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A problem with UAV Forecast Kp Index?

FlushVision

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This morning I checked UAV Forecast ready for a couple of flights over Crompton Moor and was a bit disappointed to see that it was saying the Kp was at five...I don't fly if the Kp is at five or above. Just to be sure I checked other sources for Kp values, three different web sites: one from Germany, one from Boulder Colorado, and one in the U.K. They were all showing a Kp of one or two.

I don't know where UAV Forecast gets it's data from but today it was clearly wrong...by a long shot. I decided to go with the value from the U.K. web site Current geomagnetic activity in the UK and across the globe and ignore the Kp value from UAV Forecast.

It was also interesting to see that yesterday UAV Forecast was showing a Kp of one but the U.K. web site above showed it as SIX at the time I flew yesterday. I no longer trust UAV Forecast with regard to Kp index. If it was wrong yesterday and today, just how often have I been flying with a Kp at five or above?
 
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Phaedrus

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I always cross check info if I have any uncertainty about how valid it is. Beyond that, I have flown when Kp > 6 with no noticeable ill affects. I wonder how sensitive our stuff is with respect to Kp.
 

PatR

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I quit paying any attention to the kP index a ling time ago. I haven’t experienced any issues at either end of the scale. Might be foolish on my part, or it might be much ado about nuthin’.
 

FlushVision

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I quit paying any attention to the kP index a ling time ago. I haven’t experienced any issues at either end of the scale. Might be foolish on my part, or it might be much ado about nuthin’.
Well, as I mentioned above, yesterday I was flying at a time when the Kp turned out to be actually six even though UAV Forecast was saying it was at one. It was still a couple of very smooth flights. My TH was rock steady.

Incidentally, on one of my flights today I observed a bit of toilet bowl. This had nothing to do with the Kp since the problem was rectified by hand catching and then doing a compass re calibration.

I will still stick with my five and above no-fly rule mainly because the rule is written in my Ops Manual for my PfCO but like @Phaedrus I will cross check in future.
 
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Yea the Kp index is full of it.
 
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RPR

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What effect does kp has on drones? I don’t check this anymore.
 

Eagle's Eye Video

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From the agency responsible for the K-Index... the only truly accurate source online.

k-index_noaa.jpg

noaa.gov - K-Index
 

RPR

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KP index.

As a part 107 operator the weather is as important to log on top of everything else, a lot of apps will add the weather once you sync the telemetry report, like Airdata or Healthy drones, too bad 3rd party Apps does not support Yuneec, except Dronelogbook, but in dronelogbook, you only can make notes of the weather conditions.

My initial post was to get the thread going, because Kp index is very serious and should be taken into account. One of the external forces that can reduce the satellite signal strength and cause a string of mishaps that might lead to the dreaded flyaway or worst a crash is a geomagnetic storm and this aspect of space weather is measured using the Kp-index.

Those mysterious flyaways, or crashes where the manufacturer are quickly to blame are common. As an operator we have a checklist. Personally, I primarily use Kittyhawk, and I also have field checklist, and the #1 on my list is weather.

 

Phaedrus

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Can you enlighten us with the proper threshold for Kp value beyond which flight is compromised and the basis for that determination?
 

RPR

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Can you enlighten us with the proper threshold for Kp value beyond which flight is compromised and the basis for that determination?
I can give an enlightenment based from my own personal experience.

I once gambled on flying at kp 5.9 (kittyhawk reading) and my drone wobbled or acted like a funky chicken 10 to 20 second into a hover (If you fly DJI inspires or Matrice, you will get familiarize with 22 (22 celsius) before entering forward flight. Some of DJI’s crashes are do to battery temperature)
I’ve learned to hover, before entering forward flight.

I avoided a major crash or a fly away that day, and as soon as I got home, I checked the telemetry, and nothing was out of the ordinary, except for the baro reading. Called the drone support (DJI) and they do not have a clue, but advised me to an IMU, as well as sensor calibration via computer. Disappointed that they don’t a concrete answer.

Fast forward: I would not have found out the real cause if it had not for Airdata’s new feature “Historical Ground weather” which was introduced last year, 4 months after my funky chicken in the air incident. (Funky chicken is an old RC Heli slang, when the main rotors are out of track )

I checked all of my history since that event, and there where instances that I got close to flying in the kp critical level.

From then on, I would only fly at in the green level 0-4

In this forum, I noticed @doomMiester @Steve Carr in earlier posts, responding to telemetry questions, they would at times, ask for weather conditions.

That is why when I reported this: S M H

Making sure to include the kp index to rule out the possibility of natural geomagnetic interference. Because kp once scared the bejesus out of me.
 

FlushVision

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What effect does kp has on drones? I don’t check this anymore.
In theory, a High Kp index value would indicate a diminished GPS accuracy and in the most severe cases lead to satellites count dropping out. This implies that in a RTH event, say, the difference could translate to the aircraft returning to a place some distance away from that expected. For example, landing in a river a hundred feet away from the expected home point. The less than accurate GPS accuracy (in theory) could lead to a fly away because the aircraft may 'think' it is in a different place than it actually is and the apparent fly away is just the aircraft moving to where it thinks it should be, and in moving to where it thinks it should be is sometimes interrupted by a tree in it's way.

That is the theory but as some have said in this thread there seems to be a debate as to whether this is the case in practice such that some pilots choose to ignore Kp. My recent experiences are now causing me to question whether a high Kp will effect a modern drone's positional stability significantly. I will still follow my 5 and above no-fly rule because I have to...it's in my Ops Manual which I have to adhere to by law when doing a commercial flight (I may alter this for the next time I submit my Ops Manual for approval). But when I'm flying for pleasure I may push that rule a bit.
 
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I easily fly in 92° plus temps. Bring lots of water though.
I like to see documentation from a scientific view, showing high Kp's flying several drones at the same locations, at the same time. Personal experience does not prove Kp was the issue.
 
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The Kp index shows a 6 between the hours of 2pm and 4pm. kp at 5 starting 11am
I'm out flying at 3pm.
 
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This morning I checked UAV Forecast ready for a couple of flights over Crompton Moor and was a bit disappointed to see that it was saying the Kp was at five...I don't fly if the Kp is at five or above. Just to be sure I checked other sources for Kp values, three different web sites: one from Germany, one from Boulder Colorado, and one in the U.K. They were all showing a Kp of one or two.

I don't know where UAV Forecast gets it's data from but today it was clearly wrong...by a long shot. I decided to go with the value from the U.K. web site Current geomagnetic activity in the UK and across the globe and ignore the Kp value from UAV Forecast.

It was also interesting to see that yesterday UAV Forecast was showing a Kp of one but the U.K. web site above showed it as SIX at the time I flew yesterday. I no longer trust UAV Forecast with regard to Kp index. If it was wrong yesterday and today, just how often have I been flying with a Kp at five or above?
yeah... I just seen a difference between UAV Forcast ( 4 ), and Hover ( 1 )...
 

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