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Mavic 3 auto forced landed and lost my drone!

Frylikebird

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Battery was full charged right before flying, it's part of my requirement safety checklist. Mavic 3 started to Auto RTH with battery 6-7min left (I don't remember). I canceled the Auto RTH and took over control because I had to finish shooting some videos and the Mavic 3 was only about 200m away from me and with line of sight. I controlled the drone back, with the drone and the controller less than 70m away and did some video shots, but at about 4 minutes mark the drone took over the control and started to land right on to the woody swamp. I lost feed of the last 4 minutes. I did search for the drone but it started to rain after 2 hours, heavy rain and had been raining! I just lost my drone! Can someone give me tips the proper way to screen record for future analyzing.
 

Saladshooter

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Battery was full charged right before flying, it's part of my requirement safety checklist. Mavic 3 started to Auto RTH with battery 6-7min left (I don't remember). I canceled the Auto RTH and took over control because I had to finish shooting some videos and the Mavic 3 was only about 200m away from me and with line of sight. I controlled the drone back, with the drone and the controller less than 70m away and did some video shots, but at about 4 minutes mark the drone took over the control and started to land right on to the woody swamp. I lost feed of the last 4 minutes. I did search for the drone but it started to rain after 2 hours, heavy rain and had been raining! I just lost my drone! Can someone give me tips the proper way to screen record for future analyzing.

Any screen recording app will help but you really need to heed the battery warnings and not push them to the limits. It would have taken you a very short time to land the M3, change batteries and put it back in the sky to finish your shooting.

Drawing your batteries all the way down, damages them and of course leaves you open to situations like the one you describe. Having an extra charged battery around is a much smaller price to pay then a lost Mavic.
 

Yorkshire_Pud

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It is also possible that if you had given the drone sufficient throttle and some forward stick etc. you could have kept the drone in the air long enough to get it over dry land or at least a safe place to land.
DJI drones have flown to 0% battery and less (0% is the lowest indicated value) by doing that, it may have damaged the battery but it might have got your drone safe.
 

Meta4

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Can someone give me tips the proper way to screen record for future analyzing.
Your recorded flight data is more help than a screen recording.
To find out what's behind the incident, and the location where the drone came down ...

Go to DJI Flight Log Viewer | Phantom Help
Follow the instructions there to upload your flight record from your phone or tablet.
That will give you a detailed report on the flight data.
Come back and post a link to the report it provides.
Or just post the .txt file here.
 
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Capt KO

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Auto RTH is there for a reason..to return with enough battery to survive. Canceling RTH put the flight entirely in your hands. If some battery % remains, Auto land can be overridden (somewhat) if you try. Sorry for your loss incl the pics you fought so hard for. Hope you’ll post the logs to help others in the same situation. Also hope you’ll be back in the air soon.
 

maggior

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As others have said, the flight data will tell you more than any screen recording.

I'll cancel auto RTH but I immediately bring it back. You have to keep in mind that wind conditions may mean more battery drain coming back than heading out and it takes time to bring the drone down to the ground. I generally land with around 15-20% battery left. On rare occasions I'll land between 7-10%. It sucks to have to abandon a shot sometimes, but doing so beats losing your drone.
 

CanadaDrone

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This is such a common story on these forums, unfortunately. Generally you want to be landing with 20-30% battery left for a number of reasons, all to do with battery health and aircraft safety. It's a lot less of an inconvenience these days with the super long flight times these newer drones are getting. Myself and many others surely sound like broken records by now, but these threads are exactly why we keep repeating it. If you have more flying to do, land, pop in a fresh battery and go back up. Running batteries down that low is not only bad for them but dramatically increases the risk of events like you experienced.

No doubt it sucks to have lost such an expensive drone, but it's a lesson learned. Sorry this happened to you - nobody likes reading about stuff like this. Hopefully you have insurance or refresh and can get back in the air soon.
 

Frylikebird

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thanks for all the tips and encouraging words. The point is that Auto Force Landing is a self destruction mode, it doesn't help with anything, it literally destroys drones. DJI knows that with 3 to 4 minutes of battery left it should just let operator take full control to fly back home or able to do RTH again. People do fly over water, roads, rail tracks, mountains, fores, and even people. They need to disable-able force landing. Losing a battery health or losing a drone with the battery all together? Silly. I wish there's law suit.
 
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Meta4

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I wish there's law suit.
I wish there was actual data so we could understand what actually happened instead of guessing.
Without what actually happened it's not possible to properly comment on the incident.
The data is there on your phone or tablet.
It will show where the drone came down as well as explain what happened.
Why not post it?
 

MS Coast

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thanks for all the tips and encouraging words. The point is that Auto Force Landing is a self destruction mode, it doesn't help with anything, it literally destroys drones. DJI knows that with 3 to 4 minutes of battery left it should just let operator take full control to fly back home or able to do RTH again. People do fly over water, roads, rail tracks, mountains, fores, and even people. They need to disable-able force landing. Losing a battery health or losing a drone with the battery all together? Silly. I wish there's law suit.

In the absence of flight logs, these observations may be made based on your description and what we know about the Mavic 3.
  • You had full control of the drone for ~40 minutes. The Fly app gave you a continuous reading of battery level.

  • Based on the battery level, position, environment, and flight speed, the Fly app calculated that it was prudent to return. It warned you and initiated low battery RTH.

  • You ignored the warning and overrode the RTH to continue filming, possibly disagreeing with the software's calculation? The battery level declined even further below the safe RTH level while you completed your filming.

  • You finally began returning.

  • To preclude the danger to people and property of a two-pound object free falling after a total power loss DJI very wisely and prudently included a fail-safe landing feature. It lands the drone in a controlled manner when a critical battery level is reached. Having calculated that the drone had reached that critical point, the software initiated a fail-safe landing, minimizing damage to the drone and the danger to others and their property.
The software and drone behaved exactly as described in the user manual. "The aircraft will land automatically if the current battery level will only support the aircraft long enough to descend from its current altitude." This programmed behavior is not about battery health, it's about putting the drone on the ground safely when the operator has failed to do so.

What are your grounds for a law suit? That the drone didn't behave as described in the manual?
 

Frylikebird

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So it's ok to loose controll and let it land on top of people's head, on coming car, and or land in water? It's amazing how many people here worship DJI. That force landing needs to be disabled with firmware. Yes I'm mad as hell but all I or we ask is to be able to disable force landing. We got force RTH with cancel feature but force landing with no cancellation or control except up. Would it be better to just have force RTH with no cancellation?
 
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JoshC

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So it's ok to loose controll and let it land on top of people's head, on coming car, and or land in water? It's amazing how many people here worship DJI. That force landing needs to be disabled with firmware. Yes I'm mad as hell but all I or we ask is to be able to disable force landing. We got force RTH with cancel feature but force landing with no cancellation or control except up. Would it be better to just have force RTH with no cancellation?
Without a controlled landing it could lose power completely at whatever height (e.g. 100m) and plummet to the ground at a higher speed, e.g. terminal velocity, creating the potential for greater endangerment to people or property on their ground.

Basically, you've made a rookie mistake and in the process lost your expensive drone. Rather than blaming the manufacturer, you should look at your own actions.

If you want to fly your drone below 20%, then I'd suggest you do some testing in a controlled environment like a field and figure out at exactly what battery level it will force auto land. I personally some times push below the safe battery level when I want to max the number of photos or videos, but when I do this I always make sure I'm within 30-50 metres from my starting point, and only flying over terrain where it if auto-lands there's no issue.
 

Meta4

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So it's ok to loose controll and let it land on top of people's head, on coming car, and or land in water?
When you:
  • know that the drone will autoland on reaching critical low voltage .. and
  • you've chosen to fly over a swampy, forested area, from which recovery is going to be a problem .. and
  • you cancel a warning RTH to keep flying over a wet, swampy site for four more minutes (without data we can't tell if this number is correct and have to accept your guess), .. then
  • on reaching critical low voltage the drone does as it is programmed to and autolands ..
Whose fault is that?

It's amazing how many people here worship DJI.
It's amazing how some people don't want to take responsibility for the predictable outcome of their actions

When you fly in an environment like that, you need to keep a comfortable safety margin to allow for the unexpected (or even what should be expected if you choose to ignore warnings and take things too far.
 

GadgetGuy

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It is also possible that if you had given the drone sufficient throttle and some forward stick etc. you could have kept the drone in the air long enough to get it over dry land or at least a safe place to land.
DJI drones have flown to 0% battery and less (0% is the lowest indicated value) by doing that, it may have damaged the battery but it might have got your drone safe.
Exactly! Those of us who push the limits have learned this! 0% on the Mavic 3 is still well above 3.5V per cell and causes no damage, while still leaving 2 additional minutes of flight time, to complete battery exhaustion, and battery failure, before crashing. Full up left stick overrides the auto landing at 10%, but you MUST maintain full signal throughout the autolanding process, which means ascending immediately high enough to return on a glide path above all potential signal obstructions!
 
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Yorkshire_Pud

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@Frylikebird you appear to be entirely missing the point of some of the posts,
YOU HAD SOME CONTROL DURING THE FORCED LANDING.
If that came as news to you I would ask, why was it news to you?
There is an entire section of the manual dedicated to low battery RTH, did you read it?
From that section comes the following quotation.

" The aircraft will land automatically if the current battery level can only support the aircraft long enough to descend from its current altitude. Auto landing cannot be canceled but the remote controller can be used to alter the horizontal movement and the speed of descent of the aircraft during landing. If there is sufficient power, the throttle stick can be used to make the aircraft ascend at a speed of up to 1 m/s.
During auto landing, move the aircraft horizontally to find an appropriate place to land as soon as possible. The aircraft will fall if the user keeps pushing the throttle stick upward until the power is depleted. "

That, or similar, appears in both versions, 1.0 & 1.2, of the manual and 1.0 was available in May 2022.
I am no DJI suck up especially when it comes to the phrasing of their English version manuals and even more so as guidance for newbies who are unfamiliar with the terminology (been there and experienced that myself) but that quotation is quite clear.

Had you read the above, if not, why not ?

Did you use what control you had or did you just let the drone sink?

There will always come a point where the drone 'runs out of juice',
If the drone/DJI allowed people to cancel the forced forced landing I am quite certain that there are people who would fly the drone, as per nomal, until the battery died and the drone literally fell from the sky, and then I would bet those people would cry,
"DJI are at fault for not forcing the drone down whilst there was some measure of contol."

Better that it come down with limited control than come down with no control in a free fall or VERY rapid descent.

You played with fire, this time you got burnt.
There is no point in trying to "pass the buck", the manual clearly states what will happen, if you did not take the appropriate action that is not DJI's fault.
 
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CanadaDrone

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thanks for all the tips and encouraging words. The point is that Auto Force Landing is a self destruction mode, it doesn't help with anything, it literally destroys drones. DJI knows that with 3 to 4 minutes of battery left it should just let operator take full control to fly back home or able to do RTH again. People do fly over water, roads, rail tracks, mountains, fores, and even people. They need to disable-able force landing. Losing a battery health or losing a drone with the battery all together? Silly. I wish there's law suit.

The reason it does an auto forced landing is because the alternative is it drops out of the sky, potentially injuring someone below, or damaging the drone beyond repair (if recoverable). If you're flying over people, for example, it would be far better for the drone to descend in a controlled manner than free-fall from 100ft or whatever.

One of the many problems with flying the drone on such low battery is that the flight time estimates are no longer accurate. The drone might tell you it has 2 or 3 minutes left, but it may not actually, or it may experience a voltage event that causes a forced landing or for it to simply drop out of the sky. Even at the best of times, flight time estimates are not very accurate as they do not take into account things like wind, temperature, battery health, or air density. They are a guideline only, and that is why it's important to leave yourself plenty of wiggle room.

There is no need to disable forced landing, it's a valuable safety feature and it's never going to kick in if you're returning home with 20-30% battery. If you're flying over water or a landscape that would make retrieval impossible, you want to give yourself a huge margin for error, especially if the RTH direction is opposite that of the wind which it often is in coastal areas or over water.
 
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