Best practices for flying Inspire 1 in/around metal buildings


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I was asked to do demo DJI UAVs for a Charity Auction event being held in a Westin Hotel ballroom.  It seemed easy enough, NOT!  Turns out the commercial construction of buildings uses corrugated aluminum/steel floors that they pour cement on to form each floor.  This metal is virtually everywhere.  I could power on the Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 both and walk around the ballroom and found several 3-4' spherical pockets where the metal wasn't interfering with the compass.  The UAVs had plenty of GPS signal.  They were both allocated special WIFI access for the DJI Go App to function.  However, not feeling comfortable with compass interference and the lack of indoor flight experience i opted for plan B.

I Zip tied Phantom 3 to OEM box handle then Duct Tape the Box to the Hotel Staff Serving Tray.  I removed the Propellers and turned on the UAV.  We setup the DJI YouTube Stream and broadcast to the Ballroom Big Screen for all to see while we were on stage presenting.  We had the auction staff hold the serving tray as we fired up the remote camera gimbal and walked the crowd through live camera and narrated all the great feature.  The Event was a huge success even without flight demo.

However, my question is this.   Both these models have positioning systems to monitor the floor.  I have seen CES and Convention demos of both flying in commercial buildings with perfect hover and positioning systems being used.  So how do you get past the compass errors and calibration errors encounters when running pre-flight checks in commercial buildings????

I have had some tell me to use "A" or "F" modes and turn off GPS when inside building so not to get unexpected autonomous maneuvers.  But i am really looking for the best practices method of conducting inside flights. 

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I ran into the same issue while flying in a manufacturing environment, had to use F and was not to happy with the video had close quarters plus drifting around a lot , I also would of been concerned about safety in your situation having many people being present. You did the right thing under the circumstances ,

I think the next time I will do Osmo on a stick with the X5 less nerve wracking and better footage...  Just need to get the new boot for it released.  My 2 cents. Also lots of practice not using GPS helps a bunch. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

If performing indoor flights is a requirement, then spending a lot of ATTI practice time both in simulation and actual flight is a requirement. Even if you have GPS, all that interference will affect GPS mode.

Again, practice makes it perfect, and when in crowded environment, I would rely on a safer method unless you have a barrier keeping everyone from a safe distance in ATTI mode.

Practice, practice, practice!!!

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