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I had a job this morning that was near Disney here in Orlando (job location is approximately 5 miles away). I have an FAA airspace authorization to perform the job. After driving 40 miles to the location, the DJI software determined I was in restricted airspace and would not allow me to take off [insert multiple expletives here]. I followed the necessary steps to unlock the zone through their website. At the end of that process, it still deemed me in restricted airspace and wouldn't let me fly.

For reference, here's the webpage that details the TFR.

http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_4_3634.html

Unless I'm reading it incorrectly, the job I was performing fits within the categories allowed.

So I have 4 questions:

1. How am I supposed to unlock this zone for further operations?

2.  Is there a way to disable the geo-fencing feature to allow the drone to fly when I have legal authorization to do so?

3. Is this just a DJI limitation or do other UAS end-users experience the same problem?

4. Is there a way to determine ahead of time (i.e. before driving 40 miles), that DJI is going to require a ZONE UNLOCK?

 

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Edited by GoneCoastal
added detail about TFR NOTAM

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Oof, that's frustrating. Thanks for sharing your experience here, and hopefully some folks can weigh in with their thoughts / experiences

Here's the relevant section of the TFR for others reading this thread:

ALL AIRCRAFT FLIGHT OPERATIONS, INCLUDING UNMANNED AND REMOTE CONTROLLED AIRCRAFT, ARE PROHIBITED WITHIN A 3 NMR OF 282445N/0813420W OR THE ORL238014.8 UP TO AND INCLUDING 3000FT AGL

At 5 miles from the lat / long point, it seems like you'd be outside the TFR.

Had you calibrated the compass? Was your firmware up to date?

I'm trying to wrap my head around why DJI's software, which is citing the exact TFR you're sharing, would show a different radius / put you inside the TFR like that.

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Sorry to hear about your problems.  No one likes what I have to say about this but that’s what happens when you use a drone developed by a toy drone manufacturer.  The restrictions they place on their technology is antithetical to commercial work.  

A lot of people make all kinds of excuses why this sort of thing happens.  But how many times do people have to experience this before you come to the conclusion you can’t run a business like this? 

DJI gives all sorts of reason for implementing GEO Fencing, they didn’t invent it, most drones have it but DJI is one of the few that have implemented in a way that would disable the drone from arming.  What makes it even worse is how intermittent it is which makes it very difficult to fly missions consistently.  I have a P3Pro that some times arms at the airport and some times it doesn’t.  

DJI is a great innovative company that has the worst execution I’ve ever seen.  The answer to question 4 is no.  You can literally fly a mission just fine one day and the following day in the same location you can’t.  

 

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9 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

Oof, that's frustrating. Thanks for sharing your experience here, and hopefully some folks can weigh in with their thoughts / experiences

Here's the relevant section of the TFR for others reading this thread:

ALL AIRCRAFT FLIGHT OPERATIONS, INCLUDING UNMANNED AND REMOTE CONTROLLED AIRCRAFT, ARE PROHIBITED WITHIN A 3 NMR OF 282445N/0813420W OR THE ORL238014.8 UP TO AND INCLUDING 3000FT AGL

At 5 miles from the lat / long point, it seems like you'd be outside the TFR.

Had you calibrated the compass? Was your firmware up to date?

I'm trying to wrap my head around why DJI's software, which is citing the exact TFR you're sharing, would show a different radius / put you inside the TFR like that.

Allan, yes I had to calibrate the compass as soon as I turned on the drone.

i updated the drone about 3 weeks ago so I can’t imagine the geo-fencing data would be THAT different?

i emailed DJI to get further help with this issue.

Even though I live, relatively, near Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Base, the hub of Orlando and all of Disney, this is the first time I’ve been unable to take off.

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6 hours ago, Av8Chuck said:

Sorry to hear about your problems.  No one likes what I have to say about this but that’s what happens when you use a drone developed by a toy drone manufacturer.  The restrictions they place on their technology is antithetical to commercial work.  

A lot of people make all kinds of excuses why this sort of thing happens.  But how many times do people have to experience this before you come to the conclusion you can’t run a business like this? 

DJI gives all sorts of reason for implementing GEO Fencing, they didn’t invent it, most drones have it but DJI is one of the few that have implemented in a way that would disable the drone from arming.  What makes it even worse is how intermittent it is which makes it very difficult to fly missions consistently.  I have a P3Pro that some times arms at the airport and some times it doesn’t.  

DJI is a great innovative company that has the worst execution I’ve ever seen.  The answer to question 4 is no.  You can literally fly a mission just fine one day and the following day in the same location you can’t.  

 

I agree on some points Chuck. I think predominantly they cater to hobbyists, which inherently leaves professionals needing more.  But overall my experience hasn’t been entirely negative. Granted, their customer service is a joke, but I’ve been able to start and maintain a successful business with their products. This is the only time DJI’s software has grounded one of my operations. :/

 

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To the point of your question the problem is the randomness of the issue.  Your lucky its only happened once. 

Why did it happen at all?  was the drone damaged?  Did you have permission to fly there?  

The very thing you say is a joke, their support, is the very reason your mission failed.  This is a DJI policy GEO Fencing issue which relies totally on their support to grant you permission to fly.  

As a business you should want to add value to your services in a way that your customers are happy to pay what you charge.  They feel they get good value.  As your services get better you can charge more.  Over time you can get to the point where you can charge $10K a day or you earn long term contracts with really good margins.  

Ok it fails once, but that costs you how much?  $10K?  Things break, did it break?  Can you fix it?  What did this mistake cost DJI?  Are they accountable to you?  what if it happens again, how much does that costs?  What's the cost in future business because your customer thinks your an idiot?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying your an idiot but what's your customer going to think when it happens a second time.

It happened to me twice and when I enquired why, and posted my concern on forums, I got a lot of excuses and hack work arounds that ultimately didn't resolve the issue.  Although its only happened to you once so far, what if you had traveled four thousand miles?  

Maybe your shooting real estate for an amount where its really not that big of a risk, more an inconvenience.  In business reputation can be everything and if you want to grow your drone services then you need technology partners that will work with you to help you succeed.  

How does DJI's implementation of GEO Fencing help you?  How does incessantly having to upgrade the firmware on your batteries, controller, GoApp and drone help you?  How does the fact that you can't use a P3 battery in a P4 and that they only produce these models for a short time so you can't really leverage the accessories across their product line help you?   

Sorry for ranting.  

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Email Flysafe at DJI and they should be able to resolve this for you, but if it’s showing as a Red Zone there is nothing you can specifically do to get passed it your self other than getting flysafe to unlock it.

 

just a note after reading you said you unlocked the area on the website did you then go online with the device to sync that unlock data to DJI Go ? If doing via website you just need to make sure that unlock endup at your smartdevice to unlock the craft that’s all.    

 

What Aircraft was this tbh as a matter of interest. 

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On 1/20/2018 at 1:34 PM, Mad_Angler1 said:

Email Flysafe at DJI and they should be able to resolve this for you, but if it’s showing as a Red Zone there is nothing you can specifically do to get passed it your self other than getting flysafe to unlock it.

 

just a note after reading you said you unlocked the area on the website did you then go online with the device to sync that unlock data to DJI Go ? If doing via website you just need to make sure that unlock endup at your smartdevice to unlock the craft that’s all.    

 

What Aircraft was this tbh as a matter of interest. 

Working with flysafe to resolve this now.

As far as unlocking, what I meant was I followed their zone unlocking procedure as far as I could go via their website. But since it came up as a restricted zone, it said there was no unlock available.

This is for a P4P+

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Hi all, got an email from another community member and wanted to copy/paste it into this thread for more background:

Quote

Alan, I read your viewer’s thread about the Disney TFR.  It is a sore subject here in Orlando.  The TFR is not uniform albeit and covers way too much outside of Disney property that we have to turn down jobs.  It was intended to keep aircraft from flying over the attractions.  BTW it doesn’t even cover Animal Kingdom.  Anyway, GoneCoastal needed to apply for a COA not a waiver and then DJI needs to see the COA for the unlock.  I have two of them to fly at Orlando International.  Disney Airops has to approve the flight and then submit that letter to the FAA.   Once approved DJI will unlock.  You can cover the drone with aluminum foil but he better be really good flying in ATTI mode and I would not get caught flying that way in a TFR.   I have tried to get with Disney but without success so we just live with it.  My two cents worth. Always fly legally!

 

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That reply kind of makes you wonder who's in charge of airspace authorization?  

58 minutes ago, Alan Perlman said:

drone with aluminum foil but he better be really good flying in ATTI mode and I would not get caught flying that way in a TFR.

Or you can buy a different drone from a manufacturer that respects your rights as the owner of the drone with a 107 certificate to fly commercially responsibly.

Jus a thought.

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