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Old 09 December 2015, 05:31   #1
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Using a Zodiac rib to fly a drone

Takeoff is easy, the more problematic is the recovery, if the boat has moved off from the starting point , the button back home does not work because you are commanded to where there is not longer the boat, if you can not anchor , is delicate.
Find the boat without a reference point at sea can be difficult and it is very possible to lose the drone in the water.

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Old 09 December 2015, 06:32   #2
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Nice video!

I've had drones deploy from the willkcraft on a couple of occasions when at sea. As you say, takeoff is easy but the recoveries were more exciting. We lower the antennae, bring crew forward and send the catcher aft to grab the "snitch"
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Old 09 December 2015, 09:46   #3
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If you have an APM based autopilot, the latest version has a 'follow me' mode where the the position of your smart phone is exchanged over the telemetry and it follows that.

I use a Tesco Hudl as a controller and just click on the map at my current position and it comes 'home' at the specified altitude. Not sure I'd want to try it on a boat.
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Old 09 December 2015, 15:06   #4
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Watched Dubrus do this in Loch Lomond.

He made it look sooooooo easy !!!!!

Then I saw what he could do with an RC helicopter
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Old 21 December 2015, 08:33   #5
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I've flown off the Rib too but in anything other than calm conditions it can be challenging to get it within hand catching range. Falling overboard is a serious risk while focussing too much on the snarling heap of cash which is probably on reserve battery and going down!

Catching it is best done at the bow to clear A-frame , console, VHF, etc, but the bow will react more vertically to chop/wavelets and laterally to any wind while if the bird is moved by the wind you haven't much scope to step smartly in any direction to compensate. Well you can, but getting back.... There's usually not much to hold on to in the bow either when standing up and often a CQR or similar to trip you up anyway.

It's also difficult to get away from chunks of metal and electrical cables to carry out a good compass calibration or to have it stable and level as the flight controller initialises.

As return home accuracy is a patch of at least 3metres square it's wise to reset the home point with the bird hovering over terra firma. That way if all else fails and Return-to-Home is triggered there's at least some chance it can be found on dry land -no matter how hard it might be to get at it. None of this will help if a mile offshore or if if you use it to chase a moving boat in a straight line as it quickly won't have the battery to get back to the home point.

Overall I find it way too nerve wracking unless conditions are truly calm- both wind and water! If you do want to try it use near new batteries and bring it back for retrieval with 50% battery left as you might be surprised how many approaches it could take to catch it. And make sure you keep yourself and the boat in shot during retrieval, at worst you get a YouTube moment out of it!
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Old 21 December 2015, 16:35   #6
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New regulations have been enforced here in Aus due to accidents which have happened in the UK flying them. According to yesterday's news record sales of them for this Xmas period have forced authorities to clamp down on there use.

Loss of the drone and a $9000 fine if caught breaking the rules, I also believe you will now need a licence for them.

Jon
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Old 21 December 2015, 16:42   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonp View Post
Loss of the drone and a $9000 fine if caught breaking the rules, I also believe you will now need a licence for them.
Same here - but they'll have to catch me first...
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Old 21 December 2015, 17:07   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willk View Post
Nice video!

I've had drones deploy from the willkcraft on a couple of occasions when at sea. As you say, takeoff is easy but the recoveries were more exciting. We lower the antennae, bring crew forward and send the catcher aft to grab the "snitch"
Shit! That one's had the fella's hair off!
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Old 29 March 2016, 04:44   #9
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Celebrating my first 100 KM flights over the sea (new clips with my DJI Phantom 3 Professional at sea) and still alive!



Many thanks to Diego Mecha (Kawasaki rider)
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