DJI Phantom 3 Professional – review coming

At AFL we have been testing our DJI Phantom 3 Professional – and we think we have tested it to it’s limits.

Is it aimed at the professional UAV operator or the hobbyist? After all, it’s quite small and can it really do what we want it to do?

Depending on your field, it may be what you are looking for. And are DJI finally understanding that it’s not only about the actual UAV, but also the software requirements to produce a complete package and the expansion of already existing systems?

We will take a look at the P3P in depth very shortly. Looking forward to that…

Top story for today

As the UAV becomes more and more commonplace, it is obvious that the news industry is just soaking up any stories it can on the plucky little craft.

And with the ease of use and dynamic industry we are in, I guess it is no surprise that some will use the UAV’s ability to fly almost unnoticed by the general public, such as criminals infiltrating the industry by using UAV’s to try and bypass security at prisons.

The article by Danny Boyle from The Telegraph can be found here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11983257/Strangeways-prison-smugglers-crash-drone-at-HMP-Manchester.html

Drone register for UAV menace

In a move by the Metropolitan Police, according to the Inquirer’s Madeline Bennett, Chief Inspector Nick Aldworth would like to start a Drone Register for all UAV owners.

There has been much in the press recently about US officials thinking along the same line.

I am not against this kind of idea, because clearly we will reach UAV overload at some point due to the predicted heavy sales in the market. However, will they be able to do this in reality?

For instance, will they exempt normal hobbyists with fixed wing or helicopter models? Will they be able to contact everyone who has already bought one? Will you have to present a ‘passport’ for your drone on request? Has the bird flown already?

And then, will it be a national register? Can they communicate with other forces around UK effectively enough to enforce it? Do they have the manpower? Is it down to the police to take up this role?

I’m not sure about all of this, but I am sure we have failed at integrating registers before and this has a lot of debate to go before it flies.

Oh, and are we really a menace Madeline? There are a huge number of applications for UAVs which are useful, efficient, cost effective and job creating. I think less a menace, more a useful tool with far reaching technological advancements to come.

The article can be found here:

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2433810/met-wants-a-drone-register-to-manage-the-uav-menace

 

 

Spacial awareness

During attending my training program, and as I dug deeper into the nuances of UAV flight, I kept hearing the phrase beware of your spacial awareness as this is the key to successful flight operations.

Losing spacial awareness almost inevitably leads to loss of control and a premature end of the flight. There are lots of reasons for this, but the main one, the one that can cost you dearly, is a difficult one to master.

Most current systems require the use of three things. The UAV itself, the remote control and the tablet/smartphone. The key is to keep your wits about you and do not panic. Know and understand your emergency procedures, and if in doubt, generally letting go of everything will lead to assertion of control.

When concentrating on the tablet, you will easily be sucked into observing the screen and will be totally unaware of your surroundings. When concentrating on the UAV you will lose sight of your mission and may lose directional awareness. When merely monitoring what your hand is doing to control the UAV you may lose sight of the situation.

Try to keep a balance between screen, UAV observation and flight control. This will keep you aware of your surroundings, able to orientate the aircraft through the screen and be able to manoeuvre effectively under all circumstances.

Be aware that all you need to do is place the craft in GPS mode and let go of the controls and it will hover. It may not be where you want it to be, but you can regain control without panicking.

Here is what happens when you lose spacial awareness and concentrate on the screen rather than balancing your efforts.

 

 

 

DJI Phantom FC40 Review

Manufacturer: DJI
Product: Phantom FC40

Okay, so this is an old product. But, it is a great way to start learning to fly a UAV. It is simple, you can pick them up second hand for a reasonable amount of hard earned cash, and you really will not have to worry about it.

I bought mine of Ebay at the beginning of the year. It came with a case, a few batteries, charger, remote control, quadcopter itself and a few spare rotors and tool kit and a hard case.

The first thing you notice about the Phantom FC40 is how light it is. Even with a GoPro mounted on it and a battery inserted it comes in at just under 1200 grams.

Although the FC40 comes with it’s own camera, I decided to mount a GoPro Heroe3 on it as this is of a higher and more versatile capabilty than that of the FC40’s.

p37

Starting up for take off is quite a simple procedure. Turn on the remote control, insert the battery into the Phantom, connect it’s plugs and shut the battery cover.

Now just wait for the rear light to start flashing steady green. Prior to any flying and as this was the first time I flew this machine, quickly flick the GPS/ATTI switch (S1) up and down six or so times, then you should be able to calibrate the compass by turning the Phantom 360 degrees clockwise and then holding it vertically and turning it another 360 degrees clockwise. This basically sets the compass to your location.

There is a large clip you can attach to the remote control to hold your smartphone so you can control the GoPro.

With the compass set, it’s really time to fly. Ensuring the S1 switch is in GPS mode slowly pull the left and right sticks down to opposite bottom corners and the rotors kick into life. Release the sticks to their central location. Then push the left hand stick up and the rotors start to go mad and up it goes.

That’s it really. Once the FC40 is up it’s really easy to control with GPS mode. Up, down, left, right – all on the left hand stick. Forward, backward and sideways all controlled with the right stick. If you panic, just let the stick go and hey presto, it hovers where it is.

Fly around, take some video and pictures, it really is that easy. For an introduction to flying these are really good machines to play with. You can be reasonably confident that should you experience a heavy landing, or a tree confrontation, your Phantom is going to survive as long as it has a softish landing!

Product overall view

Great kit for learning and playing around with. For an introduction to the world of UAVs it is definitely worth considering. Product details and specs are still available from DJI.

Air Focus Limited

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