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Trip through Utah, Arizona and Colorado

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by RaptorMan, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. RaptorMan

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    I just completed the second day of my trip and have flown 8 batteries in 3 location totaling 1.5 hours. Video looks OK, but I won't really know until I can load them onto my desktop with PP.

    And, as I was flying my second and last battery at the second location today I had my first OH SH!T moment. I was translating downward while viewing an abandoned building about 900 feet away from me and did not notice a tree -- I caught a glimpse of it in the life feed video and quickly climbed about 20 feet and noticed it was wanting to come back down so I knew something was wrong. I was able to fly back and land without incident and when I powered off I discovered that 1.25 inches of the tip of one blade of the back left prop was missing. Color me embarrassed AND lucky...

    I expect to stay in the same location a couple days as I have a couple locations and one of them I plan to do a morning and an evening. This location is in northern Arizona at the Diablo Canyon Railroad Bridge near Winslow Arizona. The location where I had my incident was the abandoned "Two Guns" theme park very near the Diablo Canyon Bridge.

    After I leave here in a couple days I'm heading toward Durango Colorado to shoot the steam train as it winds along the Animas river.

    I have an additional 5 locations between there and Moab I plan to hit in the next 5-6 days.

    Of course, this all depends on if the bird flies as it should with new props -- I brought one complete set of spare props so I should be good.

    My first flight yesterday was about 260 miles south of my home and when I checked the sensors the MOD value for the compass was right at 1400 -- that's borderline so I re-calibrated and the new value was just over 1500. Both locations today were at 1500 +/- 25 and these locations were about 130 miles and 200 miles from yesterdays location.


    Brian
     
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  2. RaptorMan

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    I just completed reviewing my video from today and it looks good. It is very flat but that's what PP is for. I figured out what I did when I hit the tree -- it wasn't the downward translation that got me it was the move to the left. I'm surprised I didn't ball it up completely and thankful I didn't.

    I found some more interesting things at the 'Two Guns' location and will make a return trip there to follow up. I will walk the site as well to get a better handle on the obstacles that could bite me.

    Mid afternoon today, while I was waiting for the Sun to go down a bit, I stopped at the Grand Canyon. I've been to the GC about 8 times before but never with my Sigma 150-600 Sport lens so I fired off a couple hundred shots doing shots I'd never been able to do before. I was able to follow a mule train to Indian Gardens and get some nice shots from 1.5 miles away.


    Brian
     
  3. Dr. Ifly Drones

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    Looking forward to seeing some video of your trip. I've been wanting to do the same for several weeks now but, just can't get away.
     
  4. RaptorMan

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    OK, so I flew 8 batteries today and there appears to be no problems form yesterday's incident. The only problem I had today was on my first flight of the second location today and shortly after takeoff the system reported an error with the compass and I flew back and landed -- all within 2 minutes. Prior to flight the MOD value for the compass was about 1445 and after landing I re-calibrated the compass, checked the MOD value which was just of over 1500, and had no further incidents. So, I'm beginning to question the wisdom of the 1400-1600 OK to fly guidance.

    As I said I flew 8 batteries today covering the Canyon DIablo Railroad Bridge and another shot at the Two Guns site that was cut short last night after the tree collision. The road to the Canyon DIablo Bridge is just over 4 miles of some of the nastiest dirt/rock roads I've ever driven on -- if I'd known the road was this bad I would not have gone there. It took just about 30 minutes to drive the 4 miles.

    The second location today was an evening shoot at Two Guns and I flew 4 batteries beginning about 90 minutes before sunset. The last battery I took off just as the Sun touched the horizon and within 4 minutes the Sun was below the horizon and I had some nice sky.

    My workflow upon arrival back at the hotel, which happens about 7:40PM AZ time (8:40PM MST with daylight savings), the first thing I do is put four batteries in the charger then go off to dinner. The batteries indicate full charge in about 100 minutes but I leave them in the charge for another 20 minutes or so then switch them out for the other four batteries. This work out to four hours of charging each night so I'm not in bed until after midnight. I may have to think again about getting an inverter generator for such situations.

    Tomorrow I'm off to Durango for a couple days with the goal of shooting the steam train as it winds along the canyon that the Animas river runs through..


    Brian
     
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  5. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Nope - no issues whatsoever with that guidance. :p
    What specifically was the problem? Did the aircraft exhibit any strange flight behaviour or was it JUST the message regarding the compass that concerned you?
    You probably flew over a region or rocks that had a particularly high ferrous content. I have no idea of the geology where you were. This caused the error message due to the flux acting on the magnetometer.
    Although, you calibrated and flew then without issue you would not have flown over EXACTLY the same spot again and thus would not have encountered the error the second time round.
    Believe me, if my advice was wrong on this there would be an awful lot of people screaming at me and wanting my blood by now. I have even had this 'conversation' with DJI and off the record they have agreed - but corporately they have to toe the disclaimer line.
     
  6. RaptorMan

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    There was a message on the GO app about the compass error and that it had switched from P-GPS to ATI mode -- this was a verbal warning. The bird was not flying too well and the video showed some pretty screwed up horizon. All four flights this evening took off from the exact same spot and I pretty much flew the first leg the same way at the same height. More specifically, the warning message in the status bar with ATI mode lasted about 45 seconds then P-GPS seemed to come back but only for about 15 seconds then it went back into ATI mode with the compass error.

    When I get a chance I'll download the flight data and see what it says.


    Brian
     
  7. RaptorMan

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    Well, I arrived in Durngo about 6PM this evening and had a heartbreaking discovery about the location I'd planned to fly at tomorrow -- see this thread for details...

    Heartbroken...


    Brian
     
  8. RaptorMan

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    I left Durango this morning and was not able to fly the mission I'd planned and no other opportunities presented itself. So I spent the time shooting video with my hand held video camera (Panasonic GH-2) and still images with my Nikon D800E's and D7200. So the trip wasn't a total bust.

    Today I arrived at Mexican Hat in southern Utah and things were not looking good for flying as the winds were whipping into the 40's and 50's mph. I talk to some motorcyclist staying at the same hotel and they had some interesting stories about the wind. Anyway, as evening fell upon us the wind died down a bit and I decided to do a little flying -- I had not done so since Wednesday.

    I arrived at the Mexican Hat formation about 6:30PM and instead of stopping near the road as most tourist do to photograph the iconic formation I drove the dirt road a couple mile and got behind it and along side the San Juan river. I flew two batteries mostly focusing on the other interesting formations in the area the the river itself and then moved closer to the formation and flew one battery around it. In fact, even this battery was spent mostly away from the formation and the total time I was withing 250m of it was not more than a couple minutes. As a photographer I don't like when others hog a scene so I wasn't inclinded to do that to others -- take my video and move on. The RAW files look pretty good and I can't wait to see what a little PP can do to widen the video from the flat raw files.

    Finally, I returned back near the hotel and flew one last battery from across the San Juan river. I followed the river canyon a bit but focused mostly on the hotel set at the base of a cliff and the bridge crossing the river. When I landed it was about 7:50PM or about 15 minutes before sunset.

    Tomorrow I hope to shoot the Moki Dugway road that climbs, via many switchbacks, 1200 feet from the valley below. I have planned out the route so that as I climb along the road I will never be more than about 250 feet above the ground below me. I will need to make several runs at this as I will need to fly, then climb partway and fly again, then climb some more to do the final flight -- should take 4 batteries.


    Brian
     
  9. RaptorMan

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    OK, haven't posted in a couple days as the internet in Mexican Hat is spotty to say the least...

    I spent most of yesterday surveying the two locations I planed to fly but did manage to sneak in 3 flights in "Valley of the Gods" near sunset. I then flew 3 batteries this morning at the Moki Dugway. I altered my original plans after the survey yesterday but managed to complete the flights without exceeding the altitude limits. It was, however, very windy and I flew early this morning because I knew it was going to be windy.

    The steep cliffs produced some pretty strong updrafts and there was one spot I was in that I almost didn't need the props to stay aloft. You had to use a good bit of down stick for it to come down but by flying laterally a hundred feet or so I was out of the main part of the updraft. Anyway, I completed the flights then headed on to Moab.

    As I neared Moad the skies got dark and the winds were kicking -- fortunately for gas mileage it was mostly at my back. I had some lunch in Moab and was about to book a room for a couple night but I figured I'd better check the weather for the next couple days just in case. Good call as the weather looked to be windy and rainy for a couple days and since I have no plans to sit in a hotel doing squat for a couple days I decided to end the trip and come home.

    I arrived home just after 5PM and managed to avoid most of the rush hour traffic by being reverse flow. However, the trip over the passes between Price and Provo were a bit of a challenge as we had snow coming down pretty hard and accumulating making the posted 65mph speed limit something of a joke as most people were down to 50mph or less. The same front that had curtailed my plans in Moab put a nice dusting on the mountains.

    I'm downloading today's flights and will grab a bite to eat but I want to finish up this thread with some observations. I have right at 4.5 hours of video from my Inspire 1 and it will take some time critically review and edit. I hope to post some things in the next couple weeks.


    Brian
     
  10. RaptorMan

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    I reviewed today's 3 flights and the first flight I made the mistake of using an ND4 (2-stop) neutral density filter and I had to up the f/# to about 11 to keep the exposure under control and even then it was more than I'd want. The second flight went fine but the third flight had the focus go out on me by enough that it ruined the flight and it's a shame as there were some great angles and perspectives.

    So, with over 4.5 hours of drone video to sort through and edit I should have plenty to keep me busy for quite a while.

    I have 43 flights uploaded to HealthyDrones and unless I buy a package I'm about at the end of that rope at 50.


    Brian
     
  11. slim.slamma

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    sweet:)
     
  12. RaptorMan

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    I have two videos up in the "Photos & Video" section from the trip. I expect at least three more from the trip over the next few weeks.


    Brian
     
  13. Steve Reid

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    Did you go to video the Mesa Verde National Park? Beautiful place.
     
  14. RaptorMan

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    National Parks are off limits to drones, but I have been to Mesa Verde numerous times to shoot stills.

    Actually, my stop in Colorado, Durango to be exact, didn't work out as I'd hoped. I had planned to shoot the Durango to Silverston Steam train along the gorge of the Animas river and I'd checked the heights and that there was no prohibitions to flying there, but when I did a reconnaissance run the day before I discovered the only access point, which I thought was open, is actually part of a gated community so I could not fly where I planned.


    Brian
     
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