviour.
    Phantoms are an ideal low-impact method of observing whales and dolphins.
    [​IMG]
     
    Yiannis.B likes this.
  7. RobbiNewman Light&Vision

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    you are totally right on there...:)
    We went out yesterday but it was too overcast to launch and too windy out to sea..black whales on black water could be interesting but not ideal...and the wind shear around the boat is tricky.
    Interesting issue tracking them here as well because they are basically on the move to Queensland and only stop to to 'fool around' very occasionally
    What that means then is you have to be in the air for the 5 or 6 times they surface to breath and then they dive for 5 to 6 minutes and you need to predict where they will surface.
    Our software predicts that fairly well but its still difficult.
    The ideal situation is where they migrate to and they just loiter in clear water...Baja and Queensland and those sort of locations...easy..I am jealous
    Talking with DJI to get a 4..will make just that much difference..we are a not for profit so not rich either :)