Mavic Pro, Commercial Use Ready?

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I just passed my Part 107 Remote Pilot exam. I am now rethinking my choice of a drone for commercial purposes.

I'm from the software industry. I've told people for years that you don't go out and buy a computer, unless you are a standard consumer needing the Microsoft suite of software. In industry, you first determine what kind of software you will be running and then back into your computer/hardware decisions.

Now, I am running up against my own advice when it comes to choosing a drone.  I have been studying the markets available to me in my area and the potential competition. I would like to be able to drive a stake in the ground and say I'm going after the real-estate, surveying, agriculture, etc. or a combination of markets. If I had a high degree of certainty of my market(s), I could back into my drone choice and processing software more easily. Also, I also need a drone that allows me to be nimble and able to respond to new or changing market conditions.  

I do not have that high degree of certainty of my markets. As a result, I have a problem backing into a drone decision.

So I am approaching my problem from another direction. Is there a drone on the market that is versatile enough and has the ruggedness or stamina to service many markets or market niches? If there is such a drone, then my lack of clear market targets are less of a problem.

I am re-looking at the Mavic Pro.

It certainly seems versatile enough. However, does it have the stamina to be able to sustain a rugged duty cycle? No, I can't easily define what is a 'rugged duty cycle' either. That is tough to quantify since it will vary by market, size/scope of job, and the number of jobs you might have on any given day or week.

I also recognize that I will probably need more than one drone to remove some of the load on any one drone.

But let's throw something against the wall. Say the Mavic Pro had to be in the air 2-3 hours a day with time off between flights to cool off the motors. Assuming, only 20 minutes/battery that would be 6-9 batteries/day. Can this drone handle that level of usage and still provide reliable service?

I have never burned out a brush-less motor on my drones except when I used them as a Weed Wackers. I have no experience with the Mavic Pro or for that matter any other DJI drone.

I just know that if my drone is not in the air, it is not producing revenue. The ratio of time in the air to the time on the bench or being serviced elsewhere has to be very high.

So to me the value of this Community, is to help me answer these kinds of questions that I can't answer with my own experience.

Based on your experience, do you have an opinion as to whether or not the Mavic Pro can handle the time in the air requirements stated above for the markets that you serve?

What markets do you serve? How many hours a day or week is your Mavic Pro in the air?

Is there anyone out there who has flown 200 flights or logged 50 hours in the air on one Mavic Pro without a major failure? This question is not just addressed to commercial drone pilots. There are heavy recreational flyers out there.

Some of my other concerns:
DJI seems to have a history of poor customer service based on my lurking in DJI forums. I understand that for an annual fee I can purchase DJI Care Refresh and that I would get priority responses from DJI Support. There is no definition of 'priority support'.

In their terms and conditions, it doesn't state how long it will take to get my drone replaced under their insurance plan. Plus there are caveats that would allow them to decline coverage. Support concerns me.

Please share your experience with standard support and/or the DJI Care Refresh, drone replacement program?

I have read of three potential issues with the Mavic Pro. They may or may not be describing the same issue.

CEO of DroneDeploy said,
"We’ve noted an issue with exposure, but I’m sure this will be fixed in short order."

One Mavic Pro critic wrote on a forum:
"The Mavic Pro has a problem with focusing where some parts of the video are blurred where other parts on the video are in sharp focus, this is a terrible flaw unsure if software issue or fault with the (???) lems ,,,this can be seen on you tube, I am unsure if this has been fixed by DJI. As to date there is no updates with this problem, I will not buy one,, inspire is a better flagship." January 2017

Digital Trends:
"The only real flaw we could find on the machine was its 3-axis gimbal assembly. It’s impressively small and compact, but it’s also held in place with four small rubber bands that seem to be a bit fragile. If one of these bands snaps (which happened to our review unit while it was in the previous user’s possession), the camera will have trouble stabilizing itself, which ultimately means you’ll end up with shaky, “Jello-effect” video footage. That’s really the only design flaw we could find though — everything else on the Mavic is well-built and designed to last."  March 2017. 

My comment: This may just mean that the rubber bands need preventative maintenance and replaced more frequently. Potentially not a big deal.

Have you experienced any of these issues? If so, has DJI fixed the problem(s) or promised a date when they will be fixed?

With great complexity comes, potentially, great vulnerability. The Mavic Pro has incredible functionality but is it rugged and reliable enough for sustained commercial use?
What is your experience with the ruggedness and reliability of the Mavic Pro? How many hours of flight time are you basing your observations on?

I appreciate any and all feedback.

I am hoping that Alan's post trip report on the Mavic Pro may help shed some light on these questions. I'm sure he will be burning through batteries.


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