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DJI M300 Firmware Update Helps Safety a Bit

DJI has announced a new firmware update for the M300.

One item caught my eye since it can assist pilots with part of their preflight responsibilities as described in Appendix E of AC 107-2A. In particular, is item four that states the pilot must “Verify all the manufacturer-required components that make up the small UAS are present and operating as designed.”

The DJI Health Management System is not new in this release but it can assist in that preflight task.

However, it would appear, simply relying on the HMS does not meet all the requirements. For example, what exactly does a green Propulsion Normal button actually mean? Does it mean the HMS is tracking time in service and providing any sort of update on the actual speed controller or motor remaining life?

The HMS is a start towards more information for pilots to allow them to learn a little bit more about the status of their aircraft.

Some of the new features mentioned in this update include:

Return-to-Home (RTH) Optimizations

“When encountering obstacles during RTH, a tip in DJI Pilot will remind users to exit Auto-RTH and manually control the aircraft to land it.”

PinPoint Optimizations

“PinPoint is possibly the most powerful feature that has gone under the radar with the M300. Thanks to the laser rangefinder built into H20 Series payloads, operators can tap on an object or feature on their remote controller screen to determine its distance from the drone, and its XYZ coordinates.

Now with the V3 firmware update, users can edit and manage multiple Pin Points, as well as set a PinPoint as a home point. Now home points can be the aircraft’s takeoff location, the aircraft’s real-time location, the pilot + remote controller’s position, and now a custom set PinPoint location.”

This one is a bit tricky since some pilots might assume this would aid for 107.31 VLOS compliance since it could return the distance to the drone and XYZ coordinates. I don’t believe it can aid the pilot in compliance with 107.31 since the pilot must actually determine the number of factors visually and not relying on telemetry.

Introducing Coordinated Turn

“This is a new feature that, when enabled, assists the pilot in making a smooth turn mid-flight. It does this by automatically adding Roll to Yaw when turning. Without Coordinated Turn, a skilled pilot must coordinate both control sticks to make sure the drone’s heading is aligned with the front of the drone, which can be demanding for newer pilots or in demanding situations.”

I’m not sure I understand the statement “a skilled pilot must coordinate both control sticks to make sure the drone’s heading is aligned with the front of the drone.” You can fly a drone backward, or sideways and turns don’t always need to be made in the path of travel. But a bit more awareness about the coordinated turn in aviation is helpful education.

Increased Height Limits

“The maximum height limit for the M300 has been increased from 500m to 1500m, except for when within 50km of an airport. If you need to request permission to fly near an airport, refer to our detailed instructions on how to apply for an unlock certificate.”

Keep in mind the legal height to fly a drone is only 121 meters AGL or over a structure. Why DJI would allow any drone to fly 4,921 feet (1500m) AGL is beyond me.

Update Page

The M300 firmware update page is here.

About Steve Rhode

The Public Safety Flight website is dedicated to news, honest information, tips, and stories about the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), UAVs, aircraft, and drones in the fire service and other public safety niches.The site was founded by Steve Rhode, an FAA-certificated airplane commercial and instrument certificated pilot and a very experienced Part 107 UAS commercial pilot. Steve is the Chief Pilot with the Wake Forest Fire Department and the North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy. He also provides expert advice to drone pilots through Homeland Security Information Network and he is an FAA Safety Team drone expert. Steve loves to work closely with public safety pilots to answer questions and share information, real-world truth, and drone operation advice. You can contact Steve here, learn more about Steve here, or join his public safety pilot private email list here.

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2 comments

  1. Steve, the 1500m unlock function is long overdue for those of us who operate in the mountains. There are numerous situations where we remain below the legal 400ft/121m a.g.l. requirement flying up the mountainside, but need to exceed the 500m limit DJI imposes from the TAKE-OFF ELEVATION of the drone. This is extremely useful for SAR operations and wildlife surveys in mountain environments. About time!!

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