Mavic Lost! Failure to Return to Home

Discussion in 'Mavic Pro Discussions' started by Reaper Two Seven, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Reaper Two Seven

    Reaper Two Seven Active Member

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    Hi all,

    I've been a longtime reader of this forum, all the way back to my Phantom 3 Professional days. I've owned the P3P, the P4, and now, for a brief time, the Mavic Pro. According to my profile, I have 1,131,787 feet logged (214.35 miles) and 16 hours 14 minutes of flight time, synced between my iPhone and iPad. Not professing to be a pro, but not considering myself a novice. This is my first post. The reason I'm motivated to make a post is because I want to share with you what happened to me today. I ordered the Mavic Pro Fly More Combo direct from DJI on 10-3-16. I picked it up from the FedEx center last night after 6pm on 11-29-16 because no one was home to sign for it. Got it home, charged up the batteries and remote. Did the compulsory update. Flew it twice that night from my house. Short flights, nothing fancy, just checking out the handling and functions. I noticed it had a tendency to drift to the left or crab sideways in forward flight. Did the stick calibration which seemed to alleviate it somewhat but did not eliminate it. Gimball had a slightly tilted horizon, adjusted that in software. Other than that, all seemed well and I was very wowed and pleased with the diminutive size of it along with the build quality and solid construction of the airframe and remote. Ok, onto the third and final flight. That happened today, at around 11:30 am. I took off near the downtown of a major metropolitan area. I flew towards the city center. Had good solid signal with the Occusync system - it isn't all just marketing hype, I can really tell the difference between the strength of the video downlink as well as the higher quality of the feed. Still crabbing a bit, it was challenging to fly in a straight line. I flew about 7800 feet to the city center with a good signal. Here's where everything went pear shaped. I could tell the signal was starting to degrade around the tall buildings. Battery was at 47%. Altitude was around 300 feet. I was in the process of ascending to get better signal to make the trip back home when the image greyed out and finally dropped. Got the prompt asking if I wanted to return to home, which I said yes. Stood there for about 20 - 40 seconds, expecting to get signal back any second. A minute goes by. Then two and three. Then four minutes. At which time I started to get that panicky feeling rising in my chest. I jumped in my car and drove the straight shot downtown, got there in about 4 minutes, holding my remote out the window the whole time. Got all the way to where I last lost it. Nothing. Never re-established signal. The remote just sat there, saying "CONNECTING" on the screen. It was gone. Went back to where I launched. It was nowhere to be found. Vision positioning system was turned OFF. Smart return to home was turned ON. Return to home altitude set at 90 meters. Buildings in that area are around 450+ feet tall. I have the FAA registration in the battery compartment as well as my telephone number to claim a reward. I had the drone about 18 hours before I lost it.

    After taking some time to compose myself I picked up the phone and called DJI technical support. I spoke to a tech and described my situation, in which he opened a case for review. I synced my flight records, provided my email address and serial number on the back of my controller, a screen shot of my order number for proof of sale, along with the above description of what happened. The rep said that they would review the incident and get back with me in one to two weeks. What they will determine, or do, I don't know and the tech was noncommital when I asked him that. I contacted DJI sales through chat and waited awhile before one became available (there were 91 people ahead of me) and asked about the $749 Mavic without the RC option to see if it was available, as it is not available for purchase on their website. The $749 option without the remote was touted during the official announcement. The DJI sales rep replied with:

    "Right now there is not any Mavic without remote controller for sale yet. We may release one later. Mavic pro comes with a remote controller. You are not recommended to use Mavic without controller. When you fly in wifi mode, the max height and range will be cut."

    So now my options are to wait till the tech support gets back to me about my fly away issue, or I can order a $999 Mavic with RC, or do without. I have all the other accessories to the drone, extra batteries, car charger, bag, etc. I just really need the aircraft. After considering this issue all day, I went ahead and ordered the $999 Mavic. If tech support gets back to me and determines that I can get a concession whether its a full replacement or option to buy the aircraft only at a reduced price, I can always cancel my order. Somehow I don't feel optimistic about this though.

    I am writing this to share with you my experience as both a precautionary tale and maybe as an example of a product feature not working as intended. With the smart return to home, when the drone encounters an obstacle it should try to ascend and go over, or at the very least, hover in place. I've lost connection with my Phantoms countless times and they have always come back. It's very possible that a tall building was in the return path. Ask questions, make comments, offer ideas - this is what the forum is for. I've been beating myself up all day about this, and will continue to do so for quite a while, so please, I don't need comments about maintaining visual line of sight, I'm ruining the hobby for everyone else, etc. There's a very good reason why I don't post on forums. Not just this forum, but most of them. And on here there's always going to be the people thumping rule books and that isn't something that is going to be constructive in my case. But I digress and I shall wait for it to start. Shouldn't take long.
     
  2. Mahoosiv

    Mahoosiv Well-Known Member

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    Hard luck mate, good luck with the tech query. Hope it works out.
     
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  3. Reaper Two Seven

    Reaper Two Seven Active Member

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    Thank you, I've felt sickened all day about this.
     
  4. Jengle

    Jengle New Member

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    I am new here, and am wondering why fly a maiden flight out where you may not be able to see and control it? I don't trust technology implicitly, and when I receive my mavic I'll be out in an open field for the first several flights.

    Hope you get lucky. I have read of others that have their mavic fly into buildings on the RTH
     
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  5. J-Dub

    J-Dub Well-Known Member

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    No video? Maybe someone will call you if it's findable.
     
  6. msinger

    msinger Well-Known Member
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    Did you review your TXT flight log to see if it shows what happened? You can upload it here.
     
  7. vashon100

    vashon100 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about your situation. I haven't received my Mavic yet, but been giving some thought to some mentions of an insurance policy for fly-away/lost/crashed craft. A couple people have quoted low prices (30-60/yr) for them. Sounds like a lot of peace of mind. The $99 for DJI Care is lacking for losses.
     
  8. Graves14

    Graves14 Active Member

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    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    As I was reading, I was wondering if you returned to your home location. You did, but I also am curious if the Mavic returned and someone picked it up while you were chasing after it.

    I have had a similar loss of contact experience, where the controller and Litchi were both saying connecting/disconnected. That feeling in my stomach, so horrible. Totally helpless. In reviewing my logs the disconnection period lasted only about 120 seconds but let me tell you... one of the LONGEST 120 seconds I can recall in my life!

    Thankfully in my case I sat still waiting and eventually heard the Mavic over my house.... Still reporting as disconnected on the controller and Litchi until it started to descend to the home point.

    I do think there's an issue with loss of communication and re-establishment. But at least in my case the Mavic still returned to home safely.

    You seem like an avid drone flyer, and I would just bite the bullet and order another one now and get the queue. No one said this was a cheap hobby :)
     
    McMavic likes this.
  9. kodiak1120

    kodiak1120 Well-Known Member

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    Not trying to call you out, but why would you fly it so far away, in a highly populated, high-interference area on only your third flight? Or why fly it that far at all? I like being able to get out a half a mile or so from where I am, but I rarely go further than that because there's usually enough to see/record/do in that half mile radius.

    Edit: Sorry for the loss of your bird, btw.... definitely sucks.
     
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  10. sonof40

    sonof40 Active Member

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    Bummer man. But, I mean a return to home set at 90M (295 feet) around 450 foot buildings?
     
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  11. duelingglove

    duelingglove Well-Known Member

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    Go see deckdog post about his Mavic. They should send you a new one. I said 'should' if it was me I'd burn up their phone lines. Until a drone was resent. FedEx of course


    Sent from my iPhone using MavicPilots
     
  12. Reaper Two Seven

    Reaper Two Seven Active Member

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    Good question. I've always been a "techie" and one to embrace technology. Although now, I feel like my faith needs a strong dose of skepticism when it comes to the latest and greatest. Add to that when I made my first daytime maiden flight I wanted to test the range. I am not interested in setting absolute records, I am more concerned about penetration and proneness to interference. I have had issues with my Phantom 4 range dropping out 300 feet away from me. I want to be able to fly in a moderately congested area (housing addition, wifi in all the homes) without the video feed dropping every 2 minutes. I found that the home made windsurfers helped out quite a bit on the Phantom 4 with custom channel mod set on channel 22. Looking at the Mavic's channel selector it does not appear to work the same way at all.
     
  13. Reaper Two Seven

    Reaper Two Seven Active Member

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    I can only hope so. Although I think in the first few golden hours, if someone hasn't called me, chances are no one will. And who knows what kind of condition it would be if someone were to find it and call me. Definitely not airworthy, that's for sure.
     
  14. chuckb223

    chuckb223 Member

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    I have two observations here.
    1) You said you were losing signal so you started to ascend for the return home. Ascending was only making the distance between you and the mavic greater which is probably why you lost signal.
    2) You flew out 7800 feet and your battery was down to 47%. How did you expect to get back if you had already used more than half your battery. There's a possibility your mavic started to fly back but hit the critical battery level and was forced to land somewhere in between.
     
  15. Reaper Two Seven

    Reaper Two Seven Active Member

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    I have not done that, I assume when the pictured greyed out and dropped entirely that all telemetry ceased being transmitted to the controller. I was in a relatively open expanse of area when that happened so even if I could look at the data I doubt it would tell me anything useful.
     
  16. Reaper Two Seven

    Reaper Two Seven Active Member

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    That actually doesn't sound like a bad idea. After today's incident I also gave some thought to those tracking devices that are commercially available in case you lose your drone. That would have definitely been helpful to have.
     
  17. msinger

    msinger Well-Known Member
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    When the remote controller disconnects, RTH should be initiated. Based on the last location in the log, you might be able to figure out where it landed/crashed.
     
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  18. Reaper Two Seven

    Reaper Two Seven Active Member

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    Thank you for your condolences. I did return to my home location and the thought did cross my mind that maybe someone swiped it. But thinking about that, I ruled out that scenario as unlikely because the drone and I would have "crossed paths" while I was enroute to its last location. And that feeling in the pit of the stomach is awful. I could feel my heart beating. Just a terrible, terrible feeling. And I did bite the bullet and order another one. I project it won't arrive until the latter part of January but I can console myself that it isn't so bad because at this time of year where I am everything is dead and brown and it's dreadfully cold out. Prime drone season for me won't start back up till spring.
     
  19. gregw

    gregw Well-Known Member

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    You said you had the VPS off.. Did you also turn off the Obstacle Avoidance system? Failsafe RTH will NOT use the OA to avoid obstacles if the OA is off... Page 13, 2nd section under "Failsafe RTH", 2nd point below..

    If OA is off, then I believe the Mavic probably hit a building on the way back...

    You can download the manual at: Mavic – Specs, FAQ, Tutorials and Downloads
     
  20. Reaper Two Seven

    Reaper Two Seven Active Member

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    I usually don't fly in those conditions. I have flown downtown maybe a handful of times and always line of sight where I can literally see it. I've gotten some amazing shots that way but that isn't what I mainly use the drone for. I happened to be near downtown today and thought, why not? I got a really cool shot of a train in the foreground with the downtown skyline in the background and decided to keep going. I don't make a habit out of flying long distance at all. Today was an exception, and you raised some good points. I paid dearly for that.
     
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