DJI Mavic, Air and Mini Drones
Friendly, Helpful & Knowledgeable Community
Join Us Now

Flight Analysis HELP!!! Mini 3 pro

GrantMcLeod

New Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2023
Messages
4
Reactions
2
Age
34
Location
Sydney, Australia
So short back story, my very first flight with my drone was over the ocean. I've never shied away from being over the water. I always trust the notifications to return to home, but would say that I often push the envelope once I'm confidently back at land, I might take a couple more videos or photos over the edge of the water before returning to land. Yesterday I took my Mini 3 pro out over the water to film some migrating whales. I was a 11000 ft/3km out to see (not the first time I've done this) and I got low battery notification and to return to home, which I accepted. I did pause this momentarily to reduce altitude as there was a sea plane flying and I wanted to reduce all risks. Given the short descent and re-ascent to return home, by drone entered the ocean 3,700ft/1,100m from shore. Can anyone provide any answers as to why? Am I super naive? Although I wouldn't call myself an expert, or anything close, I've never been this far off getting my drone back. I'm super embarrassed and plain confused.



 
  • Like
Reactions: RodPad
I got low battery notification and to return to home, which I accepted
That notification appears based on the battery level and current distance from the home point. Unfortunately, the drone is not able to calculate the wind it may encounter on the way home, so you probably should consider not flying to that point when knowingly flying in windy conditions (like over the ocean).
 
  • Like
Reactions: YVRGUY
So short back story, my very first flight with my drone was over the ocean. I've never shied away from being over the water. I always trust the notifications to return to home, but would say that I often push the envelope once I'm confidently back at land, I might take a couple more videos or photos over the edge of the water before returning to land. Yesterday I took my Mini 3 pro out over the water to film some migrating whales. I was a 11000 ft/3km out to see (not the first time I've done this) and I got low battery notification and to return to home, which I accepted. I did pause this momentarily to reduce altitude as there was a sea plane flying and I wanted to reduce all risks. Given the short descent and re-ascent to return home, by drone entered the ocean 3,700ft/1,100m from shore. Can anyone provide any answers as to why? Am I super naive? Although I wouldn't call myself an expert, or anything close, I've never been this far off getting my drone back. I'm super embarrassed and plain confused.

"I always trust the notifications to return to home." "I often push the envelope."

There's the cause of your problem.

Don't rely solely on the programmed warnings. Watch the battery level. Be aware of whether you're upwind or downwind of your landing location. Plan to end the flight with about 20% of battery capacity remaining.
 
That notification appears based on the battery level and current distance from the home point. Unfortunately, the drone is not able to calculate the wind it may encounter on the way home, so you probably should consider not flying to that point when knowingly flying in windy conditions (like over the ocean).
Noted, but there wasn't enough evidence to suggest that it was windy (knowing that it is often windy over the ocean), no white caps, big waves, wind notifications on the drone, issues with controlling the drone prior to this point. Even still, not being able to gauge potential wind, 1km from shore feels like a huge miscalculation/error no?
 
Can anyone provide any answers as to why? Am I super naive? Although I wouldn't call myself an expert, or anything close, I've never been this far off getting my drone back. I'm super embarrassed and plain confused.
You flew out in Sport Mode and it was able to make 16.3 m/s heading out to sea.
That's slightly more than the top speed shown in the specs, suggesting the drone had a tailwind for the flight out.
This is also confirmed because the drone was only tilting to around 25°, which is well short of the max tilt angle (40°) for Sport Mode

You allowed RTH to bring the drone back from 7:32 (49% battery and 3380 metres from home).
RTH height was much higher than needed for flying at sea (100 metres).
As you launched 27 metres above sea level, RTH height put your drone 127 metres above the sea.

Climbing to this height used battery unnecessarily and also put the drone up where the wind was significantly stronger than it was where you launched.
Initially in RTH, the drone made headway at 10.2 m/s while working hard as shown by a pitch angle of 35°.

At 8:44.7 you cancelled RTH and lowered the drone to 23 metres (50 metres above the sea).13-14 m/s
You switched to Sport Mode and at full stick and 36°-38° tilt, the drone was only able to make 13-14 m/s.
Full stick in Sport Mode burns battery much faster than Normal Mode.
From 11:24, you sent the drone back up to 147 metres above the sea which burned more battery unnecessarily.

At 12:22.7 and still 1282 metres out, with the battery showing 10% the following message showed:
Critical low battery. Aircraft landing automatically (Code: 30033).
With this, the game was over.
The drone was still too far out to get back against that headwind.

In summary the problems were flying out too far with a strong tailwind.
Not returning early enough (The RTH warning doesn't account for wind).
RTH height was too high and the wind too strong and Sport Mode burns battery fast.
 
Last edited:
"I always trust the notifications to return to home." "I often push the envelope."

There's the cause of your problem.

Don't rely solely on the programmed warnings. Watch the battery level. Be aware of whether you're upwind or downwind of your landing location. Plan to end the flight with about 20% of battery capacity remaining.
When I said I push the envelope, I am saying I might go 20m from my location to take a couple more photos with 20% battery still on the drone. I'm not intentionally reckless, but said this to show that I conscious of the limits and will return the drone home with plenty of battery usually, before pushing the envelope.
 
Noted, but there wasn't enough evidence to suggest that it was windy (knowing that it is often windy over the ocean), no white caps, big waves, wind notifications on the drone, issues with controlling the drone prior to this point. Even still, not being able to gauge potential wind, 1km from shore feels like a huge miscalculation/error no?
The sea wasn't experiencing the same wind that the drone had to fight against.
The cliffs would have provided shelter for quite a distance out to sea.
But at the altitude the drone was, it had the full force of the wind to deal with.

When flying at sea, it's important to allow a comfortable safety margin, because just one mistake is all it takes to lose the drone.
You really needed to turn back much earlier and fly a lot lower ... preferably well below the level of the cliffs.

You could have easily judged the wind speed, by turning the drone to face home and flying forward to see how much the wind reduced your top speed.
 
1km from shore feels like a huge miscalculation/error no?
A huge miscalculation by you or the drone? The pilot has more information about the flying environment than the drone, so I'd recommend one never fully rely on those notifications in all cases.
 

Welcome to the Forum, but not why you signed on. :rolleyes:

I learn at lot from these forums, mostly from threads like yours, I have had my share, I'm sure I will have more, but I will already know what I did wrong.. :)👌

Rod ..
 
but there wasn't enough evidence to suggest that it was windy (knowing that it is often windy over the ocean), no white caps, big waves, wind notifications on the drone, issues with controlling the drone prior to this point
Sorry about the drone but pilot error in my book.

You have a built in wind-speed & 'direction indicator' in the app if you choose to use it, the attitude indicator.
That is available "live" during the flight.
I don't know the Mini 3 Pro well enough to say that what could have been displayed would have got me worrying but there seems to be an indication of a sidewind during the major outbound leg. Unless I have the controller mode wrong you do seem to have been giving side stick and I do not know if the roll shown is appropriate for the amount of side stick.
I would have made the same comments about the RTH height and wasted power/time as Meta4 but there is no need now.

All the above said and taking it to be true that you thought there was little wind.
I think you made a MAJOR mistake being still outbound below 50%.
Yes I am aware that you used around 17% whilst flying 'parallel' to the coast but at those sort of distances over water, thinking there was no wind but not knowing the wind strength, and knowing of forced and critical landing battery level concerns, I think I would have been heading back nearer 60%.
I flew an M2P to greater distance over the sea but that was with a steady, near side-on wind, I had been checking the attitude indicator regularly. I turned back at 55% and recollect beginning to 'sweat it' but got it back before there was any forced descents. Go home height was 25m, max height was 57.5m.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Ty Pilot
Can anyone provide any answers as to why? Am I super naive? Although I wouldn't call myself an expert, or anything close, I've never been this far off getting my drone back. I'm super embarrassed and plain confused.
Grant, sorry about your lost drone. The best that you can hope for is to take something away from this thread that keeps you from loosing another. A major mistake new (and some old), drone pilots make, is to get comfortable with their shear luck and never really get a sense at how close they have gotten to loosing their drone on many previous flights.

When they finally DO loose their drone, the history of previous flights seems to be the only thing they can recollect, and thus the question and story becomes - I've done this many times, why now?

We've all been there, the question then becomes, do we stay mired in a false sense of ability or do we ask ourselves - "What could I have done better or different" (and then), actively adjust our thinking, and most importantly - our decision making.

Good Luck.
 
Last edited:
So short back story, my very first flight with my drone was over the ocean. I've never shied away from being over the water. I always trust the notifications to return to home, but would say that I often push the envelope once I'm confidently back at land, I might take a couple more videos or photos over the edge of the water before returning to land. Yesterday I took my Mini 3 pro out over the water to film some migrating whales. I was a 11000 ft/3km out to see (not the first time I've done this) and I got low battery notification and to return to home, which I accepted. I did pause this momentarily to reduce altitude as there was a sea plane flying and I wanted to reduce all risks. Given the short descent and re-ascent to return home, by drone entered the ocean 3,700ft/1,100m from shore. Can anyone provide any answers as to why? Am I super naive? Although I wouldn't call myself an expert, or anything close, I've never been this far off getting my drone back. I'm super embarrassed and plain confused.



1 word………. Headwind.
 
This is only a calculation of course, but here's the wind speed according to Airdata:

1687196858413.png
 
  • Like
Reactions: RodPad and Meta4
UPDATE: DJI called me, advised that it wasn't user error, and that they would be replacing my drone for free.
It would be most interesting to see their analysis and how they can explain the loss of your drone as anything anything other than operator error.
You're extremely lucky because that someone at DJI is incompetent.
If you beleive them, you won't have learned anything from the incident.
 
DJI is likely doing this replacement in the interest of customer satisfaction rather than the reality of the data behind the loss. This scenario is equal parts learning opportunity (if taken) and luck.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Meta4
That is crazy?

Lack of help?

The already have replacements stacked up?

I got a P3S back from DJI California I download the "Black Box Data" that was on it because it gets purged over time. The dates matched like a day before they said it ready.

Geeze, I need to locate that file.
I'm sure meta4, and others would like to analyze it..

Anyways, If I find it I will uploaded it..

Rod ..
 
Flying 2+ miles out with no hope of recovery is already asking for trouble. I "might" try that in the desert where I live. Open water no way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TonyPHX
Lycus Tech Mavic Air 3 Case

DJI Drone Deals

New Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
131,641
Messages
1,564,818
Members
160,510
Latest member
pilot74sparki