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Got in panic with police and lost Mavic. Critical battery vs RTH?

Glad to hear you found your drone.
Hopefully next time you won't be do this again.
One bad decision can lead to a lot more bad decisions when we go into a state of panic. Even if you are flying responsibly, if something unexpected occurs and we panic, with lack of experience, we tend to end up making bad split second decisions.
Fly safe.
 
You made a big mistake by forgetting the drone and walked away to the cop. First thing you should had done was to take care the drone first, a cop can wait a few seconds. He is not going to give you a ticket because you are flying.

I can understand the OP's original thought process/instinct. With all that has been going on lately with police/public interactions, standing in place with an unidentified dark object in one's hand (in low light levels no less) may not be the best idea. Loss of a drone is one thing. Being shot is another. So I suppose that one would tend toward personal safety in this circumstance, rather than abiding the flying drone and you would have to lead a very sheltered life to assume that the "cop can wait".

I suspect that the mistake came on his return to the controller (which the OP admits) and instead of taking back control of the Mavic, decided to extricate himself from the circumstance. A normal instinct when faced with such a situation, so though it was probably the time to have recovered the aircraft, I can't fault the OP for reacting in such a manner, especially with adrenaline levels high when placed into such a scenario.
 
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I can understand the OP's original thought process/instinct. With all that has been going on lately with police/public interactions, standing in place with an unidentified dark object in one's hand (in low light levels no less) may not be the best idea. Loss of a drone is one thing. Being shot is another. So I suppose that one would tend toward personal safety in this circumstance, rather than abiding the flying drone and you would have to lead a very sheltered life to assume that the "cop can wait".

I suspect that the mistake came on his return to the controller (which the OP admits) and instead of taking back control of the Mavic, decided to extricate himself from the circumstance. A normal instinct when faced with such a situation, so though it was probably the time to have recovered the aircraft, I can't fault the OP for reacting in such a manner, especially with adrenaline levels high when placed into such a scenario.

Thanks @lisadoc , to add more color to the situation, Just as I was about to land, I was aiming the camera of the Mavic directly down at myself and the car when suddenly I saw the red and blue lights come up flashing on the iPhone screen and did a double take before I realized what was happening. It was really surreal to see police pull up to my location from an aerial perspective, It was the exact scene you see filmed from a police helicopter right before a high speed chase on or more serious encounter begins.
Of course doesn't justify my response, but might give you guys a better picture of where the irrational adrenaline/panic came from in the first place.
 
Thanks everyone for the comments, quick feedback:
Sorry @Irish-apple , I'm with @Canuk on this one. It's not wrong to fly within visual sight of any other driver, neat story but ridiculous not "sensible"

your entitled to your opinion pal glad you got it back .. from this you can just move on and learn
 
Let's break this down....


You should be _back_ at the homepoint/landing area at 30%/low battery. This is in case something happens.... like the police pull up.



I'm simply confused about this. You have an aircraft in the air and you completely released control of it? I'm _guessing_ (I think it is a good guess though) that you were trying to hide your flight from the police. Tossing out all control of a flying aircraft is probably not moving in the right direction. I'm guessing you are going to go back, pick up the controller and do the right thing at this point.


Back in control? Nope.... went from bad to worse to.... this.

Lets jump ahead...

Where? Who knows... maybe the middle of the freeway. Maybe in front of an oncoming vehicle on the freeway. You took off from the side of the freeway so that was the RTH point

My recommendation would be to leave the Mavic there and perhaps look into another hobby. I'm trying _really_ hard not to be critical but... you left a hovering drone next to a freeway and drove off! If you find the Mavic, PLEASE fly more safely in the future. When you make several mistakes, don't continue down the road and make even bigger ones to hide the first ones. Pulling off the side of the road to get some pictures, not a big deal. When the police roll up, ask him/her if you can land first and then talk to them. This should show them that you are _thinking_ about flying in a safe manner, not get you into more trouble. I appreciate you stepping up and posting this. Perhaps it is a learning experience.[/QUOTE]
op stopped thinking about flying safe when he pulled off a highway
 
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One important lesson was left out. Plan your flights a little bit. Stopping on a freeway to fly is asking for trouble. The extra few minutes to take the next ramp and to find a more feasible spot to fly would have left you with the same sunset without all the trouble that came with this latest adventure.
 
Seriously I think most of you need to chill out, I’ve pulled off the road dozens of times for shots although not on a freeway LoL , it’s public property for Pete’s sake, also this op came for help finding his drone not to be berated, there’s been a massive amount of help here but as of late I see More and more put downs then help! The guy admittedly panicked, could have been anyone of us so cut him some slack people!
 
American drivers kill 40,000 people per year. Each year about 11 of every 100k people are killed by someone driving a car irresponsibly. You are 3 to 5 times as likely to be killed by a driver in the U.S. as in other countries with 2 to 4 deaths per 100k such as Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, UK, Norway...

Think about those 40,000 people. Fathers, mothers, spouses, daughters, sons, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, co-workers. How many hundreds of thousands of people spend months, years or the rest of their life grieving the loss of someone they loved?

I see the bodies of the dead and dying and deal with the grieving friends and family. And can only wonder why we continue to kill so many and don't seem to learn the lessons that people in other countries have.

Driving a car is not a privilege to be taken lightly. Why does the U.S. seem to have so many more idiots than other countries?

Fortunately known deaths and serious injuries from drones are exceptionally low. Given how immaturely we take our responsibilities of driving cars, I'm guessing the low numbers in the U.S. won't last long as more people and more irresponsible people get their hands on them and fly them irresponsibly.

I won't blame government types when purchasing and flying a drone requires extensive training in time and money as well as expensive annual registration fees. Or when each and every flight requires filing a detailed flight plan.
 
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good story number one flying on the / to the side of the road passing car spots drone he looks up to say Hey look a drone you dont often see them .. he loses control while driving goes off road could be killed along with passengers as he was looking at YOUR drone flying . and we picture then the cops didnt show up .. you never knew about the crash or even heard about it and that family wiped out due to your stupid good sunset shots. sorry for being blunt but this is the kind of stuff people who fly sensible get into issues with people as the people think we are all the same were NOT ..

good luck finding drone if you do think a little better next time
What, that's the best what if story you could come up with?
 
good story number one flying on the / to the side of the road passing car spots drone he looks up to say Hey look a drone you dont often see them .. he loses control while driving goes off road could be killed along with passengers as he was looking at YOUR drone flying . and we picture then the cops didnt show up .. you never knew about the crash or even heard about it and that family wiped out due to your stupid good sunset shots. sorry for being blunt but this is the kind of stuff people who fly sensible get into issues with people as the people think we are all the same were NOT ..

good luck finding drone if you do think a little better next time
That is a bit much and quite a stretch! In that case , a motorist can be distracted by anything. Talk about overblown!!!
 
good story number one flying on the / to the side of the road passing car spots drone he looks up to say Hey look a drone you dont often see them .. he loses control while driving goes off road could be killed along with passengers as he was looking at YOUR drone flying . and we picture then the cops didnt show up .. you never knew about the crash or even heard about it and that family wiped out due to your stupid good sunset shots. sorry for being blunt but this is the kind of stuff people who fly sensible get into issues with people as the people think we are all the same were NOT ..

good luck finding drone if you do think a little better next time
What a douche
 
good story number one flying on the / to the side of the road passing car spots drone he looks up to say Hey look a drone you dont often see them .. he loses control while driving goes off road could be killed along with passengers as he was looking at YOUR drone flying . and we picture then the cops didnt show up .. you never knew about the crash or even heard about it and that family wiped out due to your stupid good sunset shots. sorry for being blunt but this is the kind of stuff people who fly sensible get into issues with people as the people think we are all the same were NOT ..

good luck finding drone if you do think a little better next time
 
Nobody is perfect. Lack of judgement brought on by overconfidence in the process. It’s hard to imagine a majority of people don make “stupid” mistakes as “ hindsite is always 20/20. Most important is that we all learn from our mistakes and mistakes of others. Thanks for posting your experience. Thank god nothing serious happened. Be safe.
 
Writing one of those posts I hoped I’d always read and never need to write myself...

Driving home on the freeway, saw a really beautiful sunset in a particularly scenic place that ‘needed’ to be filmed. Pulled over on the side of the road and flew the Mavic around for a full battery worth of flying.

First low battery warning came on, and Auto RTH too, so I promptly cancel RTH (so it doesn’t unneccessarily climb to 300 ft) and instead I flew back to where my car was pulled off into the grass. Once it was directly over my head (also the home location) I started bringing it down when suddenly I saw police lights behind me.

I froze. Set the remote down, and walked back to the police car with nothing in my hand. I told the officer I didn’t need any help, my car was ok, and he quickly barked back that it was illegal to pull off to the side of the road where I was. I said ok, I’ll move, never mentioned the drone.

Went back to the car and didn’t know what to do, drone was still hovering out of sight, about 100 ft up directly above me. I quickly realized the officer wasn’t going anywhere until I left, so plan A of “just wait it out” was out of the question. Plan B was “just land anyway” but in my panicked state i thought that If he was already mad at me for just being pulled over in the grass, didn’t want to see what he’d do when I landed a drone right in front of him on the side of the road. So I just started driving.

I took the remote off the passenger seat and flew the Mavic up the road as well, trailing a bit behind my car. Remember it’s been beeeping at me this whole time, and starts going into critical low battery mode. Making me panic more, and begins to descend itself.

Cop is gone now (drove past me) so I steer it to the next freeway exit as I drive there myself, and it starts going down in a pretty ideal spot, behind some old railroad tracks on a flat gravel patch far from any people or vehicles just a few blocks from the freeway exit. As it goes down i hit video record just in case. a few warnings come up I don’t remember exactly since I’m trying to drive and fly at the same time. Finally I see the drone go over some knee high weeds and it tells me autoland is unsuitable or something, and I can swipe to land anyway. I see just 15 feet forward is clear gravel, so I push to stretch it a little further and cancel the autoland. I get over the gravel and it tries to land again. I keep bringing it lower, directly over the flat gravel patch, having cleared another autoland warning by now, and suddenly I lose signal.

In a panic I keep driving to the spot where I saw it go down in the video display, which matches the last gps location recorded in find my drone. It’s getting dark of course (was filming a sunset) and I arrive at the site about 5 minutes after losing signal.

I go to the site and the Mavic is nowhere to be seen, gps location is in the middle of a 40 ft radius clear area , so it shouldn’t be hard to find, but it’s not there. I widen the radius and look in all the knee high weeds in the surrounding 70 ft or so, before it gets really dark and I have to head home.

Sorry for the long winded back story, I plan to go back and look in the morning, but wanted to know if anyone can help me refine my search strategy since I haven’t found a definitive answer on RTH vs Critical battery, or have any idea of what to try next (besides wait for sunlight and keep looking):
when I cancel an autoland once or twice and i’m hovering 15 or so ft from the ground when I lose signal, is there any chance of that the Mavic could start drifting or even enabling RTH and going back to where I was with the cop? It seems like RTH would already be overridden By this point. And if it did activate, I probably would’ve picked up signal again as it climbed up to my RTH altitude of 300ft...

I’m wondering if I should trace the 1200 or so ft space between my intended landing site and the home site, or just widen the radius around my intended landing site.

Just seems so improbable that it would be far from its last recorded location, since I gave no stick inputs after positioning it over the gravel patch, and the GPs shows it right where I wanted it, so I’m a little stumped. Also very improbable that in such a remote place, that someone would’ve gone and taken it in the 5 min it took me to arrive , but that’s starting to feel like the most believable outcome at this point.

In any case, appreciate any knowledge or advice any of you have at this point. And if it helps at all, aircraft was latest firmware, MPP, sport mode, RTH setting enabled @ 300ft, and relatively little/no wind.

Thanks in advance
Writing one of those posts I hoped I’d always read and never need to write myself...

Driving home on the freeway, saw a really beautiful sunset in a particularly scenic place that ‘needed’ to be filmed. Pulled over on the side of the road and flew the Mavic around for a full battery worth of flying.

First low battery warning came on, and Auto RTH too, so I promptly cancel RTH (so it doesn’t unneccessarily climb to 300 ft) and instead I flew back to where my car was pulled off into the grass. Once it was directly over my head (also the home location) I started bringing it down when suddenly I saw police lights behind me.

I froze. Set the remote down, and walked back to the police car with nothing in my hand. I told the officer I didn’t need any help, my car was ok, and he quickly barked back that it was illegal to pull off to the side of the road where I was. I said ok, I’ll move, never mentioned the drone.

Went back to the car and didn’t know what to do, drone was still hovering out of sight, about 100 ft up directly above me. I quickly realized the officer wasn’t going anywhere until I left, so plan A of “just wait it out” was out of the question. Plan B was “just land anyway” but in my panicked state i thought that If he was already mad at me for just being pulled over in the grass, didn’t want to see what he’d do when I landed a drone right in front of him on the side of the road. So I just started driving.

I took the remote off the passenger seat and flew the Mavic up the road as well, trailing a bit behind my car. Remember it’s been beeeping at me this whole time, and starts going into critical low battery mode. Making me panic more, and begins to descend itself.

Cop is gone now (drove past me) so I steer it to the next freeway exit as I drive there myself, and it starts going down in a pretty ideal spot, behind some old railroad tracks on a flat gravel patch far from any people or vehicles just a few blocks from the freeway exit. As it goes down i hit video record just in case. a few warnings come up I don’t remember exactly since I’m trying to drive and fly at the same time. Finally I see the drone go over some knee high weeds and it tells me autoland is unsuitable or something, and I can swipe to land anyway. I see just 15 feet forward is clear gravel, so I push to stretch it a little further and cancel the autoland. I get over the gravel and it tries to land again. I keep bringing it lower, directly over the flat gravel patch, having cleared another autoland warning by now, and suddenly I lose signal.

In a panic I keep driving to the spot where I saw it go down in the video display, which matches the last gps location recorded in find my drone. It’s getting dark of course (was filming a sunset) and I arrive at the site about 5 minutes after losing signal.

I go to the site and the Mavic is nowhere to be seen, gps location is in the middle of a 40 ft radius clear area , so it shouldn’t be hard to find, but it’s not there. I widen the radius and look in all the knee high weeds in the surrounding 70 ft or so, before it gets really dark and I have to head home.

Sorry for the long winded back story, I plan to go back and look in the morning, but wanted to know if anyone can help me refine my search strategy since I haven’t found a definitive answer on RTH vs Critical battery, or have any idea of what to try next (besides wait for sunlight and keep looking):
when I cancel an autoland once or twice and i’m hovering 15 or so ft from the ground when I lose signal, is there any chance of that the Mavic could start drifting or even enabling RTH and going back to where I was with the cop? It seems like RTH would already be overridden By this point. And if it did activate, I probably would’ve picked up signal again as it climbed up to my RTH altitude of 300ft...

I’m wondering if I should trace the 1200 or so ft space between my intended landing site and the home site, or just widen the radius around my intended landing site.

Just seems so improbable that it would be far from its last recorded location, since I gave no stick inputs after positioning it over the gravel patch, and the GPs shows it right where I wanted it, so I’m a little stumped. Also very improbable that in such a remote place, that someone would’ve gone and taken it in the 5 min it took me to arrive , but that’s starting to feel like the most believable outcome at this point.

In any case, appreciate any knowledge or advice any of you have at this point. And if it helps at all, aircraft was latest firmware, MPP, sport mode, RTH setting enabled @ 300ft, and relatively little/no wind.

Thanks in advance
Just glad to hear that no one was injured by your decision. Hopefully you have learned
a few things from the different comments made. And, fly safe. Be sides flying drones
I also fly stunt kites, have to fly kites away from moving traffic, because people look
at them and do not watch the road. Could result in a accident, and loss of life. Do commend you on having the courage to share, and hopefully help other pilots to
avoid that kind of situation. Thank you for sharing. Hope you find your drone.
One more thing, some pilots have put tracking devices, on their drones. Such as the
Marco Polo Tracker, in the event battery is dead. And, the find me feature is useless.
Thank you again, some times we learn the hard way, and this time nobody was hurt.
 
Good thing that you found it, in the light of day.
Like I always tell new pilots... "Never be in a hurry to fly."
 
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