Gannet Pro (includes charging station, landing gear, blades, one (1) battery, remote control, threaded landing gear receptors with screws, battery tester and all charger wiring)
DRONE - Purchased off of eBay in "Brand New" condition - $1,650.00
BATTERIES (2) - Purchased from Urban Drones website - $394.00
LANDING GEAR - Purchased from GannetUSA (no longer a website) - $37.00
REPLACEMENT BLADES (4) - Purchased from Urban Drones website - $98.00
LANDING GEAR - Purchased "make-shift" landing gear from Ace Hardware - $21.00
ADDITIONAL GEAR - Purchased used from a friend - extra batteries (2), cables and blades - $200.00
TOTAL INVESTMENT - $2,400.00
Notes on the above expenses: The original landing gear fell off in flight from vibration. The second set of landing gear also fell off from vibration. I just purchased the make-shift landing gear and have not used it yet. The replacement blades that I purchased were requried because I flew the drone in high winds. When the drone landed the wind flipped it over and the blades chipped on some seashells. The extra batteries are used so that I do not have down time waiting for a battery to charge. One on the charger, one in the drone and one on standby.
Statistics - Updated as of 6/14/23
Just Bitten Drone is still functioning - Yes
Total time in service (original purchase date was 8/17/21) - 2 Yrs & 5 Months
Total fishing trips that used the drone - 28
Total bait drop deployments - 358
Total sharks caught - 89
Total current price per deployment - $6.71
Total current price per shark - $26.97
The above numbers will be updated after each fishing trip
On 9/9/22, I first started noticing the drone drifting upon take off. It seemed to only happen with one specific battery and I'm not sure why a battery would have anything to do with this. As I changed batteries throughout the day, the drifting stopped when the other two batteries were in the drone. It also seemed like the RTH was significantly off (by about 10ft) when using the battery. I am going to keep testing this and do some research to see if I can figure it out. This problem has not disrupted the drone usage but could and is concerning. Update 4/1/23 - This must have been a fluke. The drone seems to be operating normally now.
6/3/23 - The drone crashed into the beach sand twice on this trip. I have only crashed it once before back in 2021. The first time I crashed the drone, it was because I was flying it in heavy winds. I learned on that first crash that it is best to let the drone land itself in RTH mode in high wind. It tends not to flip over after landing. On this trip, both crashes were due to taking off in 15mph winds from thick soft sand. When the drone would pop out of the sand, the wind would carry it backwards and both crashes were from the fishing line tangling into the blades. Definitely scary. The last crash on this trip, it landed upside down and buried itself in the thick sand. the motors filled up with sand and luckily I had lots of fresh water with me. I cleaned out the motors for a long time and finally got back in the air. Lots of cleaning, blowing out the motors and I re-oiled the motors when I got home.
6/16/23 - I finally lost my first battery. I noticed the battery starting to swell early this month. It was getting harder to put inside the drone because of how much it had grown. I didn't realized how dangerous this was until I got home and searched the internet. That battery will be disposed of. I am not going to chance that.
10/22/23 - Another battery started to swell so I retired it. I am back down to 3 batteries again. I noticed that the drone is is drifting backward on takeoff. I have to manually adjust so that it stays on top of the bait as it begins to lift. Also, it seems like the front of the drone is lifting higher than the backside. Almost like it is flying at an angle.
(Left) Original legs, (Right) Aftermarket extended legs
Ace Hardware legs that were much cheaper
Additional Notable Items
- I now deploy baits at night without issue
- I don't have to kayak (I hate kayaking)
- Both of my kids caught their personal best shark
- Reading the surf is no longer required to find a good spot
- Surf conditions will not be a issue with bait deployment
- The above statistics only track sharks caught. Other fish have been caught as well
I felt the need to quantify the statistics above in order to justify making such an expensive purchase. I did not originally intend on making this information public, but after some thought, I figured it may help other people that are thinking about buying a drone. Out of all of the information above, the specific item that I am most focused on is the "Total current price per deployment". This is how much it has cost me each time the drone deploys a bait for me. Every time that I use the drone to deploy a bait, the price per deployment drops in value and becomes a better deal for me overall. For example, with a total cost of investment at $2,200 and 100 baits deployed, the total price per deployment will be $22.00 (Cost ($2,200) divided by deployment times (100)). As the price per deployment decreases with each use, at some point I will say "Yes, the investment I made is worth what I received in return". This point will be different for everyone. I have personally set a goal of $20 per deployment. That equals 110 drone deployment flights with the current cost of $2,200.00. If I get more than that I will be very happy.
I think I need to explain the countdown that I am doing here. All of the information above will come to an end once the drone becomes unusable. I purchased this drone knowing that it would not last forever. Even under the best care, the drone will fail and since most of the fly time is above water, there is a chance I may never get it back when it does fail. If I do get it back, Gannet Drones have a terrible reputation of never working right again once they land in saltwater. With the current supply chain issues from overseas, some people have waited years for their drone replacement parts. So, to me, each fishing trip is a countdown to my goal of $20 per deployment.
Enough with the math. I can go to the beach and get completely set up with three bait deployments out without even getting wet! As a matter of fact, one trip earlier this year, the water was cold and I fished all weekend without catching a shark. You know what? I stayed dry all weekend long!! Before the drone, I would only fish casted rods after the sun went down. Now, bait deployment at night is a piece of cake. There are so many advantages to using a drone that my heart tells me it a good idea even though my brain doesn't have me convinced it’s financially a good idea yet. Hopefully the drone lasts long enough for me to be satisfied in mind and heart.
Showing off the new Ace Hardware landing gear
Day 1 - My wife's birthday present to me (She didn't know)
How I take care of my drone
Everyone that I know takes care of their drone differently. Some people wash their drone with fresh water after every trip to the beach and some don't. Some people throw their drone in the back of their pick up and haul off down the beach and others take their time to put everything back perfectly into the carrying case. Everyone thinks that their way is the best and the people that have lost drones (due to failure) swear that there is nothing you can do to prevent a loss. I am not claiming that my way is the best way to take care of a drone but I have my reasons for doing things the way I do them. I can only hope that what I am doing prolongs the inevitable failure as much as possible.
- I do not do a fresh water flush on the motors. The manufacturer recommendation is to complete a fresh water flush over the drone after a beach trip. I am going against manufacturer recommendation by not flushing. However, I do have some knowledge of motors and motor windings and know that water and electricity are rarely ever good together.
- At all times when the drone is not in use (at the beach), I loosely cover the motors with rags and place the drone inside my Jeep. This should decrease the amount of salt exposure to the open motor windings and motor bearings.
- I do not fly the drone if the battery is less than 16 volts charged. I only fly the drone on long drops (250 meters and greater) with a freshly charged battery. I never do three deployments on the same battery charge.
- When I get home, I use the PC cleaner compressed air to blow out the sand and salt from the motors. I wipe down the entire drone and all of the accessories that came to the beach with me.
- I make sure that battery inside the compartment is disconnected when the drone is in storage and I loosen the battery compartment door to prevent the door gasket from over compressing and failing.
- During long storage (30+ days), I discharge the batteries to 15.4v as recommended.
- Always follow the calibration steps before each use and always make sure that my phone and the contrroller are connected to the drone prior to taking off.
Update 4/1/23 - A few months ago I noticed the drone making a high pitched noise. It sounded similar to motor bearing going out so I contacted Gannet to see if the motors may possibly need to greased. I was told to use oil that is "not a solvent based lubricant" and just add a drop into the channel near the motor. I now add a drop of Penn reel oil every few months to make sure that the motors stay lubricated.
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