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DJI Phantom Firmware - Airport No-Fly Zones

Drone flight just got a little safer.

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DJI curtails rogue pilots

In an effort to reduce the number of foolish intentional and unintentional flights around airports (and the subsequent videos posted online), DJI has introduced the latest firmware update for the Phantom that effectively prevents the little white drone from getting too close to manned aircraft entering and exiting what DJI refers to as "Category A and B" airports. The reality is that these are mostly busy airports in class B and class C airspace; large international airports are usually class B, while slightly small regional airports usually fall into class C airspace.

The firmware actually allows flight into the defined airspace ring, but limits altitude gradually as you get closer, until no flight is allowed. For instance in Category A (referring to large international airports) the boundary starts at 5 miles (8100 meters) from the airport. The Phantom Vision App on your smartphone (assuming your running one) will alert you that you have entered a no-fly zone, but height is not limited until you come within 4.9 miles (8000 meters). At this point your Phantom will not fly higher than 393 feet (120 meters). As you get closer, the ceiling reduces until you reach 1.5 miles (2400 meters) and a maximum altitude limit of 34 feet (10.5 meters). Any distance inside of 1.5 miles and the Phantom will not start or fly, assuming it has a GPS signal. Category B airport no-fly zones are a bit smaller at 2000 meters and 1000 meters, respectively.

Below is a map excerpt from DJI's website showing the difference in boundaries from Category A and B no-fly zones.

Below is a video explaining the no-fly zone firmware update. Notice all the thumbs down votes and comments from angry "pilots" wanting the freedom to operate near full-scale airports.

A link to DJI's Fly-Safe webpage

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Apr 25, 2014 at 07:59 PM..

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Old Apr 26, 2014, 07:58 PM
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Interesting
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Old Apr 26, 2014, 10:50 PM
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This is one of many reasons why I don't buy DJI stuff anymore. I go with a different brand from now on. I am sure many others will do the same. I wonder how many more restrictions DJi will preload on their FCs in the future. Would have been smarter to fix the fly away bug first, than to preload restrictions. Heck you can't even start the motors in your own house if you live close to an airport.
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 12:08 AM
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"Drone flight just got a little safer"

More restrictive yes. Safer no.
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 02:41 AM
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i can see the pros and cons of this both ways, but the big picture is just restricting idiots from flying into an airport's airspace.
No you cant test fly in your home with an airport nearby.. id rather it be that than some noob photographer with a phantom flying into an airplane any day and causing immiediate legislation banning all mulitcopters.
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 03:44 AM
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I suppose DJI are targeting the kind of person who doesn't really have much RC experience (possibly the type who would fly dangerously). The rest of us would know to just select Atti mode (with no GPS) or even just disconnect the GPS module if you want to test inside or in your back garden near an airport.

Perhaps this is harder on a Phantom, but if they ever introduce it to the Naza standalone units then a disconnect is easy.
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 02:28 PM
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I for one think this is a very positive idea. I just happen to work for the "Big Bad" FAA, and I for one have been given assignments the past couple of months to chase down fellow RC flyers. While I hate doing it, there is a need when dummies get to close to actual aircraft or in close proximity trying to catch that 15 min of fame on stupidtube! Remember folks, its not all about our enjoyment and freedom to fly where and when we want....and believe it or not its not yhe FAA trying to take said freedoms away. It's about keeping the PUBLIC safe from incursions. Please be smart and fly responsibly!!
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 03:49 PM
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Firmware to Stop FAA Violations

To me, this seems brilliant. Rest assured, the FAA will soon be working to restrict the use of UAV's and this bit of self regulation is a perfect form of partnership between hobbiests, manufacturers and commercial aerial videographers.
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 06:48 PM
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I just happen to work for the "Big Bad" FAA,.It's about keeping the PUBLIC safe from incursions.
Yeah right, anything to keep the kids safe.
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 08:23 PM
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Good! Good! Finally something to control curious noobies and non-rc photographer. I fully support this since we got local noob wrecking havoc on DJi over public places. *I'm not a fan of Dji anyways.
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Made in Austria View Post
This is one of many reasons why I don't buy DJI stuff anymore. I go with a different brand from now on. I am sure many others will do the same. I wonder how many more restrictions DJi will preload on their FCs in the future. Would have been smarter to fix the fly away bug first, than to preload restrictions. Heck you can't even start the motors in your own house if you live close to an airport.
Excellent idea; a good start in keeping the idiots from flying close to airports. And please spare me the "DJI flyaway" rhetoric; it's been proven again and again that the vast majority of "flyaway" problems are operator error and not a result of faulty firmware.
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Old Apr 27, 2014, 11:21 PM
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Yeah right, anything to keep the kids safe.
And in come the clowns....above.
Its about keeping EVERYONE safe. I fully support this hobby and love to fly and film like the next person. Like what was quoted before...wait till the first one get hit by a plane and see how fast legislation comes to be. Maybe you'll be on that one Econovan, then you can report to us about how safe you feel.
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Old Apr 28, 2014, 11:56 AM
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its not against the law to be stupid ....
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Old Apr 28, 2014, 01:01 PM
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if it works well and doesn't impact the safe honest pilots, then I applaud DJI for doing this.

Also conceivable that governments could try and force companies like DJI to widely expand the restrictions to include, say, all deep urban, all suburbs over 500ft, and perimeter around government building, national parks, etc. That probably will not happen, but now the tech is in place, who knows where the future will take us. We hobbyists can always choose APM to get back the freedom.

I also wonder if we need to get more serious about establishing our own FPV assocations to lobby for FPV rights on one hand, but also to self-police the rogue pilots who do fly into ClassC airspace and such ugly nonsense.
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Old Apr 29, 2014, 04:24 PM
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Good idea.
Now they work on a software that prevent anyone to fly DJI phantom in New york city, we remember a guy who take off from his balcony and lost control
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