ALTA / ALTA X Potential Safety Issue

Discussion in 'ALTA X' started by Tom Comet, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. Tom Comet

    Tom Comet Member

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    OK, the New Year is here and I want to start out on the right foot with a safety item that applies to Freefly drones. Here is a good lesson to learn, unfortunately, at someone else’s expense... In this case the lesson comes from world renowned expedition adventurer, Nat Geo content creator, Sony Alpha & North Face Team guy Renan Ozturk who I follow. His work is amazing and you should check it out if you are not familiar.

    It would appear that Renan bent over to adjust something on his ALTA8, bumped his controller, the drone started up and…. Well... the photos speak for themselves. I have to admit that I myself am guilty of adjusting things on my ALTAs at times with my controller strapped to me and after seeing these posts I vow to never to do it again!

    I think an additional safety measure would be a two stage start up process with either a secondary switch on the controller and/or an ARM button on the drone itself. We fly other PX4 drones and they all employ the arm switch which is usually built into the GPS puck. The drone simply won't start up unless that button has been pushed and it is armed. At my company Drone Boy we are looking into implementing both of these solutions (well three if you include not messing with the drone with controller in hand).

    Does anyone smarter than me have any better ideas to avoid this potential situation? Oh, and good on Renan for posting a real life accident and bringing this issue to light. It doesn't do anyone any good to keep our experiences (good or bad) all to ourselves.

    Happy New Year and Fly Safe in 2021!
     

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  2. Jason Smoker

    Jason Smoker Active Member

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    Hey tom I noticed you posted this on the freefly fb page. Anyway I post on here also.

    This machine (Alta 8) as a safety arm switch option that Tabb Firchau said he did not use so the option is there. You need to arm the motors on the Alta 8 before starting the motors if it’s not armed I think it’s not possible to lean on the controller and start the motors. This was user error I think.

    I dont think we are getting the full story of how it happened. Im guessing he armed the drone and noticed something wrong did not disarm the drone lent over to fix something he noticed and started the motors. You can use a switch to arm and stop the motors please read it in the manual.

    I’m glad he’s OK.
     
  3. Mark Hoffman

    Mark Hoffman Active Member

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    All of my pixhawk controlled machines use dual switch arming. This is more a radio thing but I have it programmed to require 2 switches for arming. Basically you have to engage switch A and then switch B to arm/disarm. This keeps you from accidentally arming by bumping a switch.
     
  4. Tom Comet

    Tom Comet Member

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    Do you have an ALTA 8 Pro or Alta X set up like this? If so what is your transmitter? We use the Futaba 14SG and I am not sure how I would do that with our Alta X where arming is just left stick down and right. I don't know how to add a switch input to that sequence in order to "make it go".
     
  5. Tom Comet

    Tom Comet Member

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    Agreed on all accounts.
     
  6. Mark Hoffman

    Mark Hoffman Active Member

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    I do not have either, but in Q ground control or Mission Planner you should be able to change the arming from stick command to a switch. Then on your radio (I do not have a Futaba but it should be doable using a mix) program it to require a second switch to enable the selected arming switch. You can google pixhawk 2 switch arming to get started. If FF doesn't lock down their pixhawk controller you should be able to change the arming and many other parameters, that's the great thing about pixhawk.
     
  7. Tom Comet

    Tom Comet Member

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    Thanks for this. Yes, I believe everything is open and changeable as we have already tweaked some flight parameters. Will work it out.
     

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