Harrowing Weather Conditions and the DJI Phantom

We all know the ideal conditions for flying a Phantom, or any UAV for that matter. I want to share a story with you, from flying the DJI Phantom, that underscore exactly why I feel the Phantom is such an incredibly solid platform. There are times when for a varying reasons, there is time pressure around getting filming accomplished, or needing to fly a UAV for any utility purpose. The picture of the flag is from not far from the shoot location, and literally about to rip from it’s seams.

Weather Conditions at Shot Location:

  • Winds: 300 @ 22 knots, gusting 32 knots (25 mph, gusting 37 mph).
  • Temp: 22, with the windchill, “feels like” 6. Yep, 6.

From the minute of takeoff, I was fighting the winds. I was using GPS mode, in an attempt to fight the wind, and keep the Phantom in roughly the same location. That said, there were several times, where it took FULL CONTROL DEFLECTION to hold the Phantom in roughly the same position. Even with full control deflection, there was still drift. Just about the time I was feeling this was going to be unproductive, the winds relented for a couple minutes. During those few minutes, using the Go Pro Hero 3 Black, I managed to get 72 photos. I landed the Phantom smoothly, and with completely numb fingers, pulled the battery out, while being quite impressed; impressed enough to share this experience.

While I understand the Phantom has limitations, and in full disclosure, just ordered a DJI S800, there are some real strengths to it’s design. In high wind conditions, it seems to me, that the Phantom’s plastic body, reduces the parasitic and form drag. On a windy day like this, I would take have more confidence in flying a Phantom versus any other UAV. So, bravo zulu to the DJI team for a well engineered UAV.

Onwards and upwards.

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