body, html {font-family: 'Open Sans', sans-serif;} #nav a, #nav{font-family: 'Open Sans', sans-serif;} #title #tagline {font-family: 'Open Sans', sans-serif;} #main .gridItem h3 {font-family: 'Open Sans', sans-serif;}

A new hobby started: Drone!

I was already thinking about drones since years. But during the last days I stepped a little bit deeper…

If you want some high quality in flight mode and in video quality as well, you can forget all the cheap ones. Due to the fact the don’t have GPS and a lot of sensors on borard you’ll need a lot of time to have them in a stable flight condition. And just when you succeeded, the batterie is empty after 7 - 12 minutes. So you have to spend a lot more.

But have a look to this video on YouTube:

Isn’t that exciting? Taking movies in 4k!

Initially I have planned to refresh my old iPhone SE with the new iPhone X. But now I decided to wait up to autum 2018 because

  • The price of the X is very high and the Apple exchange rate is naughty - as ever.
  • I fear, there will be a lot of quality issues with the first batches because Apple is pushing the production dramatically even if the waste rate is incredible.
  • My SE is still running fine.

By not spending the money for the iPhone X, there was some room for a drone. And finally I decided to buy the one which was used for the video above. Not exactly, because I’ll put 100€ in addition on the table to have the brand new one DJI Mavic Pro Platinum. Here’re some pictures:

Two of the main reasons why I’ve decided for this one you can see at the picture above: It’s foldable, so you can easily take it with you. And you can see the 4k video cam.

This is as it looks like, when ready to fly.

Again a view on the 4k camera.

Because I hate to start with some stuff missing, I’ve bought the „Mavic Pro Platinum fly more combo“ bundle...

… which is adding a bag, 2 additional batteries, a charger for the car, a power supply which is able to chage all batteries in parallel and some other stuff. All in all I’ve spent a little bit more than $1.900. My bank account is crying (and my wife too…)!

But what’s the difference you’ll get for this price? Here’re some answers:

  • A solid device, not cheap plastic
  • GPS and a lot of sensors are keeping the drone stable. If you’ll say „2m up“, it will go 2m up and stay there. Whatever the wind is.
  • If it’s far away you can tell the drone „Come back“. And it will. Automatically. First guided by GPS and finally by a 3D picture of the starting point. A little bit equal as the new FaceID with Apple’s iPhone X.
  • It has a lot of sensors which avoids the drone crashing with a hill or tree or whatever. Lets assume the drone is flying 2m high and you’re asking, it should return, but between it’s current position and the starting point is a small hill of 5m. It won’t crash. It will go up when reaching the hill and go down, after passing it.
  • You can define a point of interest and a radius. The drone will automatically fly around that point in the given radius taking pictures or a movie from that circle.
  • When the battrie will become low, the drone is returning automatically. The threshold for „low batterie“ you can define by yourself.
  • You can tap on a point, where the drone sould go and it will to it automatically and passing all barricades on the way.
  • Also you can define something (a person walking, a car driving not too fast) and the drone will follow automatically. The maximum speed is 75 km/h (47 mph). That’s a lot….
  • Partly you can operate the drone by gestures, not using the remote control (Part of the remote control will be your iPhone - Andoid devices are also supported).
  • and a lot more…

DJI, one of the world leading drone companies from China, presented the new Platinum model during the IFA2017 in Berlin beginning of September 2017. After a few days they went out of stock. All German suppliers incl. Amazon are saying „will come in November or December“. When I’ve discovered on Wednesday that it was back in the German DJI store, I’ve hit the „buy button“. Delivery time should be 12 - 19 days. So I hope, it will arrive during the first half of November… 

Here’re some pictures taken by that drone (not by me):

When I’ll received my drone, I’ll start a blog just here...

Update 10/21/2017

I received this night this eMail from Dave Wagner, another great American cache builder:

This eMail pointed to a direction, I wasn’t aware of: Preloading a lot of waypoints the drone will fly to, one after the other. And there’s also the possibility to let the drone do certain things, when reaching the waypoint. I found the DJI Ground Station Pro app for iPad and already installed it on my iPad Pro. But now I needed a holder to mount the iPad (and not the iPhone) to the DJI remote control. I’ve just ordered this one from Amazon to be prepared when my drone will arrive:

Next step will be to define waypoints by my own…

Update 10/23/2017

First: I found some other great videos (out of thousands…) and I’m linking here some of them: On Youtube you can watch some of them in 4k!

… and a movie about Hamburg is a must:

And this is about the countryside nearby in late summer when the erica is blooming:

Meanwhile… I continued spending money… After a lot of investigation in the web, I’ve ordered in addition:

  • A starting pad (because the distance between surface and the camera are only some few milimeters)

  • A landing gear extension (for the same reason)

  • A gimbal protection 

  • A protection of the remote control

  • A very expensive set of filters (because the Mavic lacks of an aperture and at bright sun the shutter speed wouldn’t be optimal causing flickering of the videos taken)

I think, now I’m really prepared...

Update 11/5/2017

On 11/1 I wrote an eMail to DJI. The status of my order is still the same: My payment was validated on 10/18, but the order isn’t shipped. One day later I received an answer, telling me, DJI would start shipping that week in the order, they received the orders. I’ve ordered just one day later as it was available in their store. So I hope, I’ll receive a shipping notification quite soon.

Update 11/12/2017

I’m still waiting for the drone to arrive, but I have no clue when it will be. It seems shippment has started (in order of the orders), but unfortunately the delivery time of the Platinum Combo is still 20-25 business days, if I would order today:

But meanwhile I’ve discovered that my nephew „Basti“ is since September this year owning a Magic Pro and shared a lot of hints with me. Here’s a video (hosted at Vimeo) showing some impressions from Usedom (the most eastern island of Germany located in the Baltic Sea) filmed with his drone. 

While waiting for my drone arriving, I nearly finished my latest cache „Flashing Lights“ and printed some stuff with my 3D printer.

Update 11/16/2017 

Since yesterday my drone is on its way to me. It started in Shenzhen, China, whe DJI is located. The status is unchanged since roughly 24 hours, so I think, its on the way from China to Europe:

I guess, it will arrive here on Monday.

Update 11/16/2017 

Arrived in Europe!!!

Update 11/17/2017 

Arrived in Germany!!!

Stay tuned! 

And now the blog starts...

03/25/2018: Last flight of my first Mavic Platinum Pro

My colleague Frank asked me to take a video from the nest they prepared for a stork on a field nearby an old water mill they’re restoring since years. At the end I’ve visited the mill and was very existed, especially about the large gears, all made of wood. 

All went quite well, but after the two takes shown in this video, I wanted to perform a flight over the lakes of the old mill. But unfortunately I made 3 mistakes:

  1. I choosed a place under trees, so no automatic „Return To Home“ would be possible. I let the drone fly in roughly 3 meters hight through a wide opening of the bushes around the lake.
  2. Suddenly I wasn’t able to see the drone. Eben it was in front of the bushes on the other side of the lake, I coudn’t see it. I turned the drone into my direction to start flying back. I should have done nothing for some minutes but started thinking. Unfortunately I didn’t
  3. I flew back into my direction, but I didn’t noticed the altitude on my DJI CrystalSky pad. Suddenly the screen became black and white, frezzed and I’ve got the notice „connection lost“. Instead flying into my direction I must made my drone a submarine.

Even when the 4k movies are stored on a SD card inside the drone, the movies are also stored in 720p on the CS pad. I used that for the movie below.

I’ve ordered a new Mavic, SD card and some other stuff and all arrived already. But 1,250 Euro are gone with the wind. 

2nd flight on 12/02/2017

Yesterday the weather forecast for the afternoon was fine for flying, so I left my office already at 1:15 pm to drive home and to perform my second flight. After driving back roughly 10 minutes it started raining. So nothing was done on Friday.

Today I had an appointment at my dentist at 10:30 am. So I did all the errands quite early, drove to the dentist and after that back to our home. I’ve fetched the drone to perform a training my French boss (also owning a drone since some weeks but being very experienced with remote controlled model cars) proposed to me. I chosed a location very nearby of our flat:


But I didn’t only trained flying „8“, I also took some video clips:

By clicking onto the YouTube button, you can watch in 4k.

After roughly 30 minutes my hands became frozen so I needed to finish. All next week it will be too windy and me quite busy. So I don’t know when the 3rd fly will happen…

Maiden flight 25.11.2017

Sometimes the luck is with you… All the days before the weather was awful. Today it started very foggy and I was quite upset, because my colleague Guenter would visit me at 2pm, to prepare the maiden flight with me. If the weather would be fine, we decided to perform it.

At 1pm the fog disappeared, there was no rain, no wind and blue skies. So we did the maiden flight. Here’s a movie about it.

As ever: By clicking onto the YouTube button, you can watch in 4k.

For the first flight I decided to use the propeller protectors and also the gimbal protector. Now I need to train myself and sometimes the protectors will stay in the cupboard…

2017/11/24: Preparation

Yesterday was only less time so when I tried to connect remote and iPad with the Magic I was totally frustrated. Nothing worked. 

Today I left my office a little bit earlier and worked on it again. Maybe it was a mistake to read the manual more than 3 times. Now I did it step by step. First I discovered that I have to select WLAN or RC at the Mavic. I switched to WLAN and connection via WLAN worked immediately. 

I dicided to hold the Mavic from below and tapped on „Start“ on the iPad. I wasn’t aware of the power, when the drone tried to lift up. But due to the fact, it wasn’t starting, tapping on „Land“ didn’t worked. What to do? Waiting 30 minutes up to the batterie would be empty? Impossible!! So I decided to carefully remove the batterie. Not so easy because of the propellers… At the end I was successful but my fingers came in touch with the propellers more than once. I discovered that the propellers are very, very sharp and much stronger than my fingers. After having the drone unpowered I need some tape for my fingers. After that I cleaned my desk from all the blood. Lesson learned: I’ll never do again!

After that I switched the Mavic to „RC“, cabled the iPad to the remote control and powered it on. Immediately there was a connection. I tried the remote and brought the Mavic less than 2 inches up. Landing was a full success. But the height hasn’t been spectacular…

Tomorrow my colleague will visit me and maybe the weather will offer conditions for a maiden flight.

©  Olaf Goette 2008 - 2020