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I picked up a Solo a Best Buy on Tuesday and have had a couple of successful test missions as of today (Friday).

First let me say thanks to the contributors on this forum. I wouldn't be flying today if not for the info gleaned scanning the thread history over the last week. I hope it continues as 3DR makes their transition into a software-only company. Here are a few basic observations.

Packaging: holy cow. I'm sure this has been covered here but man these guys went out of their way to design fancy packaging for this. They took a page straight out of the Apple playbook. I can't even estimate how many little custom pieces of foam. cardboard. plastic, and paper came off this thing as it unpacked. wow. I can see how they burned through $100 million now ;->

Updates and installs. This was quite a regime of software and firmware and app updates to get all this rolling. First iPhone needed latest iOS, then the app, then firmware, WiFi setups, then the GoPro, then it's firmware update. I'm in software so i get why this happens, but man this would scare off plenty. At the end of all that, I still couldn't get the app to see the video feed. Finally had to reinstall the app and re-eneter all the info to finally get a feed.

First flight.
This was when I finally realized how amazing this thing is. The way the thing just autopilots itself when you're starting out was quite a comfort. I'd never flown one before yesterday, so that was a big relief to realize this ain't so hard. (I have visions of my college buddy repeatedly crashing his RC helicopter in 1990s ... not pretty or cheap.) Before long I was cruising, diving around, shooting up to 150 feet elevation. I must say that it was kind of a thrill to see a thing so high that you are responsible for and controlling. Can't wait to take it even higher.

So here are my questions:

1. If I want to use Orbit to take a series of still photos around a building (say a every 10 degrees or 36 shots all the way around) for purposes of creating a 3D model, is that a GoPro setting? I have the Hero4Black.

2. Any tips on flying at higher altitudes? I'll be doing some tests at increasing altitudes over the next few weeks; just curious about how high an altitude people have launched these things. Are there hi-performance props that might be expected to do better?

3. How's the backpack? Worth the money to buy? The cardboard box is actually pretty functional but won't do for the location work I have planned.

Thanks again for all the help so far and any additional insight.

-- Airman Chriskin
 
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orbit does not have a trigger camera you would need to do that manually
might could pull it off in mission planner

thinner air will mean reduced flying times, there are APC props that are stiffer and might help, not sure

Love my back pack, couldn't live without it
 
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I would setup the gopro to record video and take stills. The gopro will take stills @ programmed intervals.
Good luck and post a link to your model when you accomplish your mission. ;)
 
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Welcome to the forum Criskin!

Regarding question 2- basically, no. We're you referring to altitude above ground level (AGL) or above sea level (MSL)?
Don't know where you are but in the U.S., 400' AGL is the legal limit. I believe (not positive) that 1000' AGL is about as high as you can get and still have enough battery power to land safely.

Different props aren't going to give you any measurable improvements. Solo is designed to move slowly to get good camera footage.

The backpack is awesome for what I do. Some folks don't like it because it takes up too much space for them, but it fits as carry on luggage just fine if you want to fly with it. Beats carrying a hard case.

Regarding your "this ain't so hard" comment, that is true as long as the automation is working. If it fails, and you haven't learned to fly it "manually" (which we recommend strongly), the pucker factor will exceed 10 in under a nanosecond, Solo will crash, and you will be sent to the "sin bin" where you will feel shame.

(That's assuming you are lucky and Solo doesn't hit a 747 preparing to land, causing it to plunge into an elementary school at lunch time on "bring your family to school" day. That would be bad.

But don't worry, that probably won't happen to you.o_O
 
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Welcome to the forum Criskin!

Regarding question 2- basically, no. We're you referring to altitude above ground level (AGL) or above sea level (MSL)?
Don't know where you are but in the U.S., 400' AGL is the legal limit. I believe (not positive) that 1000' AGL is about as high as you can get and still have enough battery power to land safely.

Different props aren't going to give you any measurable improvements. Solo is designed to move slowly to get good camera footage.

The backpack is awesome for what I do. Some folks don't like it because it takes up too much space for them, but it fits as carry on luggage just fine if you want to fly with it. Beats carrying a hard case.

Regarding your "this ain't so hard" comment, that is true as long as the automation is working. If it fails, and you haven't learned to fly it "manually" (which we recommend strongly), the pucker factor will exceed 10 in under a nanosecond, Solo will crash, and you will be sent to the "sin bin" where you will feel shame.

(That's assuming you are lucky and Solo doesn't hit a 747 preparing to land, causing it to plunge into an elementary school at lunch time on "bring your family to school" day. That would be bad.

But don't worry, that probably won't happen to you.o_O
Thanks Maddog. I didn't mean to imply that there isn't a lot of skill required to fly well, and I have been spending a lot of time flying it manually including landing and takeoff. What else can I do? I did pass the Part 107 exam which was quite educational as far as understanding airspace around airports and reading aeronautical charts.

My question about elevation relates to flying in the mountains. I have read anecdotal evidence (maybe even on this forum) that these drones can in fact do very well launching from over 10,000 feet (obviously under 400' AGL). Take a place like Denver. I'm guessing people fly routinely in the mile high city.
 
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I fly sea level, but many have stated a longer prop will help in higher altitudes and thin air. APC makes a agreeable prop that is 11x4.5, you'd need the MR ST's for the Solo motors.
 
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Backpack - get the ThinkTank AIRPORT HELIPAK™ FOR 3DR SOLO. You can see a review of it at

You can get it now for $99.

I have very few rules when it comes to purchasing gear.

1. Either Nikon or Canon for pro photo gear. This is because when you drop your camera in St. Peter's Square, your 24-70 f/2.8 breaks into several pieces, and you're getting on a train for Florence in the morning, there's a much better chance of finding a new Nikon or Canon 24-70 f/2.8 in stock at a pro photo store than any other brand. Scenario is hypothetical, of course.

2. If you need some outdoor gear, check to see if MSR makes it, then just get it.

3. Photo bags - get ThinkTank, don't even look at any other bags. ThinkTank makes the best bags in the business. I've loved every ThinkTank product I've ever owned. Which isn't very many since they last forever.
 
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Backpack - get the ThinkTank AIRPORT HELIPAK™ FOR 3DR SOLO. You can see a review of it at

You can get it now for $99.

I have very few rules when it comes to purchasing gear.

1. Either Nikon or Canon for pro photo gear. This is because when you drop your camera in St. Peter's Square, your 24-70 f/2.8 breaks into several pieces, and you're getting on a train for Florence in the morning, there's a much better chance of finding a new Nikon or Canon 24-70 f/2.8 in stock at a pro photo store than any other brand. Scenario is hypothetical, of course.

2. If you need some outdoor gear, check to see if MSR makes it, then just get it.

3. Photo bags - get ThinkTank, don't even look at any other bags. ThinkTank makes the best bags in the business. I've loved every ThinkTank product I've ever owned. Which isn't very many since they last forever.
Nah... MSR is good but not always the best.
 
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