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DJI Spark – Flying in ATTI Mode

Should I fly in ATTI mode? The simple answer is “YES!”, but as with everything, there is a time and place.

ATTI mode (otherwise known as ATTITUDE mode) is the mode your Spark will fly in when neither a GPS or the Vision System are available.

Whilst flying in ATTI mode the following is disabled:

  • VPS (Vision Positioning System)
  • GPS
  • Various Advanced Features

Now I can tell you already have a few questions before I explore ATTI mode further, so here goes:

What is the VPS?

If you flip over your Spark and look underneath you will see three circles in the shape of a triangle.

The single point is the camera and the other two circles is the 3d infrared module.

The VPS uses the 3d infrared module and the image data to help the aircraft maintain its current position, enabling precision hovering indoors or in environments where GPS signal is not possible.

Note: Make sure you keep these sensors clean at all times.

What are the limitations of the VPS system?

The VPS has several limitations and only works within the following parameters:

  • Flying less than 22 mph
  • Flying at an altitude of less than 8m
  • Flying within a 30m range of the controller
  • Above surfaces with clear patterns and adequate lighting (LUX > 15)

Did you know the VPS can also restrict your maximum flight altitude?

. . . but it’s for your own good!

When GPS signal is weak, and the VPS is activated, maximum flight altitude is restricted to 5m. If the VPS is inactive then you’ll be limited to 30m.

How do I know if I’m flying in P Mode with GPS or VPS?

This is a time when those status lights on the back of your Spark are particularly useful.

  • Slow green flashing – You are in P Mode with GPS
  • Two green flashes – You are in P mode with Vision System

Note: P Mode (Positioning Mode) is the ‘standard’ mode you’ll be flying in when not in ATTI

What is it like when flying in ATTI mode?

OK, back to the purpose of this article . . . ATTI mode . . .

When you are flying in ATTI mode you are at the mercy of your surroundings (to a degree).

The Sparks barometer will still work and therefore the altitude will remain stable, however, expect the drone to move horizontally together with the surrounding air – known as wind drift.

In addition the controls of the Spark will change behaviour slightly. Whilst flying with GPS functionality (P Mode) the inputs on the controls are transferred to horizontal movements with corresponding speeds, however, in ATTI mode the inputs on the controls are transferred to a corresponding flight angle – tilt. For example, push the control up and your Spark will tilt forward to something like 15 degrees.

Sound reasonable? There is one other BIG factor you need to understand when in ATTI mode . . . there will be no auto-brake functionality.

When in P Mode (Positioning Mode) if you let go of the controls the Spark automatically stops at an incredible rate, however, in ATTI mode the drone will continue to move in the same direction by inertia with decreasing speed . . . therefore, it is up to YOU to safely stop the drone if needed sooner.

So, why should I fly in ATTI mode?

I recommend every Spark pilot get’s themselves comfortable flying in ATTI mode as this will greatly reduce the incidents (flyaway’s) that we often hear about. If you are on a flight and your much loved Spark switches to ATTI mode you want to feel confident enough that you can bring it back home safely.

Note:  Currently using the Spark you can’t force ATTI (without taking a method I don’t recommend).  I had access to an a large hall with no GPS signal to get familiar with my Spark in this mode

. . . and that’s your lot! As usual, if you like this blog please like my page on Facebook Page for CameraDrone.Life

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