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Almost crashed my Air 3 today

Amitee

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Big learning today. I guess many would know this but sharing for the benefit of those who might not.

I took my Air 3 out with a landing gear attached - one of those collapsible ones.

41lXwB+ICZL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_.jpg

I primarily use it to mount the Air 3 on my side desk and rarely for flying. But whenever I did, it served pretty well.

Except today.

As I took off, throttled all the way to 120 mtrs, began positioning and framing, I felt something nudged the drone somewhat. I thought it might be a wind gush. It was in fact a bit windy today. In about a second the drone started to behave a little funny, wanting to land on its own. Now, it was already out some 500 mtrs away, right above heavy traffic area, so I couldn't just allow it to land where it was. I cancelled the auto-landing and pushed the RTH. It found the home point ok but didnt really move towards it. So I manually brought it above the home point. On the way, the wind pushed it up some 15-20 mtrs, so now its at 140 mtrs. I position it right above me and pull down on descent. It struggles to comprehend and my RC initiates an auto-landing once again. This time I allow it. BUT...the drone barely moves. So I cancel the auto landing and push RTH once again. The drone again struggles to comprehend. I'm at my wits end and I remind myself that I'm at full battery capacity at this point since this all began within seconds of me taking off. I pick up my phone and quickly google for answers. Nothing. By now the wind has pushed the drone up to about 160 mtrs. I'm at 88% battery. I check if all the functions are working fine. Throttle up, roll left, roll right, yaw left, yaw right, pitch forward, pitch backward. All good, except throttle down. I force a manual descent. Again, it struggles to comprehend and the RC initiates an auto-landing. This is the first time I notice that it is in fact descending, but at a really really slow speed - 0.7 kmph. I do a quick calculation and conclude that assuming the descent continues at this speed, I may just have enough battery for it come within 2-3 mtrs of reach before the battery runs out. So now I spend the next 20 minutes or so just watching it lower, at an excruciatingly slow pace. My heart is beating fast, as I see the battery range on the RC going erratic. I'm recalculating every minute. As it comes within reach, I notice that the landing gear legs are in collapsed status; and have completely covered all the bottom sensors.

Aaaahh....I see what happened there. No, it wasnt yesterdays RC firmware upgrade you stupid boy.

Learnings:

1. Never use the landing gear; this one actually hinders the sensors BY DESIGN
2. The 0.7 kmph descent speed is an extremely intelligent feature; its basically the drone giving you enough time to come within reach as it very slowly descends while maximising battery capacity
3. Pigeons are ********

Ciao
 
Big learning today. I guess many would know this but sharing for the benefit of those who might not.

I took my Air 3 out with a landing gear attached - one of those collapsible ones.

View attachment 172351

I primarily use it to mount the Air 3 on my side desk and rarely for flying. But whenever I did, it served pretty well.

Except today.

As I took off, throttled all the way to 120 mtrs, began positioning and framing, I felt something nudged the drone somewhat. I thought it might be a wind gush. It was in fact a bit windy today. In about a second the drone started to behave a little funny, wanting to land on its own. Now, it was already out some 500 mtrs away, right above heavy traffic area, so I couldn't just allow it to land where it was. I cancelled the auto-landing and pushed the RTH. It found the home point ok but didnt really move towards it. So I manually brought it above the home point. On the way, the wind pushed it up some 15-20 mtrs, so now its at 140 mtrs. I position it right above me and pull down on descent. It struggles to comprehend and my RC initiates an auto-landing once again. This time I allow it. BUT...the drone barely moves. So I cancel the auto landing and push RTH once again. The drone again struggles to comprehend. I'm at my wits end and I remind myself that I'm at full battery capacity at this point since this all began within seconds of me taking off. I pick up my phone and quickly google for answers. Nothing. By now the wind has pushed the drone up to about 160 mtrs. I'm at 88% battery. I check if all the functions are working fine. Throttle up, roll left, roll right, yaw left, yaw right, pitch forward, pitch backward. All good, except throttle down. I force a manual descent. Again, it struggles to comprehend and the RC initiates an auto-landing. This is the first time I notice that it is in fact descending, but at a really really slow speed - 0.7 kmph. I do a quick calculation and conclude that assuming the descent continues at this speed, I may just have enough battery for it come within 2-3 mtrs of reach before the battery runs out. So now I spend the next 20 minutes or so just watching it lower, at an excruciatingly slow pace. My heart is beating fast, as I see the battery range on the RC going erratic. I'm recalculating every minute. As it comes within reach, I notice that the landing gear legs are in collapsed status; and have completely covered all the bottom sensors.

Aaaahh....I see what happened there. No, it wasnt yesterdays RC firmware upgrade you stupid boy.

Learnings:

1. Never use the landing gear; this one actually hinders the sensors BY DESIGN
2. The 0.7 kmph descent speed is an extremely intelligent feature; its basically the drone giving you enough time to come within reach as it very slowly descends while maximising battery capacity
3. Pigeons are ********

Ciao
I won't put anything like that on my drone.
With one exception, Symik used to make landing gears for the Air 2s. They attached to the arms of the drone and fit really nice. They also were mounted at the widest point so they were more stable. Unfortunately, they don't make them for the Air 3. Wish they did
 
I have that exact model, using it when is dirty or snow outside. For learning purposes when similar situation occurs, now we have an option to disable sensors. Doing that will ignore any obstacle and in wide open area is safe to use. Or next option obstacle avoidance to off. Right? Using that landing skid I already thought at possible scenarios and one of them was about sensors. Attached correctly it should not cause any problems. I also used it indoor and here only guard propellers are giving me detection issues and I have to disable avoidance to control the drone.
 
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I have that exact model, using it when is dirty or snow outside. For learning purposes when similar situation occurs, now we have an option to disable sensors. Doing that will ignore any obstacle and in wide open area is safe to use. Or next option obstacle avoidance to off. Right? Using that landing skid I already thought at possible scenarios and one of them was about sensors. Attached correctly it should not cause any problems. I also used it indoor and here only guard propellers are giving me detection issues and I have to disable avoidance to control the drone.
Actually, I did disable obstacle avoidance but that did not do anything in my case. I believe this feature is designed such that if the sensors are completely blocked - as if you've put a strip of tape right on them - then the descent gets restricted to a very slow speed of 0.7 kmph (even if you have obstacle avoidance turned off). The landing gear was attached perfectly fine. The issue is that when these landing gear legs collapse, they completely cover the sensor strip. When I opened them up to landing position and tested the descent, it worked like normal.
 
Actually, I did disable obstacle avoidance but that did not do anything in my case. I believe this feature is designed such that if the sensors are completely blocked - as if you've put a strip of tape right on them - then the descent gets restricted to a very slow speed of 0.7 kmph (even if you have obstacle avoidance turned off). The landing gear was attached perfectly fine. The issue is that when these landing gear legs collapse, they completely cover the sensor strip. When I opened them up to landing position and tested the descent, it worked like normal.
Do you have latest firmware? There is another option beside obstacle avoidance that disables the sensors completely. Safety > Advanced safety settings > vision positioning and obstacle sensing.
 
I have ordered one of those for my Mavic 2 Pro.
I am surprised they collapsed while flying, I thought the joints/hinges were stiffer, that they needed a bit of force to fold in or out. That's what it seemed like on youtube videos.
There is another variant of these landing gears, with fixed, non collapsible feet, but they are of course less portable in a small bag.
 
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Do you have latest firmware? There is another option beside obstacle avoidance that disables the sensors completely. Safety > Advanced safety settings > vision positioning and obstacle sensing.
Oh i didnt know that. Thanks a lot 🙏

And yes the firmware is latest.
 
Last edited:
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I have ordered one of those for my Mavic 2 Pro.
I am surprised they collapsed while flying, I thought the joints/hinges were stiffer, that they needed a bit of force to fold in or out. That's what it seemed like on youtube videos.
There is another variant of these landing gears, with fixed, non collapsible feet, but they are of course less portable in a small bag.
Most likely a pigeon bumped into it which caused the collapsing of the legs. Otherwise the fit is pretty stiff and sturdy; couldnt have happened without some external force.
 
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Oh i didnt know that. Thanks a lot 🙏

And yes the firmware is latest.
Your welcome. I don't know about other drones or RC but with Air 3 and RC2 we got this option in firmware from December 2023. Disable that option and you can even hand catch the drone without resistance. I'm still new at this, air 3 is my first (Tello is a toy should I count it? 😆) and I like read everything about drones, from good to bad. That is how you can avoid disasters.
 
Big learning today. I guess many would know this but sharing for the benefit of those who might not.

I took my Air 3 out with a landing gear attached - one of those collapsible ones.

View attachment 172351

I primarily use it to mount the Air 3 on my side desk and rarely for flying. But whenever I did, it served pretty well.

Except today.

As I took off, throttled all the way to 120 mtrs, began positioning and framing, I felt something nudged the drone somewhat. I thought it might be a wind gush. It was in fact a bit windy today. In about a second the drone started to behave a little funny, wanting to land on its own. Now, it was already out some 500 mtrs away, right above heavy traffic area, so I couldn't just allow it to land where it was. I cancelled the auto-landing and pushed the RTH. It found the home point ok but didnt really move towards it. So I manually brought it above the home point. On the way, the wind pushed it up some 15-20 mtrs, so now its at 140 mtrs. I position it right above me and pull down on descent. It struggles to comprehend and my RC initiates an auto-landing once again. This time I allow it. BUT...the drone barely moves. So I cancel the auto landing and push RTH once again. The drone again struggles to comprehend. I'm at my wits end and I remind myself that I'm at full battery capacity at this point since this all began within seconds of me taking off. I pick up my phone and quickly google for answers. Nothing. By now the wind has pushed the drone up to about 160 mtrs. I'm at 88% battery. I check if all the functions are working fine. Throttle up, roll left, roll right, yaw left, yaw right, pitch forward, pitch backward. All good, except throttle down. I force a manual descent. Again, it struggles to comprehend and the RC initiates an auto-landing. This is the first time I notice that it is in fact descending, but at a really really slow speed - 0.7 kmph. I do a quick calculation and conclude that assuming the descent continues at this speed, I may just have enough battery for it come within 2-3 mtrs of reach before the battery runs out. So now I spend the next 20 minutes or so just watching it lower, at an excruciatingly slow pace. My heart is beating fast, as I see the battery range on the RC going erratic. I'm recalculating every minute. As it comes within reach, I notice that the landing gear legs are in collapsed status; and have completely covered all the bottom sensors.

Aaaahh....I see what happened there. No, it wasnt yesterdays RC firmware upgrade you stupid boy.

Learnings:

1. Never use the landing gear; this one actually hinders the sensors BY DESIGN
2. The 0.7 kmph descent speed is an extremely intelligent feature; its basically the drone giving you enough time to come within reach as it very slowly descends while maximising battery capacity
3. Pigeons are ********

Ciao
I have those on my Air2s. I did experience something not right with it behaving strangely. At a suggestion from someone on this forum I cut away a section on the landing gear frame and there hasn’t been a repeat since then. One thing I do like about the landing gear is I find it much easier to launch and catch it in my hand. Point taken though about the legs folding up and blocking sensors. I will certainly keep an eye on that. Thanks for your advice.
 
Would switching to sport mode have helped?
 
Do you have latest firmware? There is another option beside obstacle avoidance that disables the sensors completely. Safety > Advanced safety settings > vision positioning and obstacle sensing.
I don't believe there is any software or firmware that disable the landing sensors. They are always on regardless if you disable "all sensors". The landing sensors are not going to turn off, no matter what oprion your try. If anything, blocking it, the drone will try to increase altitude and or descend super slow when the stick is pushed to lower the altitude. I've had situation where my landing sensors were blocked.

My situations of the landing sensors being blocked occurred from those accessories that allow you to carry packages or payloads and drop them. Luckily I realized the package was blocking the sensor and, I simply dropped the payload.

By the way, I use those foldable skid attachments alot, especially in sandy take off environments. I make sure they are locked in place before taking off. One time I actually glued sticks on them to prevent them from folding up. I've never had a problem with them folding mid flight or at take off anyway. You just have to make sure they have a good locking mechanism. You should hear a click when they are fully extended.
 
I don't believe there is any software or firmware that disable the landing sensors. They are always on regardless if you disable "all sensors". The landing sensors are not going to turn off, no matter what oprion your try. If anything, blocking it, the drone will try to increase altitude and or descend super slow when the stick is pushed to lower the altitude. I've had situation where my landing sensors were blocked.

My situations of the landing sensors being blocked occurred from those accessories that allow you to carry packages or payloads and drop them. Luckily I realized the package was blocking the sensor and, I simply dropped the payload.

By the way, I use those foldable skid attachments alot, especially in sandy take off environments. I make sure they are locked in place before taking off. One time I actually glued sticks on them to prevent them from folding up. I've never had a problem with them folding mid flight or at take off anyway. You just have to make sure they have a good locking mechanism. You should hear a click when they are fully extended.
Do we have the same drone? If yes, have you unchecked that option and tried it? Because I have. With that on, drone is stabilized even without gps and is steady, put you hand under and it will rise up. With option off, the drone will drift, put you hand under, nothing will happen.
 
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Do we have the same drone? If yes, have you unchecked that option and tried it? Because I have. With that on, drone is stabilized even without gps and is steady, put you hand under and it will rise up. With option off, the drone will drift, put you hand under, nothing will happen.
I'll try it. I have the Mav 3E and the Air3. I didn't try turning off the sensors to the air3 and then putting my hand under it. I'll try and and see what happens.
 
To be clear, I'm not talking about Safety > Obstacle Avoidance Action but Safety > Advanced safety settings > vision positioning and obstacle sensing on Air 3 01.00.1000 and RC2 02.00.300
 
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Do we have the same drone? If yes, have you unchecked that option and tried it? Because I have. With that on, drone is stabilized even without gps and is steady, put you hand under and it will rise up. With option off, the drone will drift, put you hand under, nothing will happen.
I just hovered my Air3 in my house and turned off the obstacle sensors. I then put my hand under it . The drone immediately went up. I put my hand around it and over it and nothing happened, Only when I put my hand under it, it went up. However, it did land in my hand when i pushed the stick for altitude down.
 
To be clear, I'm not talking about Safety > Obstacle Avoidance Action but Safety > Advanced safety settings > vision positioning and obstacle sensing on Air 3 01.00.1000 and RC2 02.00.300
I went to safety then obstacle avoidance action, then OFF.
 
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