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I had my first crash

TomSull

Well-Known Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
86
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47
Age
68
Location
Northborough, Massachusetts
I've been flying my Mavic 2 Pro for only 6 months, but I've been fairly active. Lately, I've been capturing a series of Autumn photos, doing near daily shots to get the foliage transition. I've gotten some beautiful shots. I also did a couple of video/photo sessions of an area behind my house called Wrack Meadow (as I think it's unique in a web search, you can find my area).

Well, a couple of weeks ago, after doing my 2nd shoot at Wrack Meadow, I started to do my daily foliage shots; these are shots above my driveway, most at 380 feet, max ceiling (close enough). However it was a very windy day; I didn't realize how high the winds were until I later checked the flight at Airdata, but I had average winds at 26 MPH and max gusts at 37.7MPH! I did get the wind warnings, but had no issues with the wind oddly enough; my shots were still rock solid, the drone performed wonderfully, but looking at that data, I'm amazed it did so well, no drifting, no image issues, rock solid.

All went well until the pilot error; I was using my Samsung Phone, I was out at about 275 feet, way up at 380 feet, easily visible, but I have heavy woods and lots of WiFi around my house (I'm an offender with 2 ISP's/Wifi setups . The Pilot Error was to hit Land instead of RTH on the phone; they're really close together (as everyone knows) and I fat fingered the wrong spot on the phone. Well, the drone dutifully started coming down and I saw this and had a moment of confusion, but I thought it was oddly descending to my RTH altitude, and I was still in the mental mode of thinking it was doing an RTH (I know it normally doesn't do this). However, probably due to remote controller interference, when it got down to about 250 feet, I started losing the video feed and by this time, I started pushing UP on the stick to gain altitude, but it wasn't taking. I'd get glimpses of video showing the AC still descending and by now, I had lost VLOS. I kept pushing up on the sticks, but then lost all contact with the AC. And I'm only 278 feet away, but it's now on the ground in a heavily wooded area.

I had gotten myself a Marco Polo for my wetlands shooting to help me recover the drone should I lose it. I used that and the find my drone map to find it. As I approached the location, again only 278 feet away from my home location, I got signal back and could see lots of ferns, good, it wasn't in a tree. Searching for a few minutes, I found it, still turned on with 17% battery left, my gimbal protector/shade (to prevent solar flares from the sides) was knocked off and by the side, the Marco Polo came un-velcroed but was nearby, and one of the strobes was knocked off (and it was OFF somehow, so it was a little hard to find in the leaves). But I found the drone.

The right rear leg of the drone got hyper extended upwards, denting the cowling, and the drone arm can now extend up a bit where it should not be able to do so. It's spring loaded, and appears to stay in position in flight (I tried maneuvers up and down, sport mode, it seemed to stay put just fine). AND, at first I thought that was the extent of the damage. However, on one of my sets of foliage shots after that, I got one shot that was tilted about 3 degrees or so, then the next was horizontal. Checking the camera and gimbal carefully, I found that one of the vibration stability tabs on the drone that mates with the bottom of the gimbal using rubber grommets had broken, allowing the camera to tilt at times. I found I could correct it with camera movements. It barely affects the camera use at all, I was able to even get nice 360 pano's with it as it. BUT, since I have DJI Care Refresh, I'll call it in and get it replaced when I'm done with my Autumn image series. I'll see how the refresh experience goes. If anyone has any advice for working with DJI for a replacement, please pass it on. Thanks in advance!

I have now retrained myself to use the RTH button on the controller, not the phone to prevent this fat fingering accident. I am also being more careful with wind conditions, though I don't think that ultimately was a contributing factor to this crash. I have a a Notification showing the drone lost contact with the controller for over 1.2 seconds (by notification, longer by lack of response), and lots of WiFi interference warnings around the same time, so I was unable to correct my initial error, ONCE I realized what I had done (which took a few seconds as well). AND I wasn't positioned in the best spot relative to my house; While I could still see the drone at 380 feet, as it descended, I had the corner of my house in the path to the drone for a few seconds after it descended to a certain altitude; I had to move to get line of sight back and by then it was behind trees. 2nd lesson is to be more careful to not let VLOS escape me as it did when it ducked behind the corner of my house from where I was standing; I should have already moved to the right to prevent that. Third lesson, while I often disable my WiFi on my phone, while I'm not certain, I likely didn't for this flight as I was planning on just doing a 5-10 minute flight to get my standard daily shots. I'll be sure to disable WiFi from now on as well as WiFi interference was definitely a factor in losing my connection at such close range.

So, an unfortunate accident but I learned some lessons that will help make me a safer pilot going forward; just using the controller for RTH will prevent that fat fingering accident.

Just for fun, here's a shot; I had to crop it quite a bit to make it small enough to upload. In the foreground you can see the South part of Wrack Meadow, Wachusett Reservoir, and then Mt Wachusett. In the center of the photo you can see Mt Monadnock NH, about 40 miles away as a crow flies. Shots in the opposite direction show Mt. Pisgah and the tops of the buildings in Boston, but I'll save that photo for sharing later:
1603551682549.png
 
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I've been flying my Mavic 2 Pro for only 6 months, but I've been fairly active. Lately, I've been capturing a series of Autumn photos, doing near daily shots to get the foliage transition. I've gotten some beautiful shots. I also did a couple of video/photo sessions of an area behind my house called Wrack Meadow (as I think it's unique in a web search, you can find my area).

Well, a couple of weeks ago, after doing my 2nd shoot at Wrack Meadow, I started to do my daily foliage shots; these are shots above my driveway, most at 380 feet, max ceiling (close enough). However it was a very windy day; I didn't realize how high the winds were until I later checked the flight at Airdata, but I had average winds at 26 MPH and max gusts at 37.7MPH! I did get the wind warnings, but had no issues with the wind oddly enough; my shots were still rock solid, the drone performed wonderfully, but looking at that data, I'm amazed it did so well, no drifting, no image issues, rock solid.

All went well until the pilot error; I was using my Samsung Phone, I was out at about 275 feet, way up at 380 feet, easily visible, but I have heavy woods and lots of WiFi around my house (I'm an offender with 2 ISP's/Wifi setups . The Pilot Error was to hit Land instead of RTH on the phone; they're really close together (as everyone knows) and I fat fingered the wrong spot on the phone. Well, the drone dutifully started coming down and I saw this and had a moment of confusion, but I thought it was oddly descending to my RTH altitude, and I was still in the mental mode of thinking it was doing an RTH (I know it normally doesn't do this). However, probably due to remote controller interference, when it got down to about 250 feet, I started losing the video feed and by this time, I started pushing UP on the stick to gain altitude, but it wasn't taking. I'd get glimpses of video showing the AC still descending and by now, I had lost VLOS. I kept pushing up on the sticks, but then lost all contact with the AC. And I'm only 278 feet away, but it's now on the ground in a heavily wooded area.

I had gotten myself a Marco Polo for my wetlands shooting to help me recover the drone should I lose it. I used that and the find my drone map to find it. As I approached the location, again only 278 feet away from my home location, I got signal back and could see lots of ferns, good, it wasn't in a tree. Searching for a few minutes, I found it, still turned on with 17% battery left, my gimbal protector/shade (to prevent solar flares from the sides) was knocked off and by the side, the Marco Polo came un-velcroed but was nearby, and one of the strobes was knocked off (and it was OFF somehow, so it was a little hard to find in the leaves). But I found the drone.

The right rear leg of the drone got hyper extended upwards, denting the cowling, and the drone arm can now extend up a bit where it should not be able to do so. It's spring loaded, and appears to stay in position in flight (I tried maneuvers up and down, sport mode, it seemed to stay put just fine). AND, at first I thought that was the extent of the damage. However, on one of my sets of foliage shots after that, I got one shot that was tilted about 3 degrees or so, then the next was horizontal. Checking the camera and gimbal carefully, I found that one of the vibration stability tabs on the drone that mates with the bottom of the gimbal using rubber grommets had broken, allowing the camera to tilt at times. I found I could correct it with camera movements. It barely affects the camera use at all, I was able to even get nice 360 pano's with it as it. BUT, since I have DJI Care Refresh, I'll call it in and get it replaced when I'm done with my Autumn image series. I'll see how the refresh experience goes. If anyone has any advice for working with DJI for a replacement, please pass it on. Thanks in advance!

I have now retrained myself to use the RTH button on the controller, not the phone to prevent this fat fingering accident. I am also being more careful with wind conditions, though I don't think that ultimately was a contributing factor to this crash. I have a a Notification showing the drone lost contact with the controller for over 1.2 seconds (by notification, longer by lack of response), and lots of WiFi interference warnings around the same time, so I was unable to correct my initial error, ONCE I realized what I had done (which took a few seconds as well). AND I wasn't positioned in the best spot relative to my house; While I could still see the drone at 380 feet, as it descended, I had the corner of my house in the path to the drone for a few seconds after it descended to a certain altitude; I had to move to get line of sight back and by then it was behind trees. 2nd lesson is to be more careful to not let VLOS escape me as it did when it ducked behind the corner of my house from where I was standing; I should have already moved to the right to prevent that. Third lesson, while I often disable my WiFi on my phone, while I'm not certain, I likely didn't for this flight as I was planning on just doing a 5-10 minute flight to get my standard daily shots. I'll be sure to disable WiFi from now on as well as WiFi interference was definitely a factor in losing my connection at such close range.

So, an unfortunate accident but I learned some lessons that will help make me a safer pilot going forward; just using the controller for RTH will prevent that fat fingering accident.

Just for fun, here's a shot; I had to crop it quite a bit to make it small enough to upload. In the foreground you can see the South part of Wrack Meadow, Wachusett Reservoir, and then Mt Wachusett. In the center of the photo you can see Mt Monadnock NH, about 40 miles away as a crow flies. Shots in the opposite direction show Mt. Pisgah and the tops of the buildings in Boston, but I'll save that photo for sharing later:
View attachment 115716
You should use a stylus for your phone and that way you will not hit the wrong button
 
I made the same mistake once - selecting land vs RTH. Now I use a Smart Controller instead of a phone which has a much larger screen and a dedicated hardware RTH button. It’s an expensive tool but I think it’s worth the investment as it will work with multiple aircraft
 
.... I started pushing UP on the stick to gain altitude, but it wasn't taking.....

The drone should respond to stick movement all the way. For the throttle stick, you will need a lot of input, something like 70 ~ 80% just to stop the descent. Pushing to stike fully up will make it ascend but only slowly. This will create a feeling that the drone is not responding to stick input. In your incident it's likely that the throttle stick was not held firmly up but released every now and then so the drone continued to descend.
 
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Countering descent probably appeared to fail due to the intermittent signal.

Don't forget about the pause button on the RC. That should cancel the landing and go to hover. It definitely will cancel any autonomous flight modes.

For refresh, just put in a support/repair case. They'll then send you a shipping label. When they get it, they'll do a repair evaluation and quote, but the invoice will bill for a refresh. You can respond and ask for a repair instead to save your refresh for another incident. Since it's clearly not a warranty issue, you can go the express route and skip the eval and repair quote and go straight to refresh.
 
Oh, and the M2 handles just fine in 27mph winds. If winds get really bad, you may need to resort to sport mode. Try to start your flights upwind though, so you're helped rather than hindered during RTH.
 
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The drone should respond to stick movement all the way. For the throttle stick, you will need a lot of input, something like 70 ~ 80% just to stop the descent. Pushing to stike fully up will make it ascend but only slowly. This will create a feeling that the drone is not responding to stick input. In your incident it's likely that the throttle stick was not held firmly up but released every now and then so the drone continued to descend.
No, I was in a full fear, push the stick as hard as I could up, it was simply not responding. I did have an event saying the controller disconnected from the drone for 1.2 seconds during this time, but I had WiFi interference warnings both before and after, and by events, it appeared to not be responding for about 6 seconds.
 
Countering descent probably appeared to fail due to the intermittent signal.

Don't forget about the pause button on the RC. That should cancel the landing and go to hover. It definitely will cancel any autonomous flight modes.

For refresh, just put in a support/repair case. They'll then send you a shipping label. When they get it, they'll do a repair evaluation and quote, but the invoice will bill for a refresh. You can respond and ask for a repair instead to save your refresh for another incident. Since it's clearly not a warranty issue, you can go the express route and skip the eval and repair quote and go straight to refresh.
Yes, this too would have been a good thing to do, and I had completely forgotten this option, thanks for the reminder.
 
Countering descent probably appeared to fail due to the intermittent signal.

Don't forget about the pause button on the RC. That should cancel the landing and go to hover. It definitely will cancel any autonomous flight modes.

For refresh, just put in a support/repair case. They'll then send you a shipping label. When they get it, they'll do a repair evaluation and quote, but the invoice will bill for a refresh. You can respond and ask for a repair instead to save your refresh for another incident. Since it's clearly not a warranty issue, you can go the express route and skip the eval and repair quote and go straight to refresh.
Yes,. that's what I did. I send the drone back tomorrow (I was going to do so today but got busy with work). Side note: I was HOPING to have a Mavic Mini 2 by now as well to use in the meantime, but BestBuy nor DJI have it YET on sale! I did get to SEE it at Best Buy this AM, but this is a comment for a different thread, but this is how I'll continue flying while my 2 Pro gets fixed.
 
Oh, and the M2 handles just fine in 27mph winds. If winds get really bad, you may need to resort to sport mode. Try to start your flights upwind though, so you're helped rather than hindered during RTH.
Yes, as I mentioned, wind seemed to have no affect on either the photography session before nor the crash itself.

I immediately chose NOT chose NOT to fly 2 days ago, btw, as we had constant wind speeds up in the 30-40 MPH and gusts to 50. The drone still flies, but I certainly don't want to be hiking through the dense wetlands trying to find where the wind took it! WAY too windy to fly that day. Airdata had every hour of the day marked in red due to wind. I don't need to test the drone's engineering limits.
 
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Yes, as I mentioned, wind seemed to have no affect on either the photography session before nor the crash itself.

I immediately chose NOT chose NOT to fly 2 days ago, btw, as we had constant wind speeds up in the 30-40 MPH and gusts to 50. The drone still flies, but I certainly don't want to be hiking through the dense wetlands trying to find where the wind took it! WAY too windy to fly that day. Airdata had every hour of the day marked in red due to wind. I don't need to test the drone's engineering limits.
Tom
Sorry about your mishap, if you hadn't lost comms I am sure you would have sorted it out. I really don't fly by choice in anything more than 15-20 knots. Just not fun. Even on a much less windy day a while ago I was up around 300 ft once and got a wind warning that showed up on the smart controller and just brought the ac down and flew around 50 feet. I only use the hard buttons on the controller for rth/pause.

Please let everyone know how your care refresh experience goes when finished.
 
One reason I love my CS. It asks for confirmation. Gives me a second chance, so to speak, which helps if I “fat finger” the wrong control cuz I still can cancel.., takes 3-4 seconds, but has saved my drone more than once.
 
I’ve only used a smartphone once in the last 4 years of flying (last month) and put my MA2 in a creek. I honestly don’t know how anyone uses a smartphone as display device. The telemetry and touchpoints are way too small. I use a 9.7” iPad and would use one twice the size if it were practical. I was able to retrieve my MA2 by walking out fully clothed, 4’ deep. Power and lights were still on. Overnight in bag of rice and it was fine, except the battery was compromised.

Ive flown in higher winds with my M2P in Hawaii and it performed magnificently. I could see it bouncing around a lot, but you’d never guess by the footage, which was rock solid.
 
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So I had my first crash a month and a half ago in Northern Michigan. I actually hit RTH, but for some reason the craft lost its route for landing. It rose up about 20 feet, moved over some tree tops then started to descend into the trees only to tumble to the ground. The blades were broken and the rear leg was damaged at the rotator.....in addition some scratches.
I did not have the DJI refresh, however, I wanted to know what happened with the RTH and why it descended the way it did.
I created a service ticket online and requested a tracking/ logging of the flight. DJI contacted me via email to let me know when the RTH was depressed, the craft will rise to the designated programmed height the descend into the area of take off.

The issue, according to DJI, was the trees nearby as the unit will not detect the branches during its flight path if the trees are in the way of the landing spot. The mistake on my part was thinking the craft will return via the way it took off. The takeoff path was straight up and out over open field then a lake. When the RTH was depressed , the unit was well inland and over top a line of trees and open area.

Any way, DJI was really cool in explaining the pilot error and charged only $87 to fix the unit without the refresh program. They did recommend getting the refresh program which I did. Upon return of the unit to me, I noticed they replaced the entire unit with a new one....not repaired as I thought they would do.

I was very happy with the experience. Right now, Im trying the Smart Controller. So far, I prefer the smart controller as it is easier to use....no phone needed.
 
Yes,. that's what I did. I'll send the drone back tomorrow (I was going to do so today but got busy with work). Side note: I was HOPING to have a Mavic Mini 2 by now as well to use in the meantime, but BestBuy nor DJI have it YET on sale! I did get to SEE it at Best Buy this AM, but this is a comment for a different thread, but this is how I'll continue flying while my 2 Pro gets fixed.
 
I've been flying my Mavic 2 Pro for only 6 months, but I've been fairly active. Lately, I've been capturing a series of Autumn photos, doing near daily shots to get the foliage transition. I've gotten some beautiful shots. I also did a couple of video/photo sessions of an area behind my house called Wrack Meadow (as I think it's unique in a web search, you can find my area).

Well, a couple of weeks ago, after doing my 2nd shoot at Wrack Meadow, I started to do my daily foliage shots; these are shots above my driveway, most at 380 feet, max ceiling (close enough). However it was a very windy day; I didn't realize how high the winds were until I later checked the flight at Airdata, but I had average winds at 26 MPH and max gusts at 37.7MPH! I did get the wind warnings, but had no issues with the wind oddly enough; my shots were still rock solid, the drone performed wonderfully, but looking at that data, I'm amazed it did so well, no drifting, no image issues, rock solid.

All went well until the pilot error; I was using my Samsung Phone, I was out at about 275 feet, way up at 380 feet, easily visible, but I have heavy woods and lots of WiFi around my house (I'm an offender with 2 ISP's/Wifi setups . The Pilot Error was to hit Land instead of RTH on the phone; they're really close together (as everyone knows) and I fat fingered the wrong spot on the phone. Well, the drone dutifully started coming down and I saw this and had a moment of confusion, but I thought it was oddly descending to my RTH altitude, and I was still in the mental mode of thinking it was doing an RTH (I know it normally doesn't do this). However, probably due to remote controller interference, when it got down to about 250 feet, I started losing the video feed and by this time, I started pushing UP on the stick to gain altitude, but it wasn't taking. I'd get glimpses of video showing the AC still descending and by now, I had lost VLOS. I kept pushing up on the sticks, but then lost all contact with the AC. And I'm only 278 feet away, but it's now on the ground in a heavily wooded area.

I had gotten myself a Marco Polo for my wetlands shooting to help me recover the drone should I lose it. I used that and the find my drone map to find it. As I approached the location, again only 278 feet away from my home location, I got signal back and could see lots of ferns, good, it wasn't in a tree. Searching for a few minutes, I found it, still turned on with 17% battery left, my gimbal protector/shade (to prevent solar flares from the sides) was knocked off and by the side, the Marco Polo came un-velcroed but was nearby, and one of the strobes was knocked off (and it was OFF somehow, so it was a little hard to find in the leaves). But I found the drone.

The right rear leg of the drone got hyper extended upwards, denting the cowling, and the drone arm can now extend up a bit where it should not be able to do so. It's spring loaded, and appears to stay in position in flight (I tried maneuvers up and down, sport mode, it seemed to stay put just fine). AND, at first I thought that was the extent of the damage. However, on one of my sets of foliage shots after that, I got one shot that was tilted about 3 degrees or so, then the next was horizontal. Checking the camera and gimbal carefully, I found that one of the vibration stability tabs on the drone that mates with the bottom of the gimbal using rubber grommets had broken, allowing the camera to tilt at times. I found I could correct it with camera movements. It barely affects the camera use at all, I was able to even get nice 360 pano's with it as it. BUT, since I have DJI Care Refresh, I'll call it in and get it replaced when I'm done with my Autumn image series. I'll see how the refresh experience goes. If anyone has any advice for working with DJI for a replacement, please pass it on. Thanks in advance!

I have now retrained myself to use the RTH button on the controller, not the phone to prevent this fat fingering accident. I am also being more careful with wind conditions, though I don't think that ultimately was a contributing factor to this crash. I have a a Notification showing the drone lost contact with the controller for over 1.2 seconds (by notification, longer by lack of response), and lots of WiFi interference warnings around the same time, so I was unable to correct my initial error, ONCE I realized what I had done (which took a few seconds as well). AND I wasn't positioned in the best spot relative to my house; While I could still see the drone at 380 feet, as it descended, I had the corner of my house in the path to the drone for a few seconds after it descended to a certain altitude; I had to move to get line of sight back and by then it was behind trees. 2nd lesson is to be more careful to not let VLOS escape me as it did when it ducked behind the corner of my house from where I was standing; I should have already moved to the right to prevent that. Third lesson, while I often disable my WiFi on my phone, while I'm not certain, I likely didn't for this flight as I was planning on just doing a 5-10 minute flight to get my standard daily shots. I'll be sure to disable WiFi from now on as well as WiFi interference was definitely a factor in losing my connection at such close range.

So, an unfortunate accident but I learned some lessons that will help make me a safer pilot going forward; just using the controller for RTH will prevent that fat fingering accident.

Just for fun, here's a shot; I had to crop it quite a bit to make it small enough to upload. In the foreground you can see the South part of Wrack Meadow, Wachusett Reservoir, and then Mt Wachusett. In the center of the photo you can see Mt Monadnock NH, about 40 miles away as a crow flies. Shots in the opposite direction show Mt. Pisgah and the tops of the buildings in Boston, but I'll save that photo for sharing later:
View attachment 115716
Great shot Tom! I grew up and lived in that area most of my life. Its beautiful. I just joined here, my mavic 2 pro is supposed to arrive tomorrow :)
 
If you're STILL nearby, let's get together and do some flying and nature photography! Congrats on the new arrival!
I feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful area.

Ah, I see you're in Sarasota now. Well, if you ever get back this way....
 
Hi Tom, I do get back now and then. Its tough right now with all the covid travel restrictions e.t.c. going on. Hopefully get there more this coming year!
 
Yes, I'll be so glad when the covid issues are behind us. Do give a shout if you get back up this way, lots of beautiful places up here.
We had a fairly intense Nor'Easter on Saturday; I got some nice near blizzard footage around the house. I'll think I'll post that now, as you can see how intense the storm was (winds at a fairly steady 22 MPH), and the Mavic 2 Pro performed beautifully.

I made the flight short, as the AC sped off with the wind direction (I was a little surprised a how fast it moved when I wasn't pushing the stick that hard, but not overly so). But, as I didn't know the actual wind speed, I kept the flight short; it was also heavy snow, and while there was no rain, a warm drone would melt it quickly. I had protected the battery compartment with some tape, and I quickly toweled off the 2 Pro when I landed, but it wasn't that wet surprisingly, though there was a little snow around the gimbal.

So, this was mainly practice for dryer snow later in the season. BTW, I have hand warmers I plan to use over the battery to hopefully keep it warm for the flight.
 
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