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Lost Mavic Pro flying over the base of Mt Fuji


New Member
Mar 29, 2017
So this morning we lost our Mavic Pro flying over the lower glacier area at Mt Fuji. Because it's still the snowy season here in the Mt Fuji area of Japan, it's very difficult to get up to a decent starting elevation with good sight lines on the mountain. Ended up launching from the highest point we could on the glacier side of the mountain and flying from there. This was our second day flying from this location. The first day was cloudy so we spent a few hours exploring different shots and planning so that we could get what we needed with little fuss in the few hours of sun that was scheduled for early this morning. That first day we had a few weak signal warnings over the course of the day, but no dropped connections, so we thought we would be ok to repeat our shot list today.

This morning was going smoothly, but for our last shot the signal was bouncing between weak and strong throughout the flight as I was setting the shot up and getting the drone in position, and after letting the connection stabilize as green, I went ahead with the shot. We only had 60% left on our last battery, but it was a quick shot so I thought we would be fine. The shot went smoothly, but just as it was finishing we hit 35% battery and the RTH was triggered, spinning the drone around. I cancelled the RTH, spun it back around and flew the last few seconds of the shot. As the shot finished, the signal flipped back to weak, so I quickly turned it around and started to fly back home. I was cutting altitude as I was flying it home, since we were on a mountain side, and that was the quickest and most battery efficient way to get it home. I was getting a little sloppy letting the battery get so low, but I had been flying it home this way all morning, and I knew how quickly I could get it back. At 25% or so the signal dipped to weak again and then recovered. But apparently the drone had a critical low power warning come up while the signal was flickering? I guess I didn't notice that it was trying to auto-land as I was trying to cut altitude anyways while flying it home. The signal flickered again and recovered while I was flying it home, but then shortly after recovering, I lost signal completely. That was it, it was gone, and it was not flying back to me automatically, because apparently it was trying to land in the middle of the forest.

I know I was pushing the battery, and was overconfident in my ability to get it back home safely on a low battery. I should not have gone back to finish the shot.

We drove back down to town and I bought some snowshoes and then headed back up to the mountain. Using the last known coordinates before it disconnected, I made a pin on google maps and started hiking up the glacier to go find it. After 5 hours of hiking through deep snow and forest, I was still not able to get all the way to those coordinates.

Look, I know I am an idiot, but I really want to get our little birdie back and the SD card within it. If I give this hike another shot tomorrow morning, should I be aiming for the same coordinates, or is it more likely to have come down somewhere else? The weather thankfully has been decent in that area since then, so hopefully the drone is just sitting on a crusty layer of snow somewhere in the middle of the forest. Here are the coordinates I was aiming for in today's failed hike:

Google Maps

I know there is a wealth of experience on this forum, and I would greatly appreciate any help. Here is the flight log:

Phantom Log Viewer -

Sorry for the huge wall of text. Too much context? Also, yes I am going to buy a redundant GPS tracker for the future.

It was auto landing at the end of your flight log. I think you should continue with your original plan and look near the last recorded location (35.3327078, 138.7869855).
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You should have let it come home when it wanted to. Instead, not only did you head further away from home, but you also climbed. I Still don't understand why it Auto-Landed with 25% still left in the pack.

Watershed view shows you yourself were potentially in a slightly blinded spot relative to the last known location. I also see that as it was landing, it was still closing the distance to home, so I would check anywhere along the line between the last known point and home. That last known point it was still 200 feet above the ground, so it still may have drifted somewhat closer to home as it set down.
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Did some check and it was not easy due to the poor mapping of Mt. Fuji. What HFMan is saying seems to be correct.

Your Mavic seems to have gone further down the mountain. At the point you lost contact it was because the terrain was blocking the signal. You had 21% battery power remaining and the Mavic was still heading down the mountain side. From what I can see it went another 137M before crashing into the trees or landing on the ground.

Check location 35 19' 52.10N 138 47' 18.48E and it should be around there.

Here is a map showing you when it would have hit into the ground. The Black arrow is where I think it crashed.

Click To Enlarge.

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I Still don't understand why it Auto-Landed with 25% still left in the pack.

The higher you are above the take-off point, the more battery reserve it will require to auto-land. It has no idea that it is actually only 4 meters over the ground, it only knows that it was quite a bit higher than the home point.
You'll certainly have a story to go along with your video if you find your Mavic.
I'm a little confused as to why it was traveling at 20 MPH if it was Auto Landing. That would be more like an Auto Burn in.
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