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Winter Flying

Chrislaf

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I fly my Spark and Phantom 3 Standard in winter weather frequently (cold temps, light snow) and know about keeping batteries warm, monitoring battery usage, and dressing for the weather. Just wondering if there are any other things I need to factor in that I may not encounter when flying my larger drones. I have only had one quick opportunity to fly my Tello outside in the backyard on a chilly -10ºC day. Everything was fine but I started in the house, flew outside, then came back in to land. I did notice that the VPS seemed to get confused a bit when flying over a snowy area that did not have any features, just the white snow but aside from it not being as stable, it flew fine and was always in control.

Chris
 

DrDrew4

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Bringing electronic from relatively warm and humid environment (indoors) to a relatively cold and dry environment (outdoors) can cause condensation to develop on surface (camera lens) and especially internal chambers that house components.

As the aircraft heats up this should evaporate.

But condensation can also freeze up so don't ignore any error messages.

Enjoy your winter
 

Chrislaf

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I usually don’t have problems with condensation going from warm to cold, but from cold to warm is when condensation occurs. I usually give my drones and cameras time to warm up before reviewing photos. If its really cold and they have been out for a long time, I will usually put them in a plastic bag to let them come to room temps.

The issue I may have more problems with is the VPS getting confused with the snow. With my other 2 drones, the GPS holds position so the snow is a non issue.

Looking forward to flying Tello in winter.

Chris
 

guig1508

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Never had any issue with snow on my side, I use it all winter long last year down to -20ºC. I use a launch pad to take off just to be sure that there is no snow under the drone on the sensor.
 

Chrislaf

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Never had any issue with snow on my side, I use it all winter long last year down to -20ºC. I use a launch pad to take off just to be sure that there is no snow under the drone on the sensor.
Thanks for the info. The only flight I did outside in the backyard was after a fresh blanket of snow, so there was no texture at all and the VPS seemed to be having trouble holding position. Most of the time flying over snow there is some texture so the VPS should be ok in those cases.

Chris
 

Chrislaf

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Today, I did 4 flights on snow covered X-country ski trails and a snowmobile trail under overcast skies and a temperature of about 1ºC. I had trouble with the Tello holding position and at one point got a message saying that VPS was off and that I should land immediately. This was when the Tello was over snow that was featureless. It was a bit better when it was over snow that had texture like the X-country track or the skidoo track. I was quite surprised at how unstable Tello had become and have to wonder if the overcast sky caused the VPS to have trouble. The average wind speed was 4km/h with gusts up to 9km/h, so the wind wasn't that much. Landing on a large landing pad was also difficult and I had trouble holding the Tello steady to land on the pad (at one point it missed and landed in the packed snow.

I tried to see how far I could go before my signal dropped - I figure I went out about 50m before the WiFi signal got too low, nowhere near the 100m that is advertised. I have a WiFi extender ordered so hopefully when it comes in that will help out.

Earlier in the day I was taking video of my son X-country skiing and I know I had recording selected and on (the counter was recording the time) but when I went to review the video there was none. This happened 3 times. Needless to say I was very disappointed. Not sure what happened but when I got home and tried it in the house it worked fine. I'm using an iPhone XR with everything updated so maybe there is some sort of problem. I'll have to try with my old iPhone 7 and see what happens. Anyway, I'll get this sorted through trial and error.

Chris
 

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