drone for windsurfing – DJI Phantom

DJI Phantom 2
DJI Phantom 2

Over the holidays I purchased a cheap older model of the DJI Phantom drone and tested how well it works to record aerial windsurf footage. Over the last couple years drones have become a cheap and powerful tool to capture aerial footage. With the new drones being capable of capturing smooth footage due to gimbals and several automated systems the biggest question for aerial windsurf fotography remains: How much wind can these drones take.

Formula Windsurfing Drone
Formula Windsurfing Drone

My DJI Phantom 2 is capable of flying at a max speed of 15m/s which converted to knots is 29,16 knots or 54 km/h. So theoretically it will be possible to fly the drone and keep it in place up to exactly that speed. Of course as we windsurfers know well, there are also bigger wind gusts, so if you have a base wind of 20 knots, but gusts up to 35 knots the drone will drift off at times, which is not something you’d want. On top of that the drone will tilt quite a bit in stronger winds, which causes part of the drone to appear in your footage, which is not ideal.

Drone aerial footage
Drone aerial footage

I used my Phantom in a 15 knots basewind gusting to 22knots. In this wind the drone had absolutely no problems and was surprisingly steady. I think I will not fly the drone in anything higher than a 20 knot wind as starting and landing becomes quite difficult in stronger winds. I hope I can capture some nice images with this drone in the next sessions. Currently I work it with my old GoPro Hero 3+ Silver, but I’ working on mounting the newer GoPro onto the Phantom to get better images. I’ll let you know how this project continues…

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