How to fly your dreams

Welcome to Dream Flights – your way to body-controlled, real world flying!

To start flying, you need to have:

  • DJI Phantom3 / Phantom 4 / Inspire1 drone
  • Phone with Android 4.2 and above with 3 positioning sensors: Accelerometer, Giroscope and Magnetometer (Compass) OR iPhone 5 and above
  • VR “glasses”/”Helmet” for your phone – something like Google VR cardboard, available from a range of brands like Carl Zeiss VR, VR Box, Homido, Yes! VR, Fibrum, Baofeng III and more. We’ll call it “VR device” below. While choosing, look at the visibility at the top, bottom, and side areas of the screen to ensure the best viewing control parameters during flight. You can check this visibility with a demo version of the Dream Flights app.
  • Dream Flights app from Google Play or App Store.

Connecting the VR device to the RC and drone.

  • Connect your phone to the RC with a USB cable. If the RC is turned on, you’ll see a prompt message to choose the app which will have access to the RC. Choose “Dream Flights”.
  • Android users: if you’ve chosen another app (e.g. DJI Go) as the default app for this accessory (RC), you may not receive this prompt. In this case you should tap “clear defaults” for this other app (like DJI Go) in the settings->applications of your phone.
  • After connecting the phone to the RC, turn on the drone, enter Dream Flights and tap “Fly”.

Put your phone into the VR device and adjust it inside to obtain a clear view of the control dislpay. If you can’t see a battery indicator at the top and/or the control elements at the bottom, decrease the Height and Width of the “Telemetry Zone” in Settings/Display.

Testing the compatibility of your Android phone with Dream Flights (no need for iOS)

Try tilting your phone from a position where the camera is pointing forwards to the horizon to a position where it is pointing vertically down at the ground. The drone’s camera should tilt, following the tilting of the phone. If the drone is connected and its camera doesn’t move with the phone’s movements, it means, most likely, that your phone doesn’t have one of the positioning sensors, and is therefore not compatible with Dream Flights.

Evaluate the quality of the video you see on the phone’s screen by pointing the drone’s camera at a well lit scene and tilt it up and down by tilting the phone. The image should be clear. A slight delay in the video is normal because of a latency in the transmission and processing of the signal.

If you see distortions as colored, disordered streaks, try the following:

a) Downgrade RC firmware to v. 1.6. To do that, connect the RC and Internet connected Android device as usual with USB cable, launch DJI Go app and tap on symbol on the up right corner ("menu" or "Graduates cap") for about 10 sec - you'll be prompted to choose the firmware version to install.

b) Close other applications on your phone or reboot it.

c) Decrease the brightness of the display using the wheel on the right side of the RC

d) Fly away from the RC up to 200 meters (600 feet) or more

If you see distortions and the above measures have no effect, this means the your phone is not powerful enough to process videos from your drone for Dream Flights.

Telemetry on the screen.

All directional information coming from the drone is shown by dedicated 3D objects.  The Director is located on the bottom right of your screen. The Director turns around a pitch axis together with the drone’s camera, so it always seems parallel to the ground plane.

The first part of the Director  is a ring with “N, E, S, W”. This shows where you are heading, e.g. the azimuth to where the drone’s camera is pointing now. This azimuth is showing on the inner side of the ring (on the part which is most far from you. You can try  to turn the connected aircraft on the table around and see how it changes.

After takeoff you’ll see more indicators on the Director:

  • the thin line with an arrow pointing to “H”. This is a bearing to the home point, i.e. the point of takeoff.
  • the cone pointing up indicates positive vertical speed (ascending)

  •  the cone pointing down indicates negative vertical speed (descending):

  • a thicker arrow than the one pointing to “H” will appear when your horizontal speed is raised:

Telemetry bottom line.

From left to right:

  • current DJI flying mode, such as P_GPS, P_OPTI, P_ATT etc. Under normal conditions you’ll see P_GPS in conventional control mode or “Joystick” in VR control mode (see below)
  • altitude ().
  • ultrasonic altimeter
  • distance to home ( H)
  • control mode:   for conventional mode and either 1D/2D/3D/GL/WL for Dream Flights VR modes (see below)

Battery indicator

Located on the top of the screen. While on the ground, it looks like a green line.  The length corresponds to battery level. While flying, you will also see:

  •  flight time which the battery's energy level can support
  • a yellow line on the left, which indicates approximately how much of the battery's energy is needed for a horizontal flight to the Home point
  • a red line on the left, which indicates approximately how much of the battery's energy is needed to support descent from the current altitude to the ground.

AR "Copter Draw" (iOS version only, Dream Flights v.1.8+)

With this mode ON and C1 button pressed (any VR mode enabled), the path of the drone became visible as the line of colorful AR "comets". You can choose the color, thickness and consistency of this line in the "Display" settings. And after the flight you and your friends can see these lines in our new Sky Draw app. These feature can be used for at least 2 purposes:

a) To draw or write something nice and special to surprise your friends

b) To draw some virtual (AR) "obstacles" like gates or hoops to exercise in flying through it. You can draw these objects either by your drone or in Sky Draw app just by your finger on the phone's screen.

In both cases you can arrange a competition - whose drawing will be the best or who will fly through more number of obstacles for example.

AR beacon at the Home point (iOS version only)

In the video from the drone you will see an Augmented Reality (AR) object located on the Home point. This object will help you to visually determine the heading for your return, in addition to the arrow in the Director.

On Screen settings you can choose the appearance of the beacon and it’s height.

AR beacons at POIs - only on iOS

Prior to flight, you can mark the POIs you want to fly to on the map, in the Maps section of app. On the video from the drone you will see AR objects – these are the beacons, located on the POIs. Using these, you will be able to easily visually navigate to the POIs during your flight.

To create a beacon, just the tap desired point on the map. To delete, tap the marker (balloon) which represents the beacon.

In the screen settings you can choose the appearance of the beacons and their height.

AR Track - only on iOS

With Augmented Reality Track on the Settings->Screen you will see red and white arrows hovering over the places and at altitudes where your drone has flown. The arrows are directed according to the direction of the drone's progress at this point. This could be useful to visually find your way back home or back to points you have previously visited. You can also see your track record on the Map screen of the App, and you can delete all previously recorded tracks by tapping the “waste bin” button on this screen.

Setting Safety parameters

Let’s make the flight as safe as possible by setting the Safety parameters:

Radius of safety zone – when your drone approaches this distance from the home point, a warning will sound and the drone will fly back towards home by about 5 meters

Low and High altitudes of safety zone – this works in the same way as the Radius. All 3 parameters define a cylinder, in which you allow your drone to fly UNDER Dream Flights control. If you use conventional (joystick) controls, you can fly outside these limits. For safety in your first few flights, we recommend you to set the Radius to 50 meters / 150 feet. Low Altitide should be higher than the obstacles near you (trees, houses etc.) and High Altitude should allow you see the drone at all times. Also allow an extra  10 m / 30 feet for each parameter (e.g. make the cylinder smaller at each border) to let your drone “brake” after crossing it.

It’s also important to set a Flyback altitude higher than any obstacles nearby you

Phone’s magnetic sensor calibration.

It is necessary to check this from time to time or you will experience inadequate reactions of the drone to your yaw turns.To check the sensor, you can use any app with a compass – for example, the free app “AndroiTS GPS test”, or any other app.

Enter compass view in the app and ensure the compass arrow is showing (approximately) the correct direction. Turn the phone around. The arrow should turn smoothly (no jerking) and show approximately (+-30 degrees) the correct bearing. If this is not the case, calibrate the sensor by turning the phone around all axes a few times or by using dedicated software (e.g. the same “AndroiTS GPS test”) and try again.

Direct view of the drone and view from the drone

For better safety, it’s recommended that you perform your first Dream Flight with a co-pilot, who will hold the RC and visually control the drone. Besides this, a co-pilot is useful to fulfill legal regulations in some territories, which requires the pilot to keep visual contact with the drone at all times. In this case, the person who holds the RC can visually observe and fully control the drone all the times – see “Flight control modes” below.

However, a co-pilot is not necessary for Dreamflying – if you have enough skill and the requirement for visual contact at all times is not the case for you, a solo flight is possible. -Just hold the RC and do everything by yourself. To obtain a direct view of the drone in your VR glasses just press the C2 button on the bottom right hand side of your RC once – you will switch to the video from your phone’s camera and, if the VR device doesn’t block the camera, you’ll see the scene in front of you, including the drone.

To swicth back to the drone’s view, press C2 again.

Flight Control Modes.

There are 4 modes of  controlling your drone in Dream Flights – the symbol of the one chosen is displayed on the bottom right of the sceen:

  •   “Conventional” - the same as in standard pilot’s apps, including DJI Go – 2 joysticks on the RC. In this mode, you use Dream Flights only to see the video and telemetry from the drone but not to control it.
  • Five Dream Flights VR modes: “1D”, “2D”, “3D”, "GL" and "WL".

    Initially you are in Conventional mode. For safety we recommend performing take off and landing in this mode, at least before you get more skilled.

    To switch to one of the VR modes, press AND HOLD the C1 button on the left side of the bottom of the RC. You will see the symbol of the current VR mode on the bottom right. To swith between the 3 VR modes, press C2 while holding C1.

    On Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 you also need to move the “P-A-F” switch on the RC to the “F” position in order to access VR modes. On Phantom 4, in contrast, access to VR modes is only possible in standard "P" position of "P-S-A" switch.

    When you release C1 you’ll return to Conventional mode. If you have the joysticks in neutral positions at the same time, the drone will hover at one point, so if you see or feel something uncertain during flight in VR mode, just release C1.

VR control modes

In VR control modes you will be able to control the drone by tilting your head and body IN ADDITION to stick control. The sticks, while they are not in neutral position, OVERRIDE the headtracking controls described below in most cases.

Another thing you need to know about VR control: when you press C1, the system takes the current position of your head as “base position”, i.e. any futher tilting of your head is calculated relative to this position. It means that if you feel any discomfort in tilting control, you can release C1, get into a comfortable (neutral) position and press C1 again  – the “base” will be changed and the controls will became more comfortable.

1D. In this mode you control the drone by Yaw, by turning yourself around vertical axis. This mode is useful to enjoy a 360 degree panorama while hovering at one point.

2D. In addition to Yaw control, the drone will follow the tilting of your body from left to right (moving left and right) and forwards and backwards (moving forwards and backwards). When flying forwards, it turns left or right in the same way as an airplane, by tilting towards these directions. We suggest speeding up the drone in this mode using the right joystick, and, keeping the speed up, trying to tilt right and left to get a new free flight experience.

3D. The same as 2D, but tilting forwards/backwards commands the drone to descend and ascend respectively, rather than moving forwards/backwards. We recommend using this mode while also maintaining forward speed using the right stick – the same as in 2D, but with a more rich, 3D free flying experience.

GL. Glider simulation mode. Upon entering this mode, the drone will start to descend as gliders do using gravity. By tilting your head you can control the pitch angle of the simulated glider relative to the horizon plane.

Therefore, to proceed to horizontal flight, you first need to tilt your head almost vertically down. The craft will pick up horizontal speed – you will see a thick arrow on the Director. When this arrow grows by to 2 points, gently lift your head back up to the normal horizontal position, while making sure your horizontal speed doesn’t fall.

As with a real glider, you will end up with horizontal flight while descending slightly. By tilting your head up and down, try to maintain horizontal speed as much as possible while slowly descending (by tilting in this way, you control the “attack angle” of the simulated glider wings. By tilting right and left you can make virages – turning in the desired direction.

In this mode we recommend setting the lower altitude of your safety zone well above all possible obstacles, and the higher altitude at more than 100m (300 feet) above the low altitude.

If you want to make conditions for piloting your virtual glider easier, you can set the velocity of ascending air current in the control settings from 0 to 3 m/s – in this case, horizontal flight without descending and even becomes possible, and it even becomes possible to ascend.

WL. “Weightless” or “Fly Where You Look”.

You can turn around your vertical axis in any direction and tilt your head up and down. The drone’s camera will follow your direction of sight and the drone will fly in the same direction (towards where the camera is pointing)

We recommend you to set the gimbal settings to “30° extensible” in DJI Go to allow the camera to tilt up to 30° above the horizon.

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Note that in all 6 modes (the 5 VR modes and the Conventional one), the drone’s camera follows the tilt of your head on a pitch axis – from a direct view to the horizon (or 30 degrees up to the sky if you have set “30 degrees extensible”  in the DJI Go gimbal settings) to viewing vertically down to the ground.

In Settings->Control you can:

  • Adjust the tilting control sensitivity from “Sport” (only 5 degrees tilting gives the maximum control signal to the drone) and “Comfort” (10 degrees needed to achive the maximum).
  • Set the initial VR Flight mode – the mode (1D/2D/3D/GL/WL) which will turn on first when you press C1.

Error messages

Error messages, if they occur, are shown an the screen above the parameters string. These messages comes from DJI’s hardware. Please refer to DJI documentation for their meaning and recommended actions.

The “No connection” state is indicated with the symbol , which will replace the control mode symbols in this case.

3D Video effect

When flying sideways, you can see a unique Dream Flights effect – objects in your field of view become 3D! And more amazingly: even while you are hovering, MOVING objects look 3D, while steady ones remains flat. To adjust this effect more or less you can use the Settings/Display/3D video effect: the more “frame delay” you specify, the more the effect will surprise you!

Sounds

As you can imagine, sounds will immerse you into the experience of a flying bird even more deeply. And more importantly the sounds will help you control your speed as a supplement to the visual information on the Director.

You can adjust the overall volume of the Dream Flight sounds using the general settings on your phone. In the app, you can select one of the background wind sounds.

Photo & Video

You can use dedicated buttons on the RC for taking photos and shooting video. However, Dream Flights doesn’t currently support any adjustments to shooting modes, since it’s primary focus is on the support of amazing feelings from free, body-controlled flight.

Inspire 1 users

With Inspire 1 you can set “Passenger mode” and enjoy 360 degrees (horizontal) by 90 degrees (vertical) free view by tilting your head and turning your sight to any direction, while a pilot controls speeds of aircraft from one of 2 with RC's. This mode is extremely useful for operators who need an easy way to trace objects in field of view and construct the frame in real time.

Phantom 4 users

Dream Flights supports Phantom 4 Flight Assistant. When the drone sees an obstacle closer than 10m, you will see double arcs showing in the direction of the nearest obstacle and the distance to it.

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