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Mini 3 Pro vanished this morning

WilliamDaugherty

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After almost four weeks of daily flights, my Mini 3 Pro disappeared 3 minutes into a flight this morning. Just after dawn I launched from my driveway, took one photo from, then flew across the road and up a hillside to the east so I could capture the sunrise. I do this virtually every day. I had been flying for 3 minutes. Aircraft was going 25mph at 420' above takeoff point (100' AGL) and was about 1500' away from me. Nothing unusual had happened then the display froze. I thought it was just a transmission glitch so I stopped giving any control inputs and waited. I looked for the aircraft but could no longer see the strobe. After a moment I pushed forward on the left stick, thinking perhaps that would help with the data link. Nothing. I waited several minutes but the bird never reconnected, nor did it RTH, which it was set to do. I restarted the RC. No connection. After about 15 minutes I gave up hope that the bird was still functional and/or would RTH. I reviewed the flight data and screen captured a satellite image with the bird's final reported location indicated. I was able to hike up the hill to that exact spot, then spent an hour scouring the ground. No sign of it. The last known location was easy to find, given some unusual landmarks. Even so, I widened the circle and still found no trace, including looking up into the surrounding trees.

I considered that a hawk might have taken the bird but I saw no indication on the display. In past bird strikes, there was violent disruption of the video feed. Not today. The fact that the drone was completely incommunicado makes me think this was a core power failure. There was no way to invoke "find my drone" obviously since it never reconnected.

I have started a flyaway case but I can't help but wonder if there's something wrong with this design that would allow this. I've had a lot of DJI drones. I've crashed a lot of them. I had one uncontrolled fly-away, but in every case, I still had some data flowing back to the controller during the final fatal moments. Not this time.
 

abruzzopat

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Sorry to hear this, and I hope DJI coms through. I’m sure many on the forum would be curious to see the logs if you’re willing to share.
 

FLDave

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What information did you get from the flight data? Did you upload the .txt file to AirData? How does the flight data compare to other similar flights?
 
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Phantomrain.org

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Sounds like you might want to Upload your flight Log to get a more detailed report.
I think the Display Freezing is the key , did the software crash or just the Transmission video

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alfo2010

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Sorry about your losing your drone, I hope that DJI replaces it. I have a Mini 3 Pro and I don't trust it because of the constant loss of signal especially when it gets behind some trees or object. I installed the latest firmware when it was release but it made very little difference. We all paid a lot of money for the Mini 3 Pro with the R controller and are faced with a drone that is unreliable and does not meet the advertised specs that DJI has used in their advertising.
 
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FLDave

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So, you didn't upload to AirData? AirData would have provided battery data so you could compare to other flights. Battery information can be useful.
In any case, sudden loss of power is the likely conclusion. DJI could learn more from the .DAT file.
 
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Mike107

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Your experience has some resemblance to mine, with the exception of I found my M3P exactly where expected after a sudden loss of connection about 100 yds from me.

I applied for data analysis by DJI and a repair/replace under warranty, and they are treating like a warranty replacement after the flight analysis. They did not convey their findings. Perhaps you should start a warranty claim instead of using CareRefresh?

I read a useful post wherein a person was able to do data analysis of trajectory and battery time left and extrapolated expected ending point and distance from home for the pilot. I don't think the M3P gives us access to the same amount of data as in that post, but maybe a long straight hike (with wind drift?) would be good to do if you haven't already.
Sorry to hear about your experience. I was as befuddled as you are about "what the heck happened??" Not a fun feeling.
 
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WilliamDaugherty

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Sorry about your losing your drone, I hope that DJI replaces it. I have a Mini 3 Pro and I don't trust it because of the constant loss of signal especially when it gets behind some trees or object. I installed the latest firmware when it was release but it made very little difference. We all paid a lot of money for the Mini 3 Pro with the R controller and are faced with a drone that is unreliable and does not meet the advertised specs that DJI has used in their advertising.
Sorry to hear of your troubles. To be fair, I've had no issues with signal strength or range. This drone has far exceeded the Mini2 in terms of flight stability and robust data connectivity. The issue at hand is something else entirely it would seem.
 
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Mike107

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I have a Mini 3 Pro and I don't trust it because of the constant loss of signal especially when it gets behind some trees or object.
Interesting, I am learning just how big strongly and suddenly leafy trees can drop the signal strength, and I happened to come across this video which documents it well--although WD's case so far looks more like a sudden loss of power than one of a straight up signal interference issue.
 

WilliamDaugherty

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Your experience has some resemblance to mine, with the exception of I found my M3P exactly where expected after a sudden loss of connection about 100 yds from me.

I applied for data analysis by DJI and a repair/replace under warranty, and they are treating like a warranty replacement after the flight analysis. They did not convey their findings. Perhaps you should start a warranty claim instead of using CareRefresh?

I read a useful post wherein a person was able to do data analysis of trajectory and battery time left and extrapolated expected ending point and distance from home for the pilot. I don't think the M3P gives us access to the same amount of data as in that post, but maybe a long straight hike (with wind drift?) would be good to do if you haven't already.
Sorry to hear about your experience. I was as befuddled as you are about "what the heck happened??" Not a fun feeling.
My first true fly-away was resolved as a warranty (no charge) replacement. Given the circumstances, that may happen now also. My whole reason for posting here was not to get help with finding the root cause but rather to 1) see if anyone else has had a similar problem and perhaps 2) warn folks this is possible.

As for trying to find the bird's final resting place, if it continued flying at 27mph for another 40 minutes, it would require a very large amount of SAR resources to even begin to cover the search area. Much of my area is wilderness with dense forests. Very unlikely that it would ever be found.
 

edcMavicPilots

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"After a moment I pushed forward on the left stick"

When you lose signal sometimes it has just lost video and the controller is still working. Several things could cause that, loose cable, app issue, other. In those cases it is best to just let the drone try to RTH. Pushing either stick is potentially a recipe for disaster as you are literally flying blind unless you can see the drone.
 

Phantomrain.org

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My first true fly-away was resolved as a warranty (no charge) replacement. Given the circumstances, that may happen now also. My whole reason for posting here was not to get help with finding the root cause but rather to 1) see if anyone else has had a similar problem and perhaps 2) warn folks this is possible.

As for trying to find the bird's final resting place, if it continued flying at 27mph for another 40 minutes, it would require a very large amount of SAR resources to even begin to cover the search area. Much of my area is wilderness with dense forests. Very unlikely that it would ever be found.
DJI may ask you for the video Cashe , can you post that video as that may be more telling of what happened. I would say at this point , its a good warranty case that DJI should respect.

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WilliamDaugherty

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"After a moment I pushed forward on the left stick"

When you lose signal sometimes it has just lost video and the controller is still working. Several things could cause that, loose cable, app issue, other. In those cases it is best to just let the drone try to RTH. Pushing either stick is potentially a recipe for disaster as you are literally flying blind unless you can see the drone.
Not my first rodeo. Going slowly straight up has been known to restore a connection. In this case it wasn't just the video feed. The drone was simply gone. No data in, no data out. As mentioned in the original post, after attempting to ascend slightly/slowly, I did simply wait for RTH. Never happened.
 
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WilliamDaugherty

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DJI may ask you for the video Cashe , can you post that video as that may be more telling of what happened. I would say at this point , its a good warranty case that DJI should respect.

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As mentioned in my initial post, I was flying to take photos of the sunrise, so no video was shot at all. So there's no cached video. Even if there was, it wouldn't tell you anything you can't see in the log data. The screen was frozen on the last frame from the feed, which was the normal view I have of the hillside.

I think I'll reach out to DJI again to discuss the particulars re: warranty vs. fly-away. When this happened once before there was no such thing as fly-away protection. I would certainly prefer to keep my $235.00.
 

WilliamDaugherty

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Just spoke with DJI tech support. I was told that ALL cases where there is no aircraft MUST begin as "fly-away" tickets. This will cause the support case to be routed to a dedicated team who will then determine if the incident was the fault of the pilot or the manufacturer. If the former, the customer will be billed for the fly-away replacement cost ($235 for the Mini 3 Pro). If the latter, they will be sent a replacement at no charge.
 

Phantomrain.org

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Just spoke with DJI tech support. I was told that ALL cases where there is no aircraft MUST begin as "fly-away" tickets. This will cause the support case to be routed to a dedicated team who will then determine if the incident was the fault of the pilot or the manufacturer. If the former, the customer will be billed for the fly-away replacement cost ($235 for the Mini 3 Pro). If the latter, they will be sent a replacement at no charge.
My bet is on the replacement , I think you have a good case..

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vindibona1

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As mentioned in my initial post, I was flying to take photos of the sunrise, so no video was shot at all. So there's no cached video. Even if there was, it wouldn't tell you anything you can't see in the log data. The screen was frozen on the last frame from the feed, which was the normal view I have of the hillside.

I think I'll reach out to DJI again to discuss the particulars re: warranty vs. fly-away. When this happened once before there was no such thing as fly-away protection. I would certainly prefer to keep my $235.00.
While there are reasons not to do so, it seems that a good practice is to start recording immediately after launch Without the video cache we have to rely solely on the flight long, which in this case didn't help the owner find the drone, though it should have been easy. We can always trim the excess footage at a later date if needed.
 

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