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Refraining from flying during solar storm

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Hello everyone,

As we have been under solar storm conditions for the past 3 days or so, I've been researching about this topic and I've come across different opinions, some say it's dangerous to fly (using gps) when the K index is above 3 and others say it's not a big deal.

During my research I came across a similar thread on a phantom forum, and later on that thread they linked to this post which (for those who don't feel like reading) basically exposes that anything below K 7 is completely safe for UAV GPS flight.

Solar Flares

I did flew my H yesterday, I took some pictures and 4k video to test a little refocus on my camera yesterday, the K index was between 5 and 6 so I took off with my finger ready to tap on the disable GPS button just in case. My flight was just a simple climb a few meters just for a minute. After booting the H I got GPS lock on 19 sats just like any normal day and there was no unexpected behaviour (though it was a very short flight)

Anyway, during my research I found very split opinions about the K index and UAV GPS flight, so I wanted to know what do you think about it.

Greetings!
 
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Jules I personally think the cut off is five anything above a K index above five could be dangerous. Just remember that the index is just an average Of what is hitting the earth at the time, the sun is a big old ball in the sky and many many times larger than our good whole earth. All of this is speculation no one knows for sure. Fly safe.
 
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FlushVision

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Hello everyone,

As we have been under solar storm conditions for the past 3 days or so, I've been researching about this topic and I've come across different opinions, some say it's dangerous to fly (using gps) when the K index is above 3 and others say it's not a big deal.

During my research I came across a similar thread on a phantom forum, and later on that thread they linked to this post which (for those who don't feel like reading) basically exposes that anything below K 7 is completely safe for UAV GPS flight.

Solar Flares

I did flew my H yesterday, I took some pictures and 4k video to test a little refocus on my camera yesterday, the K index was between 5 and 6 so I took off with my finger ready to tap on the disable GPS button just in case. My flight was just a simple climb a few meters just for a minute. After booting the H I got GPS lock on 19 sats just like any normal day and there was no unexpected behaviour (though it was a very short flight)

Anyway, during my research I found very split opinions about the K index and UAV GPS flight, so I wanted to know what do you think about it.

Greetings!
Hi Jules.
Many consider a Kp index value of more than 4 to be too high, me included, although I have taken off at a 5 but that was just a one-off because I needed to get a job done. I would strongly advise against anyone to fly at a 5 or more.

A high Kp index could have an effect on GPS accuracy and reliability: For example, although it may seem that you have plenty of satellites locked, there is a greater risk of those satellites dropping out during a flight and even if you do keep those satellites, they may give some false information so causing your aircraft to drift around hunting for position, or in a worst case event contribute to a fly away.

My commercial ops manual states that a Kp value of 4 is my upper operating limit. However, I do personally know of at least one commercial operator who has his upper limit at 5.

My bottom line is that although my limit is no higher than 4 and a 5 is doable if pushed...above 5 is a no-no. IMHO
 
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According to Robert Brunet eho is the admin on yuneec facebook page its all B.S. here is what he has to say about it. I've never worried about KP index and I've never run into a problem. From the space center, The principal users affected by geomagnetic storms are the electrical power grid, spacecraft operations, users of radio signals that reflect off of or pass through the ionosphere, and observers of the aurora. None of those apply to drones to fly no problem. But if you're nervous, don't. I tend to agree with him as near the beginning of the month the kp index was 9 and I had no problems.

Sent from my LG-D852 using Tapatalk
 

FlushVision

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According to Robert Brunet eho is the admin on yuneec facebook page its all B.S. here is what he has to say about it. I've never worried about KP index and I've never run into a problem. From the space center, The principal users affected by geomagnetic storms are the electrical power grid, spacecraft operations, users of radio signals that reflect off of or pass through the ionosphere, and observers of the aurora. None of those apply to drones to fly no problem. But if you're nervous, don't. I tend to agree with him as near the beginning of the month the kp index was 9 and I had no problems.

Sent from my LG-D852 using Tapatalk
Don't GPS signals pass through the Ionosphere then? ;)
 
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According to Robert Brunet eho is the admin on yuneec facebook page its all B.S. here is what he has to say about it. I've never worried about KP index and I've never run into a problem. From the space center, The principal users affected by geomagnetic storms are the electrical power grid, spacecraft operations, users of radio signals that reflect off of or pass through the ionosphere, and observers of the aurora. None of those apply to drones to fly no problem. But if you're nervous, don't. I tend to agree with him as near the beginning of the month the kp index was 9 and I had no problems.

Sent from my LG-D852 using Tapatalk
Wow! way too cool information! This is truly and education!
 
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If I stopped flying everytime the kp index was 4 to 5 I would be on the ground 90 prrcent of the time
 

FlushVision

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Like I said I had know problem whats so ever
View attachment 3859
That's fair enough. If you aren't worried about flying in a 9 then that's your call and for you to explain to the person you may crash in to. However, for me, I would rarely take off at more than a 4 and only ever once at a 5. That is my call.

But to say that a high Kp index has no effect on a drone by suggesting that it does not use radio waves that is reflected from, or passes through the Ionosphere is clearly wrong. GPS signals do.
 
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If I stopped flying everytime the kp index was 4 to 5 I would be on the ground 90 prrcent of the time
I honestly hadn't worried about checking the KP index since I started flying drones (which was past june hahaha) and I've just started to think about it because last week I saw a few notes and posts over the web warning UAV users that a solar storm was coming.

It seems that the split opinions are very well setteled on the UAV community and the Yuneec pilots forum is no exception:rolleyes:

Makes me wonder, could this be a case of "better safe than sorry"?
 
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This is still good information though I agree that you might be able to fly with the KB 06 but why take a chance? Please don't be one of those who says I don't know what happen when in actuality you do know what happened.
 
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At the bottom of the post that I quoted what Robert had said he also said and I quote "But if you're nervous, don't."
I also agree with this. Its your call.
I have been flying yuneec products for since the first Q500 series in 2014. I have flown in KP indexes of 5-6 a lot. I used to worry about it like evereyone else. When the KP index hit 9 on that day I said lets really test this out. I flew one whole battery and never noticed any thing different from a 1-2 KP index day. Was I nervous, yes I was but not any more.
 
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It is all about WHERE in the world you are flying relative to where the readings are taken.
There used to be a good web site (now no longer accessible, I fear)
that would give you the readings for 6 different places on the planet where these readings are taken, one places 7 was another places 2.

This one, for instance, from NOAA, shows the readings for Boulder, Colorado, USA and IF I was there would not be flying!!
Planetary K-index | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center
 
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Rayray

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As a Ham Radio OP, I have long been familiar with the Geo-magnetic conditions and the effect on Ham Radio propagation. Generally any strong effect is in northern areas (one cause of "Northern Lights").

Personally, If I see the Kp index is 5 or more, I go ahead and fly. During startup, my routine is to not only get 15 or more Sats on the H, but also 10 or more on the ST-16. If anything looks flaky, I shut them down and restart. No problems and this usually only takes some 2 to 4 minutes. Kp is 5 now and I just had 20 Sats on the H and 16 on the ST-16 for 2 batteries of flying.
 
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It is all about WHERE in the world you are flying relative to where the readings are taken.
There used to be a good web site (now no longer accessible, I fear)
that would give you the readings for 6 different places on the planet where these readings are taken, one places 7 was another places 2.

This one, for instance, from NOAA, shows the readings for Boulder, Colorado, USA and IF I was there would not be flying!!
Planetary K-index | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center
This may go a way to helping to understand the severity of disruption (or not)
NOAA Space Weather Scales | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center
 

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