My Drone Landing Solution (on a moving boat):
Drone footage is some of the coolest video footage you can get, and when it’s of a boat out on the water it can really help convey the feeling of what it’s like to be out there. The problem is that it’s hard to land a drone on a moving boat, especially a sailboat. There’s just not a lot of room, and there aren’t a lot of places where something isn’t in the way. Add to that the constant movement of the boat, the invisible nature of the wind, and the unpredictability of waves and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a drone disaster!
But still, drone footage of a sailboat underway is just too compelling to ignore. All that’s needed is a simple way to significantly reduce the risk of losing the drone, damaging the boat, and injuring people – no problem! In this video, I tackle that problem so that I’ll be able to include drone footage in my future videos. The solution is simple and explained in terms that even I can understand. 😉
The criteria I set for the drone landing solution included the following:
- The solution could not affect the flight characteristics of the drone.
- It had to be light enough so as to not significantly affect the performance of the drone.
- It had to be simple and something I could do by myself at a reasonable cost.
- It needed to be removable and not permanently alter the drone in any way.
With those criteria in mind, I went in search of solutions already available, commercially and DIY. I remembered seeing something, for just a split second, while watching a video on one of my favorite YouTube channels: Sailing SV Delos. In it, there appeared to be a PVC tube extending from the base of the drone downward about 2 feet like a handle. That solution presented an interesting possibility: the drone wouldn’t have to be landed on the boat at all, only caught from the air by grabbing the handle!
What you’ll see in this video is a simple solution that took about 2 hours to make, and whose materials added up to roughly $11. Sure, it’s not pretty, but it works and can easily be replicated. The solution is specific to the DJI Magic Pro, but can easily be adapted to other drone models, particularly folding drones. If I get enough likes on this video, I’ll try to come up with something using a 3-D printer that looks a bit more professional!