UAV Training Guide and Videos


UAV Training Tips:

The drones are coming. If you don’t already know someone who owns one, you soon will. Drones are an extremely accessible technology that can be as practical as they are fun.

But, with few exceptions, they are more tool than toy. As such, they should be treated with respect and pilots should exercise caution when flying. Crashing a drone is much easier than flying one.

Here is what the experts say:

Have an intimate knowledge of your system.

“One of the most important things for a beginning droner to learn is the value of understanding the physical limitations of your gear.Of all the things that threaten a successful flight and constrain drone work, the biggest one at the moment is battery life. It’s limited. It can change depending on how it’s charged, how the drone is used and in what conditions it’s flown. Not building in a safety cushion on your projected flight time will end up with disappointing results, damaged craft, and depleted funds!

Learn your battery’s current capabilities and factor in a 20% cushion for your own good.”

Along with understanding the physical capabilities and limitations of your drone, it is also crucial to learn its technological capabilities and limitations, especially when you are trying to capture images or record data.

“Let the UAV do what it does best. One things I have seen first hand is that a lot of UAV users are afraid of the automated intelligence and so they want to be hands on. The more human input there is in the process the less accurate the data is going to be.”

“It is most important to make sure your UAV marks its home point (with GPS) before flying far away.  This will save a lot of people money and frustration.”

Respect your Neighbour:

“I wish I had been completely aware of every single regulation out there and how exactly it could affect me, the public, full-sized aircraft flying in the area, and how it all related to local laws. I had an idea of all of the regulations, but have to admit I was a little bit fuzzy on some of them. It is essential to know these things as it helps you to operate in a safe manner which is the single most important thing.Also, be aware of all the airports in your operation area – especially the small ones. We must operate defensively in the sky and respect those who came before us who are now forced to share (in most cases, whether they like it or not) it with very tiny aircraft that can be difficult to see from the cockpit.”

Location, location, location.

“I always recommend people go into a very large field…you want to minimize the chances of hitting something. Most people are so excited they just want to go fly it right away. Don’t cut corners!” – Eric Cheng, Director of Aerial Imaging at DJI.

“Take it slow and make sure your surroundings are tailored to be crash-proof. The more vast and open the field you practice in the better. Lots of trees and buildings? Not so good.

Oh, and don’t fly anywhere remotely close to water. Not near a lake, not near the ocean and DEFINITELY not your backyard pool.”

“Don’t do your first flight in your backyard. That’s what everyone told me and, if I had listened, I would be flying right now instead of waiting for a back ordered piece to fix my Phantom.”

FLIGHT TEST DJI INSPIRE 1:

 

  • We have an excellent Complete Guide to your Phantom 2 Vision Plus – In here you will find everything that is not explained in the DJI manual and much, much more. (Flying modes, switches, maintenance, preparation, software) Please send us a email or use the contact box with the words ” Complete Guide ” in the subject line.
  • To receive the DJI Phantom Training Guide “Earning your stripes”, please send us a email or use the contact box with the words ” Earning your stripes” in the subject line.

The Challenge.  Learning to fly is, in all respects, the most important initial task for the aspiring aerial videographer.  Some novices develop flying skills rather quickly, while others struggle.  Basically, multi copters are controlled by a wireless transmitter equipped with two toggle/joysticks to move it forward and back (elevator), left and right (aileron), up and down (throttle), and give it speed.  A “rudder” control rotates the device.

IMU, Compass, barometer, and GPS explained:

I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what the various sensors ‘do’ on the DJI Quads , which makes people say things like ‘I had a flyaway… my compass was off’…. This makes no sense to me, but here’s what I understand…

There are basically 4 sensors (not including the vision system) in the Inspire… IMU, Compass, barometer, and GPS.

The IMU keeps the bird level (which is why there is drift in Atti mode), and can also detect acceleration in various directions.

The compass is directional, which will keep the bird point the right direction, and flying in a straight line.

The GPS is positional, and is intended to keep the bird in the same spot, barring user input on the joystick.

The barometric sensor is designed to (along with the GPS) maintain a constant altitude (barring user input).

So, if you’re seeing the quadcopter spin slowly by itself, or not fly in a straight line… that’s a compass issue…

… but I don’t think a flyaway is going to be cause by compass problems, as it’s not a positional system. More likely, it’s either a faulty GPS reading (the bird is trying to get somewhere else) which can be solved by switching to atti mode, or it’s an IMU problem, which is worse, because if the quadcopter doesn’t know what level is, it can fly off at any speed and in any direction, and you can’t really fix this by switching to atti mode.

You can tell if the fly away was caused by GPS or IMU if you have video recording, because with a GPS problem, the camera will stay level, but with an IMU issue, the camera will tilt to whatever the IMU thinks ‘level is…

Complete Starter Guide for Aerial Filmmaking

22 Considerations for improving your quadcopter videos:

Tip 1: Which quadcopter? Tip 2: Which camera? Tip 3: The right camera settings Tip 4: Balance your props! Tip 5: Buy a gimbal Tip 6: Optimize your gain settings Tip 7: Buy a FPV-system Tip 8: How to transport your copter? Tip 9: Search locations, that are really worth filming Tip 10: Search for dynamic motives Tip 11: Use the “golden hour“ Tip 12: Use “special weather conditions“ Tip 13: Consider which angles you want to shoot – before take off Tip 14: Shoot different field sizes, moving directions and angles as much as possible Tip 15: Avoid sudden changes of directions Tip 16: When FPV, when not? Tip 17: Handling proTune Tip 18: Stabilizing and editing GoPro footage Tip 19: Start video editing with selecting the right soundtrack Tip 20: Use as many “hard cuts“ as possible Tip 21: Avoid a long lead text, avoid the boring! Tip 22: The best export settings for your video

For some interesting reading and answers to most of your questions, please visit:

1) Phantom Pilots        2) DJI Guys        3) DIY Drones

Definition of an UAV here : Wiki

Associations you might want to consider joining:

1) AUVSI        2) Drone Pilots     3) CUAASA      4) The South African UAV Association for small aircraft

Phantom Help:

Phantom Help is a site for help with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision & Phantom 2 Vision+. Find the latest fixes, how-tos, guides, accessories, and modifications.

Go to : Phantom Help

 

DJI Inspire 1:

Payload test and announcement new products for the Inspire 1

 

DJI Inspire 1 Tutorial “How To Fly” :

 

Presenting the Super Drone – DJI Inspire 1:

The Inspire 1 has all the best technology that DJI treasures, such as the first Transforming Design in the industry, the pixel-grade precision 3-Axis Gimbal, the new removable 4K Camera with No Fish-eye distortion and new upgraded Lightbridge system for HD Video Feeds and Data link, all these high-end technology packed together making the DJI Inspire 1 the most advanced drone ever.

DJI – Phantom 3 Tutorials-Updating The Firmware

Learn the basics of how to take your new Phantom 3 in the air and capture stunning aerial images like a pro.

 

Phantom 2 Vision+ :

 We head out to Treasure Island to get some flying lessons and then sit down to explain why we’re so excited about RC drone technology. The first part of this video was actually shot with the Phantom 2 Vision+ by Tested.com

 

Inspire 1:

Flying the DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter with Adam Savage:

 

DJI Phantom 2 :

This is the complete guide to making all the right purchases right up to your first flight.
The equipment you will need is as follows:
DJI Phantom 2 with Zenmuse H2-3D Gimbal (specific for the Phantom 2)
Lilliput FPV Monitor 664/W
iOSD mini (overlays flight info)
Video Transmitter (sends video from the Phantom to the FPV monitor)
Plug and play cable to send video from the phantom through the iOSD mini to the transmitter.
Carry Case
Monitor mount (to mount FPV monitor to the controller)

 

Compass Calibration:

The compass is very sensitive to electromagnetic interference, which can cause abnormal compass data leading to poor flight performance or even flight failure. Regular calibration is required for optimum performance.
When to Recalibrate:
– After any firmware/software update
– After a crash (minor or major)
– Flying in different location to last flight (far away)
– When drifting occurs in flight, i.e. Phantom does not fly in straight lines.
– When hovering, Phantom wants to fly in a circular pattern (Toilet bowl effect-TBE)
– When compass data is abnormal, the rear LED flight indicator will blink Red and Yellow (See “Led Status” section).
– Something magnetic (screw driver with magnetic tip, speaker, magnet …) got close to your compass/aircraft.
– Mechanical structure of the Phantom has changed, i.e. changed mounting position of the compass.
– If compass calibration is needed before flight, a prompt will appear on the DJI Vision app’s camera page.
(Personally, I wouldn’t rely solely on this function.)
Need to Know: You do not have to calibrate your compass before every flight (meaning: don’t become compass calibration crazy); this is not necessary and may actually increase your chance of having a problem. You don’t want to risk introducing any issues that weren’t there before by recalibrating too often. DJI recommend recalibrating only when moving far away from last flight point.
Do the Calibration in a WIDE open space. Not in your house, your garage, near your car…
– DO NOT carry ferro-magnetic materials with you during calibration such as keys or cellular phones.
– DO NOT calibrate in areas that could have high magnetic EMI interference such as areas that are close to power lines, cell phone towers, underground car parks, and steel reinforcements underground.
– DO NOT calibrate beside massive metal objects (cars, buildings, fences, buried pipes & cables, etc).

Note: Compass Calibration can now also be initiated from DJI Vision – Settings page instead of using the S1 Switch.

Need to Know: Sometimes the compass can get out of calibration to the point that even the assistant software cannot calibrate the compass and a manual intervention with a physical magnet is necessary to bring the compass back into range that the assistant software can deal with.

According to DJI one possible cause of a fly-away is a conflict between Compass & GPS data as a result of an improper compass calibration. It’s been theorized that the conflict generates an error which accumulates until the Autopilot attempts to reorient and/or reposition the aircraft towards the erroneous “correct direction” or “correct position” resulting in the now infamous spin-out or fly-away.
The Compass reads geomagnetic information and assists the GPS (Global Position System) to accurately calculate the position and height of the aircraft. The following discussion will describe in more detail the “intimate” relation between the Compass and the GPS module. This should convince you to make sure you calibrate your Compass and take good care of it by not flying in areas where the surrounding might affect its accuracy.

“The compass identifies the nose position along the vertical axis in reference to earth’s magnetic field and it is needed for the controller to hold position and to fly to waypoints in conjunction with the GPS data since the GPS data alone cannot identify the nose position. E.g. Multirotor with good compass calibration is on position hold in the air, Nose position is North, GPS data shows the unit moved to the South, controller will rev up the rear two rotors to correct the unit forward, unit moves forward back to its original position, controller happy. Lets say the compass is now out of calibration it and says the nose is pointing north but in fact it is pointing more towards the West, again the GPS data says that the unit moved out of position to the South, controller thinks that the nose is pointing North therefore revs the rear two props up, since the nose is actually pointing west the unit will now move to the west, controller will see the GPS data out of position to the west thus will fire up the left props to move to the east, but in fact will move to the North,… the story goes on and on causing the unit to circle around the point it is supposed to be at.”

Battery Tips:

LiPo batteries explained here.

Also, This video will show you what can happen when you get the bad battery cell warning on the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus.

 

DJI S900:

The DJI Spreading Wings S900 has a lightweight, highly portable frame that enables creators to take it anywhere and capture content like never before. Built with our most advanced technology, the S900 combines power and durability for on-the-go professionals who expect the most out of their equipment.

 

Phantom 2 Vision + Quick Start & Tips

 

 

DJI Phantom 2:

The Phantom 2 is unbelievably easy to fly. Combined with smooth, stabilised footage from the H3-2D gimbal, aerial cinematography and videography has never been easier. It’s light, rugged and perfect for travel.

 

 

DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus:

This is the Phantom 2 Vision – Your Flying Camera.

Experience a new horizon of possibilities laid before you as you rise above the clouds. Capture the world around you and share these moments like never before.

With a flight time of 25 minutes along with a camera that shoots full HD 1080p30/60i video and 14 megapixel stills, this is the ultimate ready-to-fly Photography/Videography multi-rotor. With the added benefit of FPV (First Person View) transmitted via a smart phone, you can frame your shot because you can see exactly what the camera is seeing. From the VISION App, you have full camera control. After transferring the content from the SD card, share to your favorite social media sites.

The Camera on DJI Phantom Vision VS GOPRO Hero 3 Black Edition

GoPro Setting: Resolution:1080 Angle:Medium 30FPS

 

 

DJI Phantom 2 Vision:

Preparing to Fly

Everything you need to know from what’s in the box to unpacking and assembly. The procedure is both straight forward and intuitive as you are shown how to connect the propellers, battery, smartphone holder and the Wi-Fi range extender with ease.

 

 

DJI Phantom 2 Vision vs. Vision+ (Plus)

Flying Side-by-Side – An Awesome Comparison

 

 

Tested: DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter

 

 

A Phantom is more than a flying camera, it’s inspiration that you can hold in your hands. It makes you want to go to extraordinary places and do incredible things, all while getting photos and videos that you once could only dream of.

 

 

A simple demonstration of the new H3-3D gimbal’s stability. We’re trying hard to throw it off balance which is why you’ll see some harsh spins and in-shot landing gear occasionally, but it handles everything we threw at it nicely

 

 

Fly your Phantom 2 Vision+ with the Epson Moverio BT-200 for a first-person-view experience unlike any other. Get sharp FPV flying while maintaining line of sight with your Phantom. Learn more about the Epson Moverio BT-200.

 

 

TESTED : PHANTOM 2 VISION PLUS – DJI ULTIMATE FLIGHT APP – DASHWARE :

Testing the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus using the DJI Ultimate Flight app to log the flight data and overlay to video with Dashware.
Edited video with Windows Movie Maker. CONTACT US for more information.

 

 NAZA Mode on DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus explained:

The Phantom 2 Vision is a fine machine. but the documentation can be sparse in places, and hard to track down. Consequently there is a feature of the machine which you may never have heard about, but which gives you so many more flying options; or you may have heard about it but can either not find out how to enable it, or are keeping away because DJI tells you it is for advanced fliers only. Nonsense; it’s called the NAZA mode and your flights will be more pleasurable and safer if you have it enabled.First I will tell you what it does; then if you like the sound of what it can do, I will tell you how to enable it.

By default your Phantom is set in Vision 2 mode. In this mode, the two shiny switches on top of the transmitter serve no purpose (apart from the right hand one which you frantically toggle as if attempting to bring it to orgasm in order to initiate the compass calibration mode). So when you fly, it doesn’t matter what position the switches are in.In NAZA mode, these 3 position switches offer a number of functions; with “normal” flight being achieved with both switched in the up position. And this is why DJI says that this mode is not for beginners; because apparently beginners are not capable of checking that the switches are up before flying. Assuming you have the intellect to ensure that the switches are in the upright position before flying, then NAZA mode may be for you.So, switches up and start to fly, and the Phantom will fly exactly the same in NAZA mode as it did in Vision 2 mode.

Now let’s play with the switches, starting with right hand side (S1). In the default top position you are flying in GPS mode, meaning that the Phantom will attempt to maintain the same position in space when you take your hands off the stick. Move the switch to the middle position and you are now flying in Attitude mode, or Atti for short (or A if you are really trying to abbreviate to the maximum [or max, or M]). In this mode, your Phantom will attempt to maintain height and direction by means of the barometer and compass; but GPS is switched off; so your craft will drift with the wind (if there is no wind at all, you probably won’t notice any difference).Why would you want to use this? Maybe you have been flying upwind. For an easy return, flip it into Attitude mode and let it drift back to you. Wind direction permitting, it can also be useful for smooth video. Fly upwind, start your video, and then turn on Attitude mode and let the video run as your Phantom is born along on the wind.The bottom position of S1 initiates the Return To Home (RTH) procedure; whereby your Phantom climbs to 20 metres if it is lower than that, flies back to the starting point and then gently lands at your feet to the applause of admiring onlookers. Normally, RTH switches on when you have lost contact with your Phantom; but there are times when you may want to initiate it even though you have a connection. The first is to impress those onlookers (I have been guilty of that); and the second maybe when you have had enough flying and just want to let your Phantom come home on its own. The problem is that in Vision 2 mode, the only way you can trigger RTH is to turn off the transmitter. This is all well and good if your Phantom does then return to home and land; but if it decides to bugger off instead, there is nothing you can do to reconnect; and you will left looking like a fool in front of an expectant crowd.In NAZA mode, the bottom position of S1 will initiate RTH, but you can regain control by flicking up the switch at any time. Much better.On the left we can find S2, home of the Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC) functions. In the up position (or in Vision 2 mode), IOC is off.

And there you are, your Phantom a zillion metres high and a zillion metres away; and you want to bring it home. To do that, you need to know where the front of the craft is pointed so you can bring it back towards you. Unfortunately, given the shape of the thing, it can be impossible to know which is the front just by looking at it, especially from a zillion metres away. So you have to squint at the display on the phone to work out orientation (assuming you haven’t lost WiFi contact) and then mentally calculate which stick to throw to bring it back; by which time the batteries have died and it has landed in a swamp.Hello S2! Flick the switch to the bottom position and you are now in Home Lock mode. Then pull back on the right hand stick and the Phantom will return to its starting point, irrespective of the direction in which it is pointed. I find this massively useful. Whenever I have finished with a flight, I turn on Home Lock and just bring it home; so easy.The middle position is less obviously useful. It’s called Course Lock and when it is enabled, the Phantom will respond to the sticks as if it is aligned in the direction it was facing at time of take off. So if your Phantom was facing East when you took off and is now pointing North, pushing the right stick forward will send it north. Flick onto Course Lock and pushing the stick will send it East. No, I can’t think of a use for it either.Still, access to Attitude, RTH and Home Lock modes is worth having, so how do you switch to NAZA mode?Connect your Phantom to your computer and turn it on. Start up the Assistant software and on the top right hand side you will see a button set to Vision 2 mode. Click on it to change to NAZA mode.

Tips and Tricks:

Get a dymo lable maker and put your name, phone number and address on the top of the quad. Check your props before each flight. The nuts get loose and will come off in flight. Watch the DJI phantom videos, read the whole manual, memorize the light patterns.Leave the camera and gimbal at home till you totally understand flying the quad. You need to get at least 20 full flights in. Don’t fly it close to home till you get good with it. Take it out to a very large and open field. Don’t fly in the wind until you understand it.

Never take off unless you see the flashing lights that indicate that the GPS has locked the home position. Keep it close to you while flying, not more than 40′ away. You will quickly loose your sense of direction. If things are not going well reduce power and land before it gets away from you. It will get away from you its just a matter of when and what you do when it happens.Start your flying with the nose out and the rear facing you. In this way the right stick will control forward, back, left, right. Work on your hover control. Just be happy on your first flight to lift off, hover in place and do a controlled landing. Tipping over on landing is ok, if you land on the grass the props won’t get hurt.Next few flights work on moving a little left and right.

Pick a couple of spots on the ground and practice moving between them. When you are comfortable with that start working with the yaw control on the throttle stick. Don’t let it turn and face you. Once it turns to you the controls are reversed and it will be confusing because left is right and right is left.Practice flying in a circle around yourself but with out you moving and keeping the quad facing the same way (quad should point forward just like you)Eventually you need to start working with turning it around and flying it back to yourself. Then fly it in circles in front of you.Go into the assistant and turn on the IOC feature.

Then practice using the course lock and home lock feature. These can save your ass when you let the quad get just a little too far away.By your 30th flight you should be able to fly a figure 8 pattern in front of yourself. Once you can do figure 8’s in both directions and are comfortable with flying it both facing out and facing toward you then you are ready to put the camera on but not the gimbal yet.Get use to how it flies with the extra weight. You may need to adjust the gains up a bit to compensate for the weight. Only after you are comfortable with the extra weight then you can add the gimbal.

Have fun, take it slow, fly it every day, get extra batteries so you can fly a couple times each time you go out. Enjoy.