DJI introduce firmware to prevent flight near large airports

A move in the right direction from DJI. But is it enough?

A firmware update will stop users flying close to specified airfields, the list is small and standing out immediately is a lack of large military airbases around the world. You will still be able to fly around them! The firmware also limits the height the Phantom can fly to, another great feature.

All things considered as a first step it has to be commended. Well done DJI.

Full Story Here

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Comment by Euan Ramsay on April 7, 2014 at 11:47pm

Allow me to bask in the warm feel-good that I get from Ardupilot, knowing that Big Brother has not (and will not?) be controlling where and when I fly.

While on paper this is a good thing - preventing flights over airports. But where does it end? Entire Countries? Corporate headquarters? Residential housing? How does DJI decide what is appropriate and what is not?

Comment by Jethro Hazelhurst on April 8, 2014 at 2:22am

Euan I completely agree, there is enough censoring in this world. This would worry me, given the companies track record. DJI seems to have taken the proprietary road, this feature is reason alone never to touch a DJI product. Open source is the way to go.

Comment by Gerard Toonstra on April 8, 2014 at 3:09am

DJI does it... why doesn't your autopilot have the same feature? :)

Comment by mdisher on April 8, 2014 at 3:18am

I highly suspect they see the writing on the wall.   This is their legal CYA for the disaster that will eventually come when someone does something stupid and this is their attempt to cut the odds that it will be a Phantom that wanders into the path of a care flight helicopter.   After all when the crap hits the fan, it will be the commercially available drones that come under fire first before the 'DIY pieces'.

I give them credit for trying to put something in place that on the surface seems to make sense.  Anyone who's in their restricted zones, is already part of the current rule sets for restricted airspace aren't they?   Or are those more like guidelines?   It's all so confusing, but I generally agree with a no-fly-zone within some distance of legit airports.   As for enforcing it and policing it?  It's not really possible.

Anyway, anyone who's hell bent on undoing this will find a way. 

When Drones are outlawed, only outlaws will have drones :)

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 8, 2014 at 6:20am

Euan, I strongly support this move.  This is not a case of big brother, and IMO, arguing that point does a dis-service to the entire movement to stop real big-brother issues. This is not somebody spying on you, or forcing you to do something you don't want to do. This is very common sense, and it does not remove any right you currently have, or prevent you from doing anything you should be allowed to do.  It only prevents you from doing something you should not be doing anyway, and which you don't have a right to do.

The situation is really simple.  We either do this pro-actively, and look like here.  Or wait until somebody does something stupid, at which point, we look like villains and it will be forced on us by governments, and probably in a form that we do not like.

This is just common sense.

Comment by Pedals2Paddles on April 8, 2014 at 6:29am

As a student pilot, with friends who are pilots, I totally agree with not flying UAVs near airports. However, does the FAA actually have the legal authority to right not to say no to begin with? Or is this just an AMA rule that some people like to think is law?

Comment by Josh Potter on April 8, 2014 at 6:37am

DJI confirmed for the Apple of flight controllers.  They know what's best and their users will love them for telling them what they can and can't do.  This is a fantastic change. 

Comment by Euan Ramsay on April 8, 2014 at 6:37am

Yes, on paper it's a good idea, as I mentioned.

My concern is where will it end. It's a small list of airports now...but once a list starts it has a bad habit of growing, and it will end up covering flight paths which are distinctly more gray than the black and white clear example this is. If I paid DJI enough, would they make my back yard a no fly zone? Will they add the military bases next? The guy in Scotland and the submarine base springs immediately to mind. And if we're covering military bases, shouldn't we cover government buildings in general? Will DJI add my address if I feel my privacy is invaded? What happens when the CAA of countries like South Africa decide that all UAV's are banned, and now it knows GPS blacklisting can be done, forces DJI to blanket the entire country in a no-fly-zone?


Perhaps if DJI made a definative statement clarifying that this is and will be the only list of no fly zones sites (ie the airports) they will maintain, I'd be happier. But it won't. It will grow.

Comment by Euan Ramsay on April 8, 2014 at 6:48am

@Josh - a very droll but apt example. ;-)

Comment by Oliver on April 8, 2014 at 7:03am

So all of a sudden DJI, of all people, has got the GPS dance all sorted out to the extent that instead of flying off towards China, as Phantoms are prone to doing, they are now reliably able to arm and disarm based on location? Snort! And this must mean that GPS is always on, and that one can't fly at all without active GPS. Nice.  Or maybe this will work like certain automotive security systems and you won't be able to launch without phoning in your location along with your ID, LOL.   Of course this is "Big Brother," it's the very essence of it, does anyone think this leash is being clipped onto their collar by a girlfriend?  It's also nothing more than a  CYA/Publicity move that will do nothing to actually increase safety. The obvious intention is to feed on the groundless scaremongering generated by the press and the FAA, thus positioning themselves as having a solution to a nonexistent problem (or if existent, a problem that can be handled just fine by existing mechanisms). These sorts of things need to be challenged and ridiculed whenever they arise. Appeasement will eventually have you flying only in your basement.     


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