Maiden flight: a few questions by a newbie

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Hello all!
As I wrote in the Introductions subforums, I'm a newbie to "real" quads. I had a toy Syma for a while, but went for the big upgrade and got a Phantom 3 Advanced. (I was originally aiming at the standard, but then I thought: "why not?")

I got it yesterday and this morning I had my maiden flight. It went reasonably well, but I was quite nervous; coming form the toy quad didn't help: my old Syma suffered from the "wind bug" and flew quite erratically.
Anyway, despite the lack of a perfectly clear and flat area, I found a reasonable place that would work: a field on a slight descending slope — it's hilly everywhere around here — and went for it. I did come home with both some interesting footage and some doubts, however, so I thought I'd ask here.

Apologies in advance for the length of this message: I don't mean to tax anyone's patience, but just asking a bunch of random questions with no context would probably be a waste of everybody's time.
Some of these may have been answered elsewhere but may not apply to my own case exactly, so I figured I'ask them again: I think that the fewer doubts I have next time I fly, the safer it'll be. I've been reading about Phantoms for over six months now, but actually going out and flying it a completely different thing!

1. My "pre-maiden" flight actually took place somewhere else close to that place, but it lasted only a minute as I quickly realized that I had too many trees to be safe. Before taking off the first time, the app didn't suggest to calibrate the compass so I didn't, as the P3A manual suggests only doing so when needed (which I assume to mean "when the app tells you so"). Is this correct?
After landing from that very brief flight, the app said to perform the calibration so I did the double-turn dance with the drone, which earned me a "whatever" look from my dog.

2. I then went to the aforementioned field, just a few minutes away on foot and I did not recalibrate the craft's compass as the app seemed happy the way it was: should I have calibrated it again anyway?

3. I used auto takeoff in GPS mode, with 13 satellites locked; during the flight it would lock as many as 19. it originally hovered at around 1.2 m as expected, but quickly started to drift away from me, and losing altitude. There was virtually no wind. Is it possible that the visual positioning system got somehow confused by the grass? Or perhaps it was a compass issue? The logs confirm I was in GPS mode all along and never went below the original 13 satellites. I have disabled VPS for the time being anyway, since I don't plan flying it without a GPS lock anyway.

4. I was overwhelmed, there's no denying that. Watching videos on youtube for months didn't prepare me for this. My main issue is that I honestly didn't know where to look: I took the "never lose sight of the aircraft" pretty seriously, especially I'm still not exactly at ease with the controls when the quad faces me. It does read out the alerts so my attention was quickly taken back to it whenever something happened, but in hindsight I realize I wasn't as attentive as I could have.
At some point I realized it was safe enough to try and compose a shot as I was filming all along, and climbed while looking at the screen, moving the gimbal and yawing to find myself (and my father and my dog, who wanted to witness the maiden flight). The app announced I had reached the maximum height of 30 meters that newbies are allowed, which was perfectly fine for me. I found us, then looked up, and... kind of freaked out. I don't know how some people shoot these things up to 100 meters or however high they go, I was there staring at this mechanical bird (mostly) hovering in place — it was actually more stable than it was closer to the ground — and thought "that's high! what if it drops dead and crashes and leaves a crater?"
I know, I'm exaggerating here and I'm 101% sure that in a few months I'll read this back and laugh at how scared I was, but any word of encouragement would be very welcome. :D
Mostly, I would like some advice on what to focus on: should the "keep it in your sight" be more like "glance at the rear view mirror while driving", i.e. something you to do make sure everything's safe, or should it be the main thing? Again, I'm aware this is probably silly and the most experienced amongst you are laughing, but I'm asking just because I take safety very seriously and want to do things properly.

5. At some point the craft went into RTH mode, then it said Landing: I'm honestly not sure why, as I didn't trigger either of those things. I may have hit the outer edge of the allowed range, but it should have just stayed there, I think. According to the flight log playback, I still had 65% battery (around 13 minutes) and was 20 m high and just 12 m from my home point. What may have triggered it? It took me completely by surprise and I can't see anything special in the logs about it.

6. At this point I was ready to call it a day, but since I had chosen a relatively cramped home point (a small concrete platform) and knew that RTH not exactly spot on, I decided to bring it where I wanted it to land, that is another patch of land just a few meters away. This is when I probably messed up a bit: instead of lowering it from 20 m to 7-8 m while bringing it closer to me, I mostly moved it horizontally; or perhaps I also tried to make it descend, but it didn't descend as much? I read that it's sort of the norm with quads, but I got lost in the aerodynamics there. Anyway I wound up with this bird — "what if it falls off" — pretty much right on top of me, which admittedly didn't help my sense of being overwhelmed.
Once over the designated landing spot, I decided to trigger auto-landing while it was 4 meters high, but as soon as the landing procedure started, it started drifting again in the same general direction as it had when it had taken off.
My mistake here was yawing the craft so it was facing me (don't ask me why, maybe I wanted to film myself? I'm honestly not sure), with the inevitable result that, as I tried to take it back to the landing spot I managed to have it topple over as soon as it touched the soil on the slope. No damage at all, just dirty props: I cleaned them and briefly tried taking off again and it worked fine.
The question remains: why did it drift like that? And, generally, what is the "correct" procedure regarding distance and height at the end of a flight?

Wow, if you made it this far then thank you already and apologies again for the long read; I promise I'll be more to the point in my next posts. I hope that you had a good laugh at least!
Any advice is more than welcome.
Thanks in advance!
 

Meta4

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1. My "pre-maiden" flight actually took place somewhere else close to that place, but it lasted only a minute as I quickly realized that I had too many trees to be safe. Before taking off the first time, the app didn't suggest to calibrate the compass so I didn't, as the P3A manual suggests only doing so when needed (which I assume to mean "when the app tells you so"). Is this correct?
After landing from that very brief flight, the app said to perform the calibration so I did the double-turn dance with the drone, which earned me a "whatever" look from my dog.

2. I then went to the aforementioned field, just a few minutes away on foot and I did not recalibrate the craft's compass as the app seemed happy the way it was: should I have calibrated it again anyway?
No ... the basic principle is once you have a good compass calibration, just stick with it.
And be careful about calibrating when the app suggests it.
The most common reason that the app might indicate it would be that you have placed the Phantom close to a lot of steel (most often on reinforced concrete).
If that is the case, you do not want to recalibrate there at all.
Simply moving away from the steel is the correct action.

As long as your Phantom flies straight and hovers in place without wanting to slowly spiral, your compass calibration is good.

3. I used auto takeoff in GPS mode, with 13 satellites locked; during the flight it would lock as many as 19. it originally hovered at around 1.2 m as expected, but quickly started to drift away from me, and losing altitude. There was virtually no wind. Is it possible that the visual positioning system got somehow confused by the grass? Or perhaps it was a compass issue? The logs confirm I was in GPS mode all along and never went below the original 13 satellites. I have disabled VPS for the time being anyway, since I don't plan flying it without a GPS lock anyway.

6.The question remains: why did it drift like that? And, generally, what is the "correct" procedure regarding distance and height at the end of a flight?
Grass affecting the VPS is the most likely explanation.
4.Mostly, I would like some advice on what to focus on:.
Just focus on getting practice and becoming familiar with how the Phantom works
5. At some point the craft went into RTH mode, then it said Landing: I'm honestly not sure why, as I didn't trigger either of those things. I may have hit the outer edge of the allowed range, but it should have just stayed there, I think. According to the flight log playback, I still had 65% battery (around 13 minutes) and was 20 m high and just 12 m from my home point. What may have triggered it? It took me completely by surprise and I can't see anything special in the logs about it.
That sounds unusual. The battery level should not trigger RTh at 65%
Losing radio signal for 3 seconds will.
The flight data may explain it.
If you want to check that, go to https://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
Follow the instructions to upload your flight record.
Come back and post a link to the report it provides
6. At this point I was ready to call it a day, but since I had chosen a relatively cramped home point (a small concrete platform) and knew that RTH not exactly spot on, I decided to bring it where I wanted it to land, that is another patch of land just a few meters away. This is when I probably messed up a bit: instead of lowering it from 20 m to 7-8 m while bringing it closer to me, I mostly moved it horizontally; or perhaps I also tried to make it descend, but it didn't descend as much? I read that it's sort of the norm with quads, but I got lost in the aerodynamics there. Anyway I wound up with this bird — "what if it falls off" — pretty much right on top of me, which admittedly didn't help my sense of being overwhelmed.
As long as you have signal, you can cancel RTH at any time and bring the Phantom in yourself
You mentioned a concrete launch spot - This rings alarm bells but it sounds like it wasn't a problem in this case.
Avoid launching from reinforced concrete as the steel inside it can cause real compass issues that could have an unhappy ending.
 
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Hello all!
As I wrote in the Introductions subforums, I'm a newbie to "real" quads. I had a toy Syma for a while, but went for the big upgrade and got a Phantom 3 Advanced. (I was originally aiming at the standard, but then I thought: "why not?")

I got it yesterday and this morning I had my maiden flight. It went reasonably well, but I was quite nervous; coming form the toy quad didn't help: my old Syma suffered from the "wind bug" and flew quite erratically.
Anyway, despite the lack of a perfectly clear and flat area, I found a reasonable place that would work: a field on a slight descending slope — it's hilly everywhere around here — and went for it. I did come home with both some interesting footage and some doubts, however, so I thought I'd ask here.

Apologies in advance for the length of this message: I don't mean to tax anyone's patience, but just asking a bunch of random questions with no context would probably be a waste of everybody's time.
Some of these may have been answered elsewhere but may not apply to my own case exactly, so I figured I'ask them again: I think that the fewer doubts I have next time I fly, the safer it'll be. I've been reading about Phantoms for over six months now, but actually going out and flying it a completely different thing!

1. My "pre-maiden" flight actually took place somewhere else close to that place, but it lasted only a minute as I quickly realized that I had too many trees to be safe. Before taking off the first time, the app didn't suggest to calibrate the compass so I didn't, as the P3A manual suggests only doing so when needed (which I assume to mean "when the app tells you so"). Is this correct?
After landing from that very brief flight, the app said to perform the calibration so I did the double-turn dance with the drone, which earned me a "whatever" look from my dog.

2. I then went to the aforementioned field, just a few minutes away on foot and I did not recalibrate the craft's compass as the app seemed happy the way it was: should I have calibrated it again anyway?

3. I used auto takeoff in GPS mode, with 13 satellites locked; during the flight it would lock as many as 19. it originally hovered at around 1.2 m as expected, but quickly started to drift away from me, and losing altitude. There was virtually no wind. Is it possible that the visual positioning system got somehow confused by the grass? Or perhaps it was a compass issue? The logs confirm I was in GPS mode all along and never went below the original 13 satellites. I have disabled VPS for the time being anyway, since I don't plan flying it without a GPS lock anyway.

4. I was overwhelmed, there's no denying that. Watching videos on youtube for months didn't prepare me for this. My main issue is that I honestly didn't know where to look: I took the "never lose sight of the aircraft" pretty seriously, especially I'm still not exactly at ease with the controls when the quad faces me. It does read out the alerts so my attention was quickly taken back to it whenever something happened, but in hindsight I realize I wasn't as attentive as I could have.
At some point I realized it was safe enough to try and compose a shot as I was filming all along, and climbed while looking at the screen, moving the gimbal and yawing to find myself (and my father and my dog, who wanted to witness the maiden flight). The app announced I had reached the maximum height of 30 meters that newbies are allowed, which was perfectly fine for me. I found us, then looked up, and... kind of freaked out. I don't know how some people shoot these things up to 100 meters or however high they go, I was there staring at this mechanical bird (mostly) hovering in place — it was actually more stable than it was closer to the ground — and thought "that's high! what if it drops dead and crashes and leaves a crater?"
I know, I'm exaggerating here and I'm 101% sure that in a few months I'll read this back and laugh at how scared I was, but any word of encouragement would be very welcome. :D
Mostly, I would like some advice on what to focus on: should the "keep it in your sight" be more like "glance at the rear view mirror while driving", i.e. something you to do make sure everything's safe, or should it be the main thing? Again, I'm aware this is probably silly and the most experienced amongst you are laughing, but I'm asking just because I take safety very seriously and want to do things properly.

5. At some point the craft went into RTH mode, then it said Landing: I'm honestly not sure why, as I didn't trigger either of those things. I may have hit the outer edge of the allowed range, but it should have just stayed there, I think. According to the flight log playback, I still had 65% battery (around 13 minutes) and was 20 m high and just 12 m from my home point. What may have triggered it? It took me completely by surprise and I can't see anything special in the logs about it.

6. At this point I was ready to call it a day, but since I had chosen a relatively cramped home point (a small concrete platform) and knew that RTH not exactly spot on, I decided to bring it where I wanted it to land, that is another patch of land just a few meters away. This is when I probably messed up a bit: instead of lowering it from 20 m to 7-8 m while bringing it closer to me, I mostly moved it horizontally; or perhaps I also tried to make it descend, but it didn't descend as much? I read that it's sort of the norm with quads, but I got lost in the aerodynamics there. Anyway I wound up with this bird — "what if it falls off" — pretty much right on top of me, which admittedly didn't help my sense of being overwhelmed.
Once over the designated landing spot, I decided to trigger auto-landing while it was 4 meters high, but as soon as the landing procedure started, it started drifting again in the same general direction as it had when it had taken off.
My mistake here was yawing the craft so it was facing me (don't ask me why, maybe I wanted to film myself? I'm honestly not sure), with the inevitable result that, as I tried to take it back to the landing spot I managed to have it topple over as soon as it touched the soil on the slope. No damage at all, just dirty props: I cleaned them and briefly tried taking off again and it worked fine.
The question remains: why did it drift like that? And, generally, what is the "correct" procedure regarding distance and height at the end of a flight?

Wow, if you made it this far then thank you already and apologies again for the long read; I promise I'll be more to the point in my next posts. I hope that you had a good laugh at least!
Any advice is more than welcome.
Thanks in advance!
As far as your compass calibration is concerned, most people do it the once and leave it unless prompted by the app. You need to do it away from any electrical or mechanical (concrete with reinforced steel is a no no) or you will have RTH errors and a lot of flying challenges.
Your VPS kicks in and is more accurate within the 0-10 mtr range than the barometer which takes over beyond the 10 mtr ceiling. It is common for the drone to move around a little when landing, but excessive movement may require you to do an IMU calibration (done through the dji app), it's simple and easy to perform.
Whenever I fly, I take it manually straight up and give it berries. When I land, I bring it in purposely and hand catch to prevent any hard landings caused by hesitating and being too cautious. If you are manually landing, bring it straight in and down.
I would stay in beginners mode and just keep practicing take off/landings, understand antenna and drone orientation and get to know RTH back to front before you venture out further.
 
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No ... the basic principle is once you have a good compass calibration, just stick with it.
And be careful about calibrating when the app suggests it.
The most common reason that the app might indicate it would be that you have placed the Phantom close to a lot of steel (most often on reinforced concrete).
If that is the case, you do not want to recalibrate there at all.
Simply moving away from the steel is the correct action.

As long as your Phantom flies straight and hovers in place without wanting to slowly spiral, your compass calibration is good.
I didn't have any visible reinforced concrete in either case, but there was concrete so I'm not entirely sure. It didn't really spiral though, it just kind of drifted towards 2 o'clock and lost altitude. This also happened the second time but only very close to the ground, so perhaps it was indeed the VPS. I disabled it for my next flight, since it would be pointless at high altitude anyway.


That sounds unusual. The battery level should not trigger RTh at 65%
Losing radio signal for 3 seconds will.
The flight data may explain it.
If you want to check that, go to https://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
Follow the instructions to upload your flight record.
Come back and post a link to the report it provides
Done! This is the link: Phantom Log Viewer - PhantomHelp.com
It happened at 4m 6.9s. I can't rule out entirely I accidentally triggered it, as I said I was pretty overwhelmed so it may just be my fault. On a side note, I wonder if a cheap tablet wouldn't be a better monitor than a phone, as some of the controls are quite tiny!

You mentioned a concrete launch spot - This rings alarm bells but it sounds like it wasn't a problem in this case.
Avoid launching from reinforced concrete as the steel inside it can cause real compass issues that could have an unhappy ending.
Now that I think of it, there *might* have been a manhole on that concrete platform under the grass, and those are generally made of cast iron. Wouldn't I get a message that the compass is off, though? Or does it just get confused but doesn't "realize" it until later on?
Lesson learned about compass interference, though. :) Thank you!
 
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As far as your compass calibration is concerned, most people do it the once and leave it unless prompted by the app. You need to do it away from any electrical or mechanical (concrete with reinforced steel is a no no) or you will have RTH errors and a lot of flying challenges.
Point taken, thanks. Is there any way to check the aircraft's compass status, i.e. see where it thinks that north is? I couldn't find it in the app and I don't have the Phantom with me right now so I can't check. That would be handy to see if everything is fine.

Your VPS kicks in and is more accurate within the 0-10 mtr range than the barometer which takes over beyond the 10 mtr ceiling. It is common for the drone to move around a little when landing, but excessive movement may require you to do an IMU calibration (done through the dji app), it's simple and easy to perform.
I don't know if the grass confused the VPS, actually now that I think of it in both cases there was a slight slope so that probably didn't help either. It did drift more than what I've seen in videos. I'll look into IMU calibration, thanks!

Whenever I fly, I take it manually straight up and give it berries. When I land, I bring it in purposely and hand catch to prevent any hard landings caused by hesitating and being too cautious. If you are manually landing, bring it straight in and down.
I would stay in beginners mode and just keep practicing take off/landings, understand antenna and drone orientation and get to know RTH back to front before you venture out further.
I'm definitely staying in beginner's mode for a while, that's for sure. :) The auto take off does look like more of a gimmick, though I can see where a beginner like me may use auto landing. Manually landing however may actually be easier, in that there's no feeling of impending apocalypse if something goes wrong, just throttle up and try again.

The thing I have to work on, aside from improving my orientation skills, is reminding myself that as high as it may looks, it's designed to do that (and more) and there's virtually no chance it's going to drop dead unless I do the CSC. I also only plan to fly when there's virtually no wind, and the app does a wonderful job of alerting by voice. Perhaps I shouldn't think too much on how high it is. Just directing it from the "cockpit view" and making sure there are no obstacles should be easier. Should... :)

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I really appreciate it!
 
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I don't know if this is normal, as I've not been flying long myself, but I'll tell you what I've noticed about the slight drift after first taking off.

My Standard will drift back and forth a bit after take off, never more than a foot, usually much less. When it's doing this, I can look at the display, and see that GPS is locking more satellites. I figure it's the aircraft adjusting it's position according to the new GPS data.

Just my theory.
 

Meta4

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Done! This is the link: Phantom Log Viewer - PhantomHelp.com
It happened at 4m 6.9s. I can't rule out entirely I accidentally triggered it, as I said I was pretty overwhelmed so it may just be my fault. On a side note, I wonder if a cheap tablet wouldn't be a better monitor than a phone, as some of the controls are quite tiny!
The most likely explanation from the flight data is that you initiated RTH but as the Phantom was less than 20 metres away, it started descending immediately.
Don't ask why. There's no reason anyone knows of for it to be programmed that way.

I also noticed that you launched at 83% battery.
This can also have serious implications. Only start a flight with a fully charged battery

Wouldn't I get a message that the compass is off, though? Or does it just get confused but doesn't "realize" it until later on?
Maybe ... maybe not, depending on how strong the effect.
AS long as your Phantom flies straight and hovers in place without slowly spiraling, the compass is OK.

You also mentioned only flying with almost no breeze.
There's no need to be so cautious.
The Phantom can handle significant winds - not just gentle breezes.
Just don't fly away long distance downwind in a strong wind.
 
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The most likely explanation from the flight data is that you initiated RTH but as the Phantom was less than 20 metres away, it started descending immediately.
Don't ask why. There's no reason anyone knows of for it to be programmed that way.
But would it have come back to the home point, or would it have landed on the spot? That's definitely something to keep in mind, just in case I ever do initiate RTH when it's close to the home point. Is there a known distance beyond which RTH actually does the climb-fly-land dance, instead of just landing?

I also noticed that you launched at 83% battery.
This can also have serious implications. Only start a flight with a fully charged battery
True, it was fully charged for my prior short flight and I knew I'd be flying very close just to get a feel of it, in fact I only kept it in the air for a few minutes. (I had another fully charged battery ready to go with me but I figured I'd start using up this one.)

Maybe ... maybe not, depending on how strong the effect.
AS long as your Phantom flies straight and hovers in place without slowly spiraling, the compass is OK.
Noted. It never spiraled, just drifted around a bit so until I have a chance to do another flight I'll ascribe that to VPS getting in the way.

You also mentioned only flying with almost no breeze.
There's no need to be so cautious.
The Phantom can handle significant winds - not just gentle breezes.
Just don't fly away long distance downwind in a strong wind.
Oh I know, I've seen some crazy things on youtube. :D I just prefer to err on the side of caution until I feel like I have good control of the craft. After all I only have 6 minutes or so of flight time under my belt so far. :)
 

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But would it have come back to the home point, or would it have landed on the spot? That's definitely something to keep in mind, just in case I ever do initiate RTH when it's close to the home point. Is there a known distance beyond which RTH actually does the climb-fly-land dance, instead of just landing?
It would have landed where it was.
This is described in the manual and happens if you initiate RTH closer than 20 metres from home.
Beyond 20 metres, RTH works normally.

True, it was fully charged for my prior short flight and I knew I'd be flying very close just to get a feel of it, in fact I only kept it in the air for a few minutes.
I couldn't tell from the data if the flight was just after an earlier short flight or if the battery had not been fully charged.
Flying, landing and flying again shortly after should not be an issue but flying with a battery that has been left for a week or more and partially discharged can have serious effects.
 
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It would have landed where it was.
This is described in the manual and happens if you initiate RTH closer than 20 metres from home.
Beyond 20 metres, RTH works normally.
Thanks, I had completely missed that line. It looks like RTH in beginner's mode is virtually useless then, given the 30-meter radius limit from the home point. Good to know. :)

I couldn't tell from the data if the flight was just after an earlier short flight or if the battery had not been fully charged.
Flying, landing and flying again shortly after should not be an issue but flying with a battery that has been left for a week or more and partially discharged can have serious effects.
My bad, I should have mentioned that when I described my very first attempted flight. That one started with the battery showing 98%, the missing two being due to fiddling with the app to make sure everything was in order before taking off.

Thanks again for all the tips!
 
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Point taken, thanks. Is there any way to check the aircraft's compass status, i.e. see where it thinks that north is? I couldn't find it in the app and I don't have the Phantom with me right now so I can't check. That would be handy to see if everything is fine.



I don't know if the grass confused the VPS, actually now that I think of it in both cases there was a slight slope so that probably didn't help either. It did drift more than what I've seen in videos. I'll look into IMU calibration, thanks!



I'm definitely staying in beginner's mode for a while, that's for sure. :) The auto take off does look like more of a gimmick, though I can see where a beginner like me may use auto landing. Manually landing however may actually be easier, in that there's no feeling of impending apocalypse if something goes wrong, just throttle up and try again.

The thing I have to work on, aside from improving my orientation skills, is reminding myself that as high as it may looks, it's designed to do that (and more) and there's virtually no chance it's going to drop dead unless I do the CSC. I also only plan to fly when there's virtually no wind, and the app does a wonderful job of alerting by voice. Perhaps I shouldn't think too much on how high it is. Just directing it from the "cockpit view" and making sure there are no obstacles should be easier. Should... :)

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I really appreciate it!
Sounds like you are taking all the right precautionary steps i.e. asking questions. Once you have a good compass calibration, use the radar map on the screen app to give you a proper orientation of where your quad is in relation to your home point. I don't worry about where north is as I use the red arrow (quad) and the green line (flight path) to determine where I am heading and how to get back to home point. Maybe get used to flying out and watching the radar as you yaw the quad around to give you some confidence as to where you are, I routinely fly over trees and use it to bring it back. As meta4 noted regarding RTH, within 20 mtrs, it will land where it is, beyond that it will come back to you as long as you have it set correctly. I can't print some of the heights and distances I have flown but the technology is good for what is essentially a flying camera.
 
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Sounds like you are taking all the right precautionary steps i.e. asking questions. Once you have a good compass calibration, use the radar map on the screen app to give you a proper orientation of where your quad is in relation to your home point. I don't worry about where north is as I use the red arrow (quad) and the green line (flight path) to determine where I am heading and how to get back to home point. Maybe get used to flying out and watching the radar as you yaw the quad around to give you some confidence as to where you are, I routinely fly over trees and use it to bring it back.
That's a very useful suggestion, thanks! I had seen a video by DJI about the flight attitude icon (which hides the map on the phone) but I'm not completely sure I understood how to read it. It sounds like it's not *that* necessary, after all, since the map should be enough to do what you do, that is get an idea of the heading.

Thanks again, both for the help and the patience. :)
 

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That's a very useful suggestion, thanks! I had seen a video by DJI about the flight attitude icon (which hides the map on the phone) but I'm not completely sure I understood how to read it. It sounds like it's not *that* necessary, after all, since the map should be enough to do what you do, that is get an idea of the heading.

Thanks again, both for the help and the patience. :)
I am impressed with your questions and your open minded attitude about learning from others who have been where you are right now.

It sounds as if you already have done an admirable amount of research, but if you are interested click here for some tips that I often share with new P3A/P3P owners.

Cheers!
 
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I am impressed with your questions and your open minded attitude about learning from others who have been where you are right now.
I'm quite old school when it comes to this sort of thing— I'm fully aware I'm a newbie and I have no issues admitting it. I'm glad my questions aren't too annoying, as I said I did a lot of research but not everything applied to me, and I'd rather give more context than necessary than have others ask me for additional details before being able to figure out what I'm trying to go for!
I was originally planning to get the bird around Christmas last year, but then I had other unexpected expenses... so I just kept watching videos and reading anything I could. Yesterday morning I felt like I had been watching hours of flight simulator footage, and then finally got into the cockpit of a real 737. :eek:

It sounds as if you already have done an admirable amount of research, but if you are interested click here for some tips that I often share with new P3A/P3P owners.
Wow, that's VERY handy, thanks! It actually answered some questions I didn't know I had. :)
 
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A little update. :) Okay, knowing me this won't be that little but again, I just want to share!

I attempted another flight two days ago, but it went pretty badly. Lots of drift (not sure if due to a badly calibrated IMU or compass), admittedly a bad spot, etc. Two minutes later I landed it and vowed to do more homework.
I spent all of that day and all of yesterday reading here and on the DJI forums, learned more things, and made two checklists: pre-flight and in-flight. (Turns out my father's almost more enthusiastic about this drone stuff so he offered to be a spotter, so I figured I could have him act as my first officer. As a completely off-topic side note: a good way to rekindle that father-son bond, and it's generally nice to share this new adventure with him.) I also spent most of yesterday scouting the fields around me for something empty and flat, and I finally found something not too far from here.

So today after lunch we went there, went through the whole pre-flight checklist — which included exiting beginner's mode, simply because 30 meters altitude is enough but that 30-meter radius is really just too small (I set it to 100 m) and I took off despite the wind. It drifted enough when in low altitude, which made me nervous, but I reminded myself that I had to bring it higher anyway because 1) it would be safer, 2) these things are designed to fly, not to stay low, so I did. And, much to my surprise, the thing hovered. Well, not that perfectly, but the video feed was dead stable, and it atcually *felt* safe. So what if it drifted 2 meters when 15 meters high? There's nothing to hit. I also noted the direction of the aircraft on the map, as @tevek here suggested and as I had tried on the simulator.

What can I say... it was beautiful. I occasionally glanced up to see the bird (I don't think I'll ever get used to how small it becomes even just at 30 m, especially if it's 50-60 m away!), it felt safe. I browsed around the fields, played with the gimbal, left the controls and it just placidly hovered there. I recorded a few clips, I took a few photos (minor bummer: I thought it would be able to snap a photo during video recording but it doesn't, oh well; another minor bummer: they could have added a small pin on the shutter button on the remote to quickly tell it apart just by touch!), and I just generally flew around. The footage isn't that great: 30 meters isn't that high especially on flat land, but I am much more confident. Not as confident as "heck yeah I'll fly anywhere!" just yet of course, but I'm happy because I found a safe place to practice and I genuinely enjoyed the experience. Given that two days ago I was shaking in panic and considering whether this flying business just wasn't for me, today's flight was exactly what I needed. And flying in that wind also helped because at least I have a frame of reference.

Next steps: add some height and maybe some distance, since that place is mostly just fields, and then may be venture out in a more slopey area. Cinematic pans and slides are a long way ahead but hey, I'm flying. And that's pretty much a dream come true.

Once again I want to thank everyone who helped me out, both by replying to me personally and just by posting here on this great forum. If any of you happen to be in central Italy— pizza's on me. :)
 
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