DJI Drones : Safety Checklist For Over Water Flight
There are many dramatic photographic shots and videos that have been taken over water using drones. Photographers and cinematographers alike for years have mastered low flying angles using drones very close to the water of lakes, rivers and oceans. Narrow depth of field and compressed backgrounds has made it even more popular. Professional and amateurs alike are drawn to the special kind of footage they can achieve flying the drone very low over water.
Water environments are often filled with potential hazards such as boats, waves, high winds and birds. There are also several precautions that are important to consider when planning a flight over water. Your drones vision positioning system, updating your home point manually and understanding your drones care protection program are several of them.
1. VPS & Distance From The Water’s Surface
All DJI drones come equipped with VPS, vision positioning system, a technology that maps the surface below to help position the drone. When flying over water, however, light reflecting off the surface can cause issues with this technology. Because of this, it’s best to maintain a height of at least two meters above the water. If you must fly below this height for a special shot, we recommend you turn off the VPS to avoid any unstable actions by the drone. Be aware that the minimum height above the water must be at least one meter to be safe along with slower speed for maximum control.
2. Updating Your Home Point
Another hazard, that might seem silly, is adjusting your home point if you are launching from a boat. There have been many drones that have been lost because after shooting a shot or video, the pilot tells the drone to come “home”. The problem is “home” is where it took off and it is not where the boat is currently. The drone goes back to where it took off and lands in the water. It is important to update the “home point” to be where the controller currently is, not the launch site, when launching from a boat.
3. Crash Protection
Lastly, most DJI drones come with an included or purchased care program. These programs usually cover 2 crashes in a one-year period. For a small deductible, DJI will replace the entire drone. These are very good packages to have. However, the drone must be recoverable. If it goes in the pond and sinks to the bottom, you are out of luck. Know your coverage and if your private or business insurance will cover the loss.
As always, I am happy, at any time, to discuss any questions you may have about getting started with drones, getting your part 107 certificate or just the features of the various drones available and which model would be best for you.
Take care and stay safe!