Executing Flight Missions

Executing Flight Missions


Execution of a plan could take place right after a new mission is defined or after opening a saved mission, from the Main Screen ( Figure 3 ). In both cases the execution will start from a screen with the Connect Drone button available for tapping. Figure 47 shows both vertical and oblique missions.


Figure 47 : Vertical and Oblique Missions

Once the mission execution is actually started, both type of missions will have the same flow, same screen, and almost same feedback.

Figure 48 shows a typical project on the Mission Execution screen.

Figure 48: Mission Execution Screen

 To execute a flight mission you need to be familiar with the relevant area. You need to carefully examine the surroundings to make sure that there are no obstacles you were not aware of. Examine tall structures to make sure that the return to home height you set is sufficient. Once you are sure visually that it is safe to fly over the area, only then move on to the mission execution phase.

Mission Execution Screen

The following section provides a review of all components of the Mission Execution screen and provides an explanation for each element.

The Top Banner


 /  - Wi-Fi connection is on / off on the tablet.

 - Satellite connection is on / off on the drone system.

 /  - Drone is connected / not connected to the tablet.

 - Time of day.

  /  /  - Remote Control to Drone connectivity level.

  - Drone battery charge level.

  - Remote control battery charge level.

  - Tablet battery charge level.

The Map View Type

The map view type icon appears on the top right corner of the screen and tapping it will switch the main display between map and satellite view (Figure 49).

Figure 49: Map and Satellite View

The “Requirements” Window

In the Requirements window, the pixel foot print resolution is shown at the center of the image as is the altitude of the drone from the home point. The home point is the point from where the drone takes off to start executing the mission.

The “Flight Plan” Display

In the “Flight Plan” display the flight parameters and flight progress are displayed. It includes data on the planned project and quantities remaining to be completed. Parameters include Altitude for all flights and POI altitude for circular flight, Speed, and ROI area for vertical flight. Progress parameters are Distance, Duration, Memory, Batteries, and Number of images.

The Video Feed Display

The video feed display shows the camera view at any particular moment. Tapping on the Camera Feed view will swap between the main view and the camera feed view (Figure 50).


Figure 50: Main View and Camera Feed View

The Main Display

In the Main Display, the flight progress and the Home Point are displayed. The Home Point is indicated by the letter H in a green circle, while the yellow drone icon indicates the drone’s nose pointing to the direction of flight.

In circular flights the drone icon points to the center of the circle, while in a vertical flight trajectory the drone nose points in the same direction as the trajectory.

The Control Buttons

The two control buttons on the bottom left corner are the Fly Home and Pause buttons, and each of them performs according to its name.

Tapping Pause stops the progress of the mission and the button’s label changes to Resume. Tapping Resume reactivates the mission.

Tapping Fly Home returns the drone to its starting point and the message”Flight was interrupted) is displayed (Figure 51).

Figure 51: “Flight was Interrupted” Message

Tapping Return to me closes the message box, and tapping Oops, continue mission cancels the return home and the mission continues.

 If you tap Fly Home pay close attention to the drone and be ready to take manual control to land the drone.

Flying the Drone

To commence the flight mission the DatuFly application should be loaded with Connect Drone displayed. The following are the steps that need to be taken to do the job.

 Ensure that the flight altitude, as planned in the mission, is the altitude of the drone’s take-off location. Thus the home location is about the same level as the area of interest. This makes sure that images will be taken from the right altitude as planned and you get the resolution you want.

1.       Make sure the Tablet is connected to the drone’s remote control.

2.       Make sure that the drone’s propellers are properly assembled, and the drone is placed in an open area close to the area or interest. Airspace above the drone should be free and clear of any obstacles.

 Make sure that you are ready for emergencies and that you know all the functions of the drone you are using. Specifically make sure you know how you can take manual control over the drone. In certain drones you may need to change switch setting on the remote control to be able to fly it manually.

3.       Turn the remote control on. Wait a few second to make sure the remote control is functioning properly.

4.       Turn on the drone.

5.       Tap the Connect Drone button, and at this point you should see a series of safety checks done by DatuFly. The progress of each check is reported. If any of the checks fail, the task will stop and the failure will be reported. Figure 52 presents a list of checks done at connection time:


Figure 52: Safety Checks

6.       When all checks pass successfully, DatuFly displays the “Safe flight foreseen” message (Figure 53), and requests confirmation to continue the takeoff process. If clear to take off, tap Yes, Continue to Takeoff, and this will upload the planned mission to the drone, showing a progress bar.

Figure 53: Safe Flight Foreseen Message

Figure 54: Uploading Flight Plan to the Drone Message

7.       Once uploading has been completed, and if the “Manual take-off and landing” was set to “Off”, the “No obstruction above drone” message (Figure 55) will be displayed. Tap All Clear, Take Off Now. If the “Manual take-off and landing” was set to “On”, then the message will tell you to elevate the drone and then tap the button.

Figure 55: No Obstruction above Drone? Message

8.       At this point, the drone flies to the specified altitude, goes to the beginning of the trajectory or the first image point of the circle, and starts taking images (Figure 56).

Figure 56: Drone Taking Images

9.       Keep your eyes on the drone, and periodically look at the “Flight Plan” display to make sure things are going as planned.

10.   Once all images are taken, the drone will issue a message that the mission has been completed and the drone is returning to the home location. Tap Return to Home to close this message. The drone at this point will change altitude to the Return to Home height and flies in a straight line to the home location. If the “Manual take-off and landing” was set to “On”, the message will simply tell you to return the drone manually.

Figure 57: Mission Completed Message

 If the location of the last image taken, before returning home, is less than 20 meters away from the home location, the drone will simply land below the location of the last image and will not do the standard Return to home. Make sure you take manual control in this case and bring the drone back to the location you want.

When the drone reaches the point above the Home location, it will land slowly, and when it lands, it will provide a message that the mission was completed successfully.

Figure 58: Mission Completed Successfully Message

11.   Tap Ok, and exit the map screen. At this point you should see the mission marked as completed in the Main screen (Figure 59).

Figure 59: Mission Completed Message on Main Screen

Multi Battery Support

DatuFly supports flying missions that, because of their complexity, require several batteries. At planning time the number of needed batteries is estimated and reported as part of the plan. It is recommended to have extra batteries available.

When the mission is started, and image taking is in progress, DatuFly continuously monitors the level of the battery charge, and if any of them goes below the level specified in the Safety Restriction in the main Settings page, DatuFly will issue a message, and the drone will return to the Home point location (Figure 60).

Figure 60: Drone Battery Message

Once the drone lands, DatuFly issues a message to replace the battery (Figure 61).

Figure 61: Replace Battery Message

Either cancel the flight or replace the battery and resume the mission. To resume the mission, replace the battery, turn the drone on, and wait for the GNSS signal  to become green again, indicating that satellite reception is good, and then tap Battery Changed: Resume Flight.

At this point all safety checks are done again and assuming all checks pass, the drone will start and take off to the correct flight altitude. It then heads to the point where the last image was taken. Then it turns to the right direction to continue taking images from where it left off.

Resuming a Mission

Regardless of why a mission is stopped, including low battery issues, or other problems forcing the mission to stop, DatuFly saves the mission and marks it as in progress (Figure 62).

Figure 62: Mission in Progress Indication

When the mission is opened again, the user will get a message that the mission is marked as in progress, and the user can resume it (Figure 63). Taping Yes will take the drone back to the location at which the last image was taken and resume image taking according to the specified plan.

Figure 63 : Option to Continue a Mission