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Phantom - Draft Version of a Best Practices and Checklist

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by NJ_35, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. NJ_35

    Nov 22, 2015
    Likes Received:

    I just picked up a P3 Professional and have to say it's an impressive machine. My first few flights were a disaster and there is a huge amount to learn, and once you pass the basic threshold it's easy to get very cavalier and do things that are, well, not smart. This is the reason drones have such a bad rap - people buy them, get comfortable, then push the limits of the machine with disastrous consequences. As I've read on the forum many times, the manual and documentation are thin to say the least.

    I am taking a very conservative and slow approach to this and wanted to start this thread to share a pre and post flight checklist I've created, which also contains some best practices based on real experiences. Searching this forum I did not see one of these, so there is definitely a need. Here is what I have come up with so far:

    1. Verify remote and battery charge is 100%. No flying with anything less. Check remote battery as well.

    2. Cold weather affects battery life


    a. Potentially unknown or changing weather

    b. Changing ground conditions during flight that may make return difficult

    c. If you have a group of friends that want to see the drone, make sure they give you space. Flying the drone requires concentration. This doesn't mean you cant show people the video on the screen, but make sure you have everything under control before doing so. Also instruct people beforehand that they should not bother you - wait until you give them the signal to talk. And also tell them they have to follow any instructions you give to the letter.​

    4. Verify GPS signal to drone and controller (they are independent). Set home point.

    5. Check the following:

    a. Remove gimbal clamp

    b. Check exterior for cracks, loose screws, etc.

    c. Check props fully, including tightness. Any suspected damage they should be replaced

    d. Check landing gear​

    6. Takeoff area

    a. Level spot with 15’ clear obstructions in all directions – drone will oscillate right after takeoff as it “finds equilibrium”

    b. Level so that drone does not flip on takeoff

    c. No obstructions for at least 20’ vertical

    d. It’s preferred that there is a clear area to reach 200’ elevation without significant horizontal movement

    e. Right after takeoff do a check of all controls and make sure the drone is fully responsive and normal before flying away.​

    7. During flight

    a. GO SLOW! Easy on the stick always

    b. Always know your orientation before you move – the map view can help with this

    c. Stay well within the controller range – use the distance monitor

    d. Stay within clear visual range

    e. When in doubt go up – way up – objects are usually higher than they appear. Distances and angles can easily be distorted. When checking for interference make sure camera is level and not panned down or up

    f. When battery reaches 75% stay closer to home – no long distance

    g. When battery reaches 50% stay no more than 1 min flying time away from home point

    h. When battery reaches 40% stay in an area you can land immediately – within 15 seconds. I've had it go from 40 to critical in under a minute. If you are on the way home and it engages you then have to deal with it and the distraction can cost you seconds. Bottom line is stay clear of a low battery. It's not worth it.

    i. Use return to home as a last resort. You need to be aware of obstacles

    j. Intelligent flight mode is great, but it does not sense obstacles. Think it through 100% before turning on – especially point of interest – there could be something behind you that the drone will circle right into!

    k. Days of high wind use battery power to maintain stability - factor this into your calculations

    l. Remember low flying air traffic and birds. Whenever I hear some sort of air traffic if I can't visually locate it, I head down in altitude quick​

    8. Post Flight

    a. Install gimbal clamp

    b. Reinspect entire drone again as per pre-flight

    i. Props

    ii. Body

    iii. Landing Gear

    iv. Camera and Gimbal
    Any suggestions, comments, questions, etc would be great.
    GoodnNuff likes this.
  2. kphantom

    Sep 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Great checklist! I would add a post flight upload and review of the flight data to healthy drones. There is a lot of detail available, and lots of ability to learn from such review. Health of everything is available, battery, data links, GPS reception, compass, etc. it's well worth the effort.
  3. Bryce

    Jun 13, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Can't wait to get some cheap parts off Craigslist beginning in February or so!!!!
  4. gegetrane

    Dec 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Thanks. Printed it and will edit/report.
  5. kirk2579

    Jan 13, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Girard. ohio

    wont take that long!
  6. Noodle

    Oct 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Sydney, Australia
    Good checklist but I personally won't be inspecting the entire drone and parts after every day of flight because some days I only fly just one battery.
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