Safety guide for using DJI drones on ships

ByAdan Flannigan 2019-12-05 795

The prospect of flying over water can be frightening for most drones pilots. Water environments are often full of potential dangers such as boats, waves, strong winds and even birds. Although DJI does not encourage flying over water, sometimes professional aerial photographers and videographers have to do exactly that. Therefore, this article offers constructive advice on what you can do before and during the flight out of the water to ensure safety.

Safety guide for using DJI drones 

Abnormalities on ship flying DJI drones

● Takeoff side flight

After taking off, the drone cannot hover relative to the operator like the ground, because the relative movement of the ship shows a tendency to fly sideways relative to the operator standing on the ship. If it is not handled properly, it may fly away from people on board, causing personal injury.

● Take-off drift

There are many iron objects on ships, and drones are susceptible to magnetic field interference, which causes drift problems.

● Take off or land into the water

Drones take off or land near the ship's edge, and the aircraft is liable to fall into the water when the takeoff is unstable.

● Unable to return

The home point recorded when the drone takes off is no longer a point that does not move relative to the operator, and will move away from the operator as the ship moves. If the home point is not set properly, the drone will not be able to return to home. If the wind is too strong, the drone may not be able to catch up with the speed of the ship, resulting in failure to return to the sea.

Tips for flying DJI drone on ship

● Ensuring sufficient power

Ensure sufficient power to prevent the aircraft from automatically landing in the water due to insufficient power. It should be started with the vessel steady, because the drone has a flight control self-test process after power-on. The self-test process will cooperate with multiple sensor modules, such as IMU, GPS module, and barometer.

● Turn off vision positioning system

If the ship is moving, the speed measured by the visual positioning system will be inconsistent with the speed measured by GPS, and the visual positioning system works poorly on the water. Therefore, the visual positioning system needs to be turned off to ensure the accuracy of the speed observation of the navigation system.

● Calibration compass

You can calibrate the compass on the shore first, or you can calibrate it on the ship (say on a big ship). Be sure to ensure that the compass is successfully calibrated.

● Check the compass status through the app and confirm the amount of interference

Place the drone in different directions to see the amount of interference

Lift the drone from the ground at the same height as the shoulders, and check the amount of interference

If at the take-off point, the compass interference amount is green in different directions and heights, you can confirm that there is no obvious interference at the take-off point, otherwise you need to find the take-off point again

After finding the take-off point, turn on the power again, and then you must wait for the GPS star to be taken off.

● The operator stands upstream of the drone (ship speed direction is upstream)

After taking off, the drone has a tendency to measure the flight in the opposite direction to the speed of the ship, making people safer upstream.

● Set the dynamic home point

If your drone has this function, just in case, it is recommended that you still set a dynamic home point to ensure the return function under abnormal conditions (normally, manual return is strongly recommended)

If this function is not available, it is recommended to do a few short-distance manual return home landing exercises.

● Make sure the blades are not installed

This may be exaggerated, but it really happens. It will drop into the water when taking off, which is much greater than the loss on the ground during takeoff. 

Notice: if you can consider hand picking, but you need to pay close attention; in addition, it is really very difficult to land on the boat, leaving more power for more attempts.

 You may also want to read:
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