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Requesting wind advice

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Mo of Pocatello, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. Mo of Pocatello

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    I need some advice on flying in windy conditions, because where I live is a mountain channel with tricky gusts. I know there are lots of threads on flying the P3 in the wind, but after having crashed one from 100' altitude in high winds, I am now pretty scared of the wind!

    Last Christmas Eve (2015), it was a windy day. I didn't have my anemometer with me, but my guess would be that the wind speed was in the 20's (mph). My wife cautioned me not to fly, but I told her people posted on the web that they can fly a Phantom at pretty high wind speeds. So I flew anyway. Right at take-off, the Phantom was carried backwards by the wind, even though it was in P mode. I then pushed the right stick forwards to stabilize the Phantom, and after that the GPS seemed to do its job. So I just went forwards and upwards as usual without thinking much about the wind. At about 100' up and about 300'-400' ahead of me, the Phantom suddenly fell from the sky faster than I could do anything about it! (Maybe there was nothing I could have done at that point anyway.) There was snow on the ground, and the gimbal and a rotor or two broke, and the body had a crack in it. If it hadn't been for the Square Trade drops-and-spills warranty I would have tried to fix it. But instead I got a check for the amount of the purchase.

    I used that check to buy another P3A, this time more than $200 cheaper. However, Square Trade would no longer sell a warranty for Phantoms! Too many crashes, I guess.

    Today, I was ready to fly in the evening, and there was a breeze that seemed tricky, but the anemometer never read more than 10 MPH. However, as soon as I armed the Phantom 3, a gust came along and knocked the Phantom over, breaking a rotor and scratching up another one. I replaced the broken rotor, but decided to pack up instead of fly.

    So here's my question: had I decide to go ahead and fly instead of packing up, would I have been all right? Maybe the Phantom was easy to get knocked over by the wind because it had just started up??? However, my first P3A fell from the sky after having flown for a few hundred feet, and so I was afraid the new P3A might also fall from the sky even if I could get it initially under control.

    What are your thoughts on this issue? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. peterepeat69

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    Well from all the videos I've watched never fly your phantom 3 in any kind of wind as it will carry it into your next town, the motors are not powerful enough to fight it, no wind is the answer.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  3. Waylander

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    Hi Mo
    DJI and one or two other forums suggest that a P3P can be flown in wind conditions, of maybe around 18-20 mph, I have flown in similar conditions. But there will never be a definitive maximum wind speed, because where would you measure it, ground level, 100' feet up, 200 yards from your home point....?

    In mountainous areas or areas where there are significant undulations in the local area ground conditions can cause vortices, or wind shear, here is a good description of the condition.

    Wind shear - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Keep Flying
    Waylander
     
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  4. Mark The Droner

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    The RTH speed is what? Around 17 mph? Top speed is around 25 mph? Maybe 30 mph? What is the wind direction? What about gusts? Are there other problems?

    Take it all into consideration and come up with a wind speed your comfortable with. For example, my general number is 15, but I might fly in a little stronger wind if I'm flying into the wind. And I might want a lighter wind if it's at my back.
     
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  5. 4wd

    4wd

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    Location:
    North York Moors
    We have plenty of hills locally and frequently notice that one place can seem sheltered while half a mile away is blowing a gale.
    In reality there is a moderate wind blowing over the area, but topography causes unpredictable surging and eddies.
    If you took off from a quiet spot you could very easily be caught out by the stronger winds aloft or even a few hundred feet to one side.
    More serious mountains are going to be 10x worse in some conditions.

    Generally speaking if not sure it just isn't worth the risk unless flying very close at hand.
    If the speed where you start is gusting above about 15mph it's probably far too strong somewhere close by including 200 feet up.
     
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  6. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    As the specs say and testing shows, RTH speed is 10 m/s (22 mph) and top speed is 16 m/s (36 mph)
     
  7. spindrift

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    I typically fly in winds of 30kph unless they are gusting. Certainly with height winds will increase as much as 40% where there are no obstructions. In wind I will limit my height and distance to allow for slower return and increases in battery consumption. You have to experiment to find your comfort level.
     
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  8. happydays

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    That's not exactly correct.

    I have flown in high winds - it's interesting to see the phantom struggling against the wind and then absolutely flying back with the wind behind it! Fly into the wind on the outward leg - so position yourself downwind of the target photo / film area.

    If you absolutely have to fly - for example to capture a one-off event, then what I do is to hand launch. It can be tricky doing it solo, but I have done it regularly. I fly a fair bit in the mountains and as you're up high, it's always windy. Don't forget that the wind 200' is always much more than on the ground. If you're using something like UAV forecast, you can dial in the height that you're going to be flying at to see how windy it will be up above.

    To hand launch if you have someone with you, get them to hold the phantom by the skids as high above their head as they can, then take off as normal and get them to release when they feel the phantom pulling away. To do that solo, you'll need a neck strap to hold the controller. Let the controller dangle around your neck, then hold the phantom above your head as high up as you can - obviously downwind. Do a csc with one hand (it can be done!) to get the props spinning, then throttle up and release.

    You will have to hand catch as well.
     
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  9. noki49

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    I doubt it was just the wind that caused your phantom to fall out of the sky. Something else must have happened like an accidental csc or the battery shutdown or became disconnected.
     
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  10. peterepeat69

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    Interesting, well in the videos I've watched on the p3A I've seen horrendous situations where the wind carried the craft right over the town RTH wasn't strong enough to take them back, other videos I've seen them carried right off shore away with the wind, now unless you can correctly work out what the wind is doing from 1 km away, my golden rule is look for no wind, I guess this comes with experience, as I still don't even own a phantom yet I guess I'm learning from other people's mistakes before I do buy one next month. Thanks for your feed back, good to see there are people with experience and confidence in any case


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  11. happydays

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    RTH doesn't operate the phantom at full power. Take a look at the wind in this clip - especially at the LHS of the reservoir wall to see how strong it was that day. But when flying, err on the side of caution!

     
  12. peterepeat69

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    Nice vid, interesting, so I guess if your on RTH and it ain't working you switch to ATTI and full throttle? what is UAV forecast ? Is it an application for iPhone etc?


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  13. happydays

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    I have never used RTH in the field - apart from making sure that it worked in testing!

    www.uavforecast.com is a site which you can use to determine the weather for your area to decide if it's good to fly. They also have an app. It's useful, especially for rain forecasts and wind speeds.
     
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  14. peterepeat69

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    Awesome thanks for your advice, really look forward to piloting soon, done tonnes of research ready to fly now I guess cheers


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  15. Mo of Pocatello

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    REPLY BY MO: Thanks so much for everybody's responses. However, this one is particularly interesting. I wonder if the hand launching can often be avoided by using larger landing gears. Does anyone sell such things? I thought I've seen a pair online somewhere.
     
  16. Mo of Pocatello

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    REPLY BY MO: Thanks, but this is often not practical.
     
  17. happydays

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    You could get wider apart or larger legs, but that would mean that you might not be able to fit the phantom in your case! Hand launching is easy. Try it once.
     
  18. Mo of Pocatello

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    REPLY BY MO: This is very interesting! What's csc? As for a battery shutdown, I can't say because the battery was ejected by the crash. By the way the rotors broke, I believe they were spinning upon impact with the snow. Maybe a transient battery shutdown? Seems more likely that the control system became unstable while trying to compensate for the gusts.
     
  19. Mo of Pocatello

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    REPLY BY MO: Thanks a lot for telling us all about the uavforecast site! Very useful and didn't know it existed!
     
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  20. Waylander

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    Hi Mo

    Just saw from your post that the first crash resulted in an impact into snow, therefore one could assume it was very cold, LiPo batteries do not perform well in cold weather (checkout the forum and the internet for more info ) but I'm thinking perhaps with the batteries being cold (did you protect them from cold in anyway ) and perhaps with the current drawn fighting against the wind, one of the cells went below the critical voltage level, which may have caused the battery to shut down. Was this flight before DJI brought out the firmware mod to protect against this kind of battery failure,
    Just a thought....
    Waylander