Satellite

“you want 6 satellites before taking off, if you drop below that during flight your phantom will be in atti mode and a gust of wind could blow it away”.  If you choose to fly in this situation, you need to practice in atti mode.

Yeah, I read it just like i’m sure all the other pilots read.   And yes, I’ve been relatively cavalier with the P2 because it just handles so well.

Here’s what happened.  I really wanted to get some nice footage of the beach restoration at Seahurst, for my short video about our OpenROV build with the Avid students.   Of note, this is also where I learned about the “within 5 miles of a major airport light pattern as well” so it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

The day was overcast, I was alright with that because prior flight, although it had been great, the sunshine from props banding had reared its ugly head.  Waited during take off, noted that the satellites kept phasing in and out but desire to ‘get the shot’ outweighed common sense.

Flying down the beach was nice,  clouds took care of the banding issue (I did get a couple of those little go-pro sun-brella-brims but haven’t installed, will report back)   I was mostly happy till it was time to bring it home.   About halfway through the satellites dropped down to three and predictably started noting the standard ‘drift’ (when in atti it doesn’t hold position so you have to manually fly into the wind to hold position, although it holds height)  I was just bringing it down for a landing when a huge gust of wind kicked up along the little ravine and sent it skewing rather rapidly down the walking path I’d been flying from at approximately people height.   Of course i’d just had some look-i-loos watching.   I looked up, trees, not good  sideways water on one side,  hillside and trees and potentially side of building, not good.   So I opted to slow it to the best of my novice-atti-flyer ability and roll with the hard landing.  bonk-a-bonk.

It always looks worse than it is, and the jolt knocked the battery out and two of the retaining washers things from the vibration dampening pad, and only one prop got a little ding (the rascal that flipped it on touch down).   So now i get to wait for a new set of vibration dampening pins, courtesy of Adorama.

Lesson learned.

a) Just don’t fly if conditions are not right.  Wait for satellites.

b) Go practice practice practice atti mode.   And practice some more.

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