DIY Phantom floats

Nov 10, 2015
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My brother finished the first version of his Phantom floats this morning and tried them out in the pool and in flight.
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The entire contraption comes in at 233 extra grams. It does bring the horizontal speed down to about 22mph, the tips of the bottles come into view at some points during flight, and we think that there is some distinct prop wash when coming straight down to land, as it does come down a little kooky... but there could also be some blockage of the vision positioning system.

He's going to try bringing the floats out some more to minimize the prop wash, and keep them out of camera view, try to block the VPS less, and has lighter bottles to use also.

But it is very stable in the water, and we both think that this first attempt was a success. Yes it was slower, but he's willing to accept the slower speeds, if he can gain the ability to take off and land in the water if he wants to. They are easily removable and there is no permanent damage to the aircraft.

He will keep working on them and I'll keep you updated.
You can get by with smaller, lighter bottles. One problem you will have is wind resistance. I have tried many types of floats and found that anything large enough to float the bird will really get pushed around in the wind.
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So it will hold 4 beers at once? Definitely better then the water strider, that one the guy wanted to sell for over $250.00 a couple weeks ago on here. Your's looks totally stable with the perfect amount of flotation because you really don't want the bottles to sink over half way under. You could just run 2 shafts straight out the sides from behind the camera and then outriggers from the outside of the landing gears for strength. [xOx] with O being the bird, just thinking...and not showing the straight shafts. It would open up the camera and vps this way
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I can dig this. I am a scared weenie about flying over water.
Be of Zen. Don't worry, be happy. Don't Panic. Water isn't anything special. If you are over 100 feet or so on land you will likely either a) end up in a tree or b) picking up pieces parts. There are no Kraken to drag you to the depths.

Practice over a mud puddle or pond, work your way up. Water flights are great - better range, nice pictures. There are thousands of videos of over water UAV flights.

My big concern with any of these devices is twofold. First, real bodies of water are not pools. They have winds and waves. You need some sort of stability build in. Also, the most likely reason for actually needing to land on the water is some form of catastrophic failure. When this happens, the Phantom tends not to autorotate gently to the ground. It tends to go sideways, spin, flip and perform other scary acrobatic stunts (lots of videos about this as well). Not terribly likely to land on said floats.

OK, so you have safely landed on water. Now what? Murphy states that the wind will be blowing away from you. Are you going to keep your boat on standby? Call the Coast Guard? In most navigable waterways I suspect the life span of a water landed P3 would be minutes - until the next drunk in a speedboat saw 'something' and headed over at 45 mph.

Not worth the effort. Concentrate on flying.
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wow, when i saw the video i thought that was really cool - awesome idea!

but then i read WetDog's reply... now i dont even know what you were thinking building such a stupid thing. you should throw it away immediately and get back to flying! haha
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Why would anyone need/want to take off or land a P3 on water? To look cool? Seems like the negatives outweigh any positives (there are none).

Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
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You know, I think some of you are right....
Ideas "are" bad.

There's obviously no need for people to modify ANYTHING to suit their own specific needs.
Thank you of making me aware of this again.

For the close minded people... That was sarcasm.

For the non-close minded people. I'll post updates and upgrades as we go.
oooh I did not consciously think the object of this exercise was for water take-offs and landings. I think of this mod for a safety when flying over water. I have seen too many ( Oh.. the horror) videos of Phantoms imitating Greg Louganis.
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oooh I did not consciously think the object of this exercise was for water take-offs and landings. I think of this mod for a safety when flying over water. I have seen too many ( Oh.. the horror) videos of Phantoms imitating Greg Louganis.
I think for safe flying over water, I wouldn't want something like this. Way too much decrease in speed and agility. I think something like a single float would be better for that. It would still submerge, but at least it wouldn't be gone forever.

I suppose you "could" use something like this for emergency landings over water, but know that there'll be a big sacrifice with it, and of course... You gotta figure out a way to get out there and retrieve it.

The purpose of these floats is to allow my brother to be on his sailboat, you know... Those things with all the dangly ropes and sheets hanging off of it... Put the Phantom in the water next to the boat, and take off.
Then take your video or pics, and land in front of the boat, sail up to it and grab it out of the water.

He does most of his sailing on our local river and I guess because the river is in the bottom of a valley, it gets good wind, but no whitecaps, so the danger of it getting swallowed by a wave is less.

He's already had a splash drone, but it's much more of a hassle to fly than the Phantom. It also started on fire...
For a P3 the floats are ok but honestly, put a go-pro in it's underwater case on a P2 and have the ability to land the P2 in the water with the camera submerged. The floats are big enough that they would work well enough in calm seas, could get some great shots of the whales, etc :)

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