Welcome, Commercial Drone Pilots!
Join our growing community today!
Sign up

DJI no-fly zones

Red90

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
71
Reaction score
57
Age
47
Location
Wales, UK
Website
www.red90.co.uk
Hey all,

Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere, but is there any way to turn off the geo-fencing on the DJI Go 4 app (running the latest version 4.3.17)?

I fly a lot for the military & encountered an issue in Germany yesterday. I was flying indoors in a huge hangar, but it was just down the road from the Rammestein Air Force base & the craft refused take-off, saying I was within restricted airspace. With the client along-side me I was a little taken aback to find out I could no longer hit a check-box to acknowledge that I took full responsibility for my flight as I have done previously whilst flying on military ground.

Can anyone tell me how to/if it’s still possible override the software.


Cheers,
Martin.
 

BigAl07

Administrator
Staff member
DSAR Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
1,904
Reaction score
1,271
Age
48
Location
Western North Carolina
IMHO you're probably better off going with a system that isn't GeoFenced to begin with. The reason I suggest this is you are going around "Factory Programming" and if there is an incident (at least from the US side of legal points) and you've altered the FACTORY programming full liability and prosecution falls into your lap.

Not every "Restricted Space" can be Self Unlocked. If you have the proper credentials you can request a Custom Unlock but those take a few days to get approved and on at least one occasion it still did not work when we were on site with the client. That's the whole reason we purchased a Yuneec H520 as our backup system.
 

Red90

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
71
Reaction score
57
Age
47
Location
Wales, UK
Website
www.red90.co.uk
Perfect - thanks for the info!

We always fly with full permission (indoors is obviously not covered by ATC anyway) but great help, many thanks.


Martin.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigAl07

GadgetGuy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
60
Age
41
The reason I suggest this is you are going around "Factory Programming" and if there is an incident (at least from the US side of legal points) and you've altered the FACTORY programming full liability and prosecution falls into your lap.
Can you cite some U.S. legal authority from which these opinion stem? It's news to me!
Prosecution by whom, and for what?
Full liability for what, and to whom?
Assuming the alteration of the factory programming has nothing to do with the incident, how it it even relevent?
Assuming you have legal permission from all relevant authorities to fly in an NFZ, why should one also legally be required to get permission from DJI, such that one has somehow, otherwise broken the law, if one independently bypasses DJI's NFZ's for the flight, through modifying a flight parameter?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: drone Pilot

BigAl07

Administrator
Staff member
DSAR Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
1,904
Reaction score
1,271
Age
48
Location
Western North Carolina
Can you cite some U.S. legal authority from which these opinion stem? It's news to me!
Prosecution by whom, and for what?
Full liability for what, and to whom?
Assuming the alteration of the factory programming has nothing to do with the incident, how it it even relevent?
Assuming you have legal permission from all relevant authorities to fly in an NFZ, why should one also legally be required to get permission from DJI, such that one has somehow, otherwise broken the law, if one independently bypasses DJI's NFZ's for the flight, through modifying a flight parameter? [Getting out the popcorn, for the interesting discussion to follow...]
In aviation it's long been known that if there is an incident and the aircraft has been modified outside of factory or "standard/allowable" parameters the aircraft was no longer Airworthy. Since the NTSB etc will be the same parties investigating a sUAS incident why would we expect anything to be different?

I'm not interested in a long winded debate. The OP can take my advice or not (and it's solid advice) but I'm not here for your entertainment. Not now not ever . . . .
 

GadgetGuy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
60
Age
41
In aviation it's long been known that if there is an incident and the aircraft has been modified outside of factory or "standard/allowable" parameters the aircraft was no longer Airworthy. Since the NTSB etc will be the same parties investigating a sUAS incident why would we expect anything to be different?

I'm not interested in a long winded debate. The OP can take my advice or not (and it's solid advice) but I'm not here for your entertainment. Not now not ever . . . .
My questions were legitimate, and I apologize if I overplayed the entertainment angle. Even though drones are technically "aircraft", analogizing everything from full sized aircraft to drones, is not in any way comparable.
Can you please just answer the questions?

Can you cite some U.S. legal authority from which these opinions stem regarding drones, other than pure speculation?
Prosecution by whom, and for what?
Full liability for what, and to whom?
Assuming the alteration of the factory programming has nothing to do with the incident, how it it even relevent?
Assuming you have legal permission from all relevant authorities to fly in an NFZ, why should one also legally be required to get permission from DJI, such that one has somehow, otherwise broken the law, if one independently bypasses DJI's NFZ's for the flight, through modifying a flight parameter?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: drone Pilot

PatR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
312
Reaction score
204
Location
Central California
Let’s view things from a product liability perspective for a moment. First we’ll establish that is not illegal, at this time, to modify the equipment provided us with drones but in so doing we will be held responsible for performance modifications that negatively impact the NAS or persons and property on the ground.

If a manufacturer installed software designed to restrict owners from flying in areas where their presence would be generally considered as unsafe and we modified that software to bypass the restrictions, any incident instantly becomes the responsibility of the person or persons that performed the modification.

I’m not a lawyer but I can see where charges like reckless endangerment, involuntary manslaughter, or second degree murder could be levied if a death or injury was involved. The modification might well be the difference between a civil and a criminal charge. Had the design be left unmodified and the original software prevented use in a manner that induced an incident it would get ugly.

Although I do believe DJI’s nannyware is wrong on many levels I personally would avoid making changes on my own simply because I do not know what other effects modification to their flight restriction software might cause. There are ways to change their software, with groups dedicated to that effort. Search the various RC forums to find them.

Bear in mind the full effects of Part 349 are about to go into effect. Should you read them you’ll find find remote ID, flight restrictions and prevention of user modification are part of what we will shortly have to comply with.
 

drone Pilot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
47
Reaction score
13
Age
51
In aviation it's long been known that if there is an incident and the aircraft has been modified outside of factory or "standard/allowable" parameters the aircraft was no longer Airworthy. Since the NTSB etc will be the same parties investigating a sUAS incident why would we expect anything to be different?

I'm not interested in a long winded debate. The OP can take my advice or not (and it's solid advice) but I'm not here for your entertainment. Not now not ever . . . .
Please tone down your responses, which are unbecoming of a staff member
 
  • Wow
  • Like
Reactions: AH-1G and GadgetGuy

GadgetGuy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
60
Age
41
Let’s view things from a product liability perspective for a moment. First we’ll establish that is not illegal, at this time, to modify the equipment provided us with drones but in so doing we will be held responsible for performance modifications that negatively impact the NAS or persons and property on the ground.

If a manufacturer installed software designed to restrict owners from flying in areas where their presence would be generally considered as unsafe and we modified that software to bypass the restrictions, any incident instantly becomes the responsibility of the person or persons that performed the modification.

I’m not a lawyer but I can see where charges like reckless endangerment, involuntary manslaughter, or second degree murder could be levied if a death or injury was involved. The modification might well be the difference between a civil and a criminal charge. Had the design be left unmodified and the original software prevented use in a manner that induced an incident it would get ugly.

Although I do believe DJI’s nannyware is wrong on many levels I personally would avoid making changes on my own simply because I do not know what other effects modification to their flight restriction software might cause. There are ways to change their software, with groups dedicated to that effort. Search the various RC forums to find them.

Bear in mind the full effects of Part 349 are about to go into effect. Should you read them you’ll find find remote ID, flight restrictions and prevention of user modification are part of what we will shortly have to comply with.
All good points. However, since flying with the manufacturer's unmodified software does not in any way relieve the pilot for liability for results of mistakes within the software, should the pilot completely rely upon the manufacturer's software, it makes no sense that correcting a mistake to allow one to fly where one has all legal authority to do so, should make one liable for an incident unrelated to bypassing the manufacturer’s restriction. The pilot is always the one ultimately responsible for the flight. The manufacturer’s software is merely an aid, not a guarantee, nor a get out of jail free card.

Also, let's get real. Drones are not airplanes. These draconian scenarios aren't happening. The FAA is far more interested in drone education than drone fines or jail time.


You can read about the most egregious cases, and see exactly how light the outcomes were. Most get a warning. Fines, if imposed at all, are usually suspended, and only one guy has ever spent any time in jail!

Fly safe and legally, but the FAA is not likely to fine you or put you in jail, even if you are flying completely unlicensed commercially, and certainly not for merely altering flight parameters to allow you to fly legally, where you have written permission from all relevant authorities. Flying with an Autel EVO does not lessen the violation if you lack authorization to fly in a NFZ! The pilot alone is fully responsible for all his actions. Lastly, the only way any of this becomes relevant is if there is an incident. Make sure no incident occurs! Isn't that the whole point of all of these regulations?
 

BigAl07

Administrator
Staff member
DSAR Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
1,904
Reaction score
1,271
Age
48
Location
Western North Carolina
Please tone down your responses, which are unbecoming of a staff member
First off my "tone" is nothing compared to your screaming.

If you have a problem take it up in private instead of dropping this on the forum in public.

I am not just a staff member but also a contributor to this discussion forum and as such I am allowed an opinnion just as you are. I expressed mine and left it at that.

Lastly, I didn't have a tone I merely stated my opinnion and the fact I was not going to enter into an ongoing debate with that member about it. Plain and simple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LUIS MARTINEZ

GadgetGuy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
60
Age
41
First off my "tone" is nothing compared to your screaming.

If you have a problem take it up in private instead of dropping this on the forum in public.

I am not just a staff member but also a contributor to this discussion forum and as such I am allowed an opinnion just as you are. I expressed mine and left it at that.

Lastly, I didn't have a tone I merely stated my opinnion and the fact I was not going to enter into an ongoing debate with that member about it. Plain and simple.
With all due respect, you were stating what you are now calling your opinion as fact, and when politely asked to back it up with facts, you refused. We are all here to learn from each other. Asking you the basis for your factually asserted statements is not debating. It's asking clarification so we all can learn from the discussion, and contribute. When you restate that something is "solid advice", you are still implying that it is factually based, and not just your opinion.

You began this by stating:
"The reason I suggest this is you are going around "Factory Programming" and if there is an incident (at least from the US side of legal points) and you've altered the FACTORY programming full liability and prosecution falls into your lap."

I merely questioned what U.S. legal authority you based that bold statement upon.
Turns out it is just your layman's opinion.

(Sorry, due to a bizarre formatting issue, I am unable to remove the bolding from the text above, and anything else I type is still in bold. Perhaps the same thing happened to the poster you are rebuking for expressing his opinion, which came across as screaming, solely because of formatting.)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: drone Pilot

PatR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
312
Reaction score
204
Location
Central California
We should consider that drone manufacturers don’t care about our or public safety. They only care about protecting their bank accounts and future revenue generation efforts. NFZ’s are just a shallow attempt to minimize their presence in the product liability chain.

We often view what has gone before as a means to guess what will happen going forward. Although to date our FAA’s enforcement of drone laws has been exceedingly lax we should have no expectation that will continue. In fact, the contents of Part 349 are strongly suggestive lax enforcement will not continue after this year. There are reasons for stronger enforcement aside from Part 349 but those should be shelved for another day.

What should be remembered is the FAA and NTSB have always referred to aircraft pilot operating handbooks for the specific aircraft type and aircraft certification standards when they review incidents. Unless registered as experimental or restricted aircraft have certified equipment lists and any equipment present not on the list must have an STC. Otherwise it would be viewed as installed and used illegally. When it comes to incident investigations our drones are most definitely treated as aircraft.

As our drones do not yet have certification standards they look to the manufacturers design and intent, with intent largely demonstrated through the soft and firmware. They would also review the manufacturer’s EULA, which in DJI’s case the user agreed to before they flew the aircraft. The way that EULA is written the buyer never truly owns the aircraft, DJi retains the rights and modifications are prohibited. Any user modification of manufacturer equipment absolves the manufacturer of liability and any modifications would be blatantly noted in the incident report.

I do believe the laxity of enforcement to date has been due to a lack thus far of serious accidents and the wording used in Parts 333 and 107. However, the full NTSB report of the incident between a Phantom and a Blackhawk near New York has bot yet been published. As that qualifies as a serious incident the day the report is published will be the day our world turns upside down.

For the money spent buying and equipping a manufacturer restricted M-600 you could buy other unrestricted systems with as much or more flexibility for a similar price. In fact they have more flexibility as they don’t require all the equipment be purchased from a single manufacturer and can be expanded indefinitely without being required to buy a new model. You just have to do things differently from the way DJI does them so the whole DJI software modification debate is senseless from my perspective.

If you don’t like it or feel constrained by it, buy something else. That’s why I have a 920 instead of an Inspire. If I had a desire for more capability I would buy an Alta, Aerial Alchemy Y6, or an Intel Falcon 8. They cost more but all can carry full frame payloads.
 
Last edited:

GadgetGuy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
60
Age
41
We should consider that drone manufacturers don’t care about our or public safety. They only care about protecting their bank accounts and future revenue generation efforts. NFZ’s are just a shallow attempt to minimize their presence in the product liability chain.

We often view what has gone before as a means to guess what will happen going forward. Although to date our FAA’s enforcement of drone laws has been exceedingly lax we should have no expectation that will continue. In fact, the contents of Part 349 are strongly suggestive lax enforcement will not continue after this year. There are reasons for stronger enforcement aside from Part 349 but those should be shelved for another day.

What should be remembered is the FAA and NTSB have always referred to aircraft pilot operating handbooks for the specific aircraft type and aircraft certification standards when they review incidents. Unless registered as experimental or restricted aircraft have certified equipment lists and any equipment present not on the list must have an STC. Otherwise it would be viewed as installed and used illegally. When it comes to incident investigations our drones are most definitely treated as aircraft.

As our drones do not yet have certification standards they look to the manufacturers design and intent, with intent largely demonstrated through the soft and firmware. They would also review the manufacturer’s EULA, which in DJI’s case the user agreed to before they flew the aircraft. The way that EULA is written the buyer never truly owns the aircraft, DJi retains the rights and modifications are prohibited. Any user modification of manufacturer equipment absolves the manufacturer of liability and any modifications would be blatantly noted in the incident report.

I do believe the laxity of enforcement to date has been due to a lack thus far of serious accidents and the wording used in Parts 333 and 107. However, the full NTSB report of the incident between a Phantom and a Blackhawk near New York has bot yet been published. As that qualifies as a serious incident the day the report is published will be the day our world turns upside down.

For the money spent buying and equipping a manufacturer restricted M-600 you could buy other unrestricted systems with as much or more flexibility for a similar price. In fact they have more flexibility as they don’t require all the equipment be purchased from a single manufacturer and can be expanded indefinitely without being required to buy a new model. You just have to do things differently from the way DJI does them so the whole DJI software modification debate is senseless from my perspective.

If you don’t like it or feel constrained by it, buy something else. That’s why I have a 920 instead of an Inspire. If I had a desire for more capability I would buy an Alta, Aerial Alchemy Y6, or an Intel Falcon 8. They cost more but all can carry full frame payloads.
All excellent points. Thanks for contributing to the discussion. Personally, I suspect the laxity of enforcement is due to the relative insignificance of the perceived threat, and the lack of adequate enforcement resources, forcing a prioritization of threats, given all the other far more real daily threats in the national airspace, where lives are always at stake. The FAA's clearly stated goal with respect to drones has been education rather than punishment. Until that changes, and adequate additional resources are made available for enforcement, which is not likely to happen, the laxity will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Fly safe, and don't have any "incidents"!
 

Dave Pitman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2017
Messages
479
Reaction score
290
Location
Washington State
re: manufacturer geofencing.

A.
To be guilty of breaking a regulation (FAR), the regulation must first exist. None now exist for manufacturer marketing based geofencing.

B. Changing a parameter setting for reading a DJI NFZ database does not have any effect, adverse or otherwise, on any other craft performance. (I have personally tested and proven this extensively)

If a manufacturer believed that your uav should be blue and you skinned it orange, would that also make folks uncomfortable? The same folks that state changing a parameter is in and of itself "reckless operation" will happily strap on lights, parachutes or other equipment to their craft. Yet the NFZ parameter change has no other effect on flight performance while the other add-ons might.

The FAA is considering having manufactures or DIY builders certify certain aspects of the UAV, especially in regard to flying over people. Someday, maybe the FAA will mandate that manufacturers or builders certify aspects of flight control software. For now they have not. Facts still matter. (for now)

That's my opinion on this. @LUIS MARTINEZ can now post his picture of beating a horse. :p
 
  • Like
Reactions: GadgetGuy

PatR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
312
Reaction score
204
Location
Central California
I agree with you Dave, as things now stand there is nothing present to prevent us from changing anything as their are no certification standards. My position is predicated on something adverse occurring after changing a manufacturer’s “locked” software, and who would bear any liability afterwards.

Anything that even resembles a form of certification currently falls totally on the operator. If it can fly and is flown only the operator is responsible for assuring it is safe for flight, regardless of what is on or in it.

Now if the operator had been mislead by a deceptive manufacturer that assured their product was safe for flight but wasn’t, the operator could force a manufacture to share product liability after an incident. Bit had it been safe but changed by the operator for personal or professional reasons their would be no chance of off loading product liability.

For me it’s not a case of can or can’t as we can. It comes down to whether or not it’s a wise thing to to do in a litigious society. Totally a personal decision.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GadgetGuy

GadgetGuy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
60
Age
41
This is very constructive and helpful, guys! Thank you!
 

Dave Pitman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2017
Messages
479
Reaction score
290
Location
Washington State
For me it’s not a case of can or can’t as we can. It comes down to whether or not it’s a wise thing to to do in a litigious society. Totally a personal decision.
We are in general agreement, Pat.

Since context matters, my personal comfort with disabling the NFZ database check is based upon the way I did it. I was paying attention when it was learned that the user had the ability to expose and change all craft parameter values in DJI's own Assistant software simply by changing a setting in the Assistant software to turn on developer mode. If, on the other hand, it was accomplished by applying some patch or another method from some unknown developer or source, I would have been skeptical. This parameter is specific to telling the firmware how large a radius in the NFZ database to look for DJI specified areas. I just changed it to 0 meters. No other flight parameters are dependent upon this value or affected by the change. Very simple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GadgetGuy

PatR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
312
Reaction score
204
Location
Central California
On that basis, not having anyplace to look is like not having them at all;). No code would be removed, no code would be uploaded. Only a resident search parameter would change.
 

New Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
2,213
Messages
21,198
Members
3,468
Latest member
davet01