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There and Back Again - an AMAZING tale of a lost Mavic, must read!!


Well-Known Member
Mar 1, 2017
I was flying my Mavic over two weeks ago near a very remote reservoir up in the desert mountains of Oregon. I launched and quickly climbed to the max altitude of 400ft and then flew East over a 200' foothill nearby (AGL). I continued to fly backwards at full speed so I could film a cool 'pullaway' shot of myself and friends on the shore of the reservoir.

I looked away from my ipad mini for just 5 seconds or so and when I looked back at the screen I realized I had
crashed - went from a beautiful panoramic view of the reservoir to dirt and rocks in just seconds.

Because I lost visual of my Mavic when it flew behind the first hill, I wrongly assumed this hill was the highest
in the area but NO - there was a hidden mountain (from our view) just behind the first hill and unfortunately was 500' above my launch site so a crash was inevitable. The obstacle avoidance system was facing the reservoir (not the mountain) so I knew my Mavic was not only lost but almost certainly toast as this mountain is extremely steep and rocky.

Anyways, I was several hours from home and it was late in the day - out in the middle of nowhere and 25 miles from the closest cell phone signal so we had no time (or energy frankly) to go on a 4 hour hike up an extremely steep mountainside so I wrote it off as another hopelessly lost Mavic story and sadly climbed onto my motorcycle for a very long and sad ride-of-shame back home.

My next opportunity to go back (as hopeless as it seemed) was 2 weeks from the time of crash. During that time there had been some torrential rain storms - with 90 degree days in between. I almost didn't even bother going back until I realized my ipad had recorded the final flight and after looking at the footage I was AMAZED.

Turns out my Mavic's obstacle sensors kicked in even though they were pointed 180 degrees from the mountain. I suppose the rising terrain somehow triggered the sensors - even at max horizontal speed. Because I had looked away from the screen, I didn't notice that it had stopped to hover at this point and I continued to hold the stick backwards and the Mavic naturally started moving backwards again, but from the video I could clearly tell that it only flew another 4' before it hit a bush on the upside of the hill - hope renewed!!

So this morning, I woke early for the long drive to retrieve what I thought would be an intact Mavic based on the ipad video - though probably internally damaged from being exposed to 2 weeks worth of insane rainstorms and extreme elements. I used the new 'Find my Drone' feature and it worked perfectly - even with no cell signal of any kind. In fact it guided me from my home, 4 hours north towards the reservoir (it guided me visually and verbally following roads - not as the crow flies). When I finally ran out of road, it told me
"you must proceed on foot from here" and I followed the signal another mile up into the remote & STEEP mountainside until it guided me within less than a foot of where it crash landed weeks earlier - nearly stepped on it in fact, haha!

Long story short, once I popped in a fresh battery I found it was in 100% working order, even the camera and gimbal worked - and the frame, legs - even the props didn't have as so much as a nick or scratch - whaaaaaat???

All this is to say, I am QUITE impressed with DJI's software that guided me to my lost drone and of course insanely impressed with the hardware itself - Mavic Pro's are tough as nails inside and out. I was so surprised you could have knocked me over with a feather and naturally just had to share my experience at the very least. Sorry if this dragged out, but hopefully my story will give even more Mavic Pro confidence than you all already have.
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You lucky dog, go get that lottery ticket immediately :D

Great story, very happy you found your Mavic. And in perfect shape, that is amazing.
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You lucky dog, go get that lottery ticket immediately :D

Great story, very happy you found your Mavic. And in perfect shape, that is amazing.

Thank you - just wanted to share some good news regarding hope for a lost and/or crashed Mavic - You have no idea how devastating it can be till it actually happens to you.
Good story. Glad you found it!

Do you know if "find my drone" works from the flight logs?
Just wanted to say SWEET!!!
I literally felt your enthusiasm and got goosebumps as I read your story. Thanks for sharing. A lot of these stories don't end as well.
Good to have a happy ending, it certainly proved worthwhile going back for your Magic
false summits learned about in climbing mountains, even if there is a higher summit you often do not know it is there as your angle inhibits it from view. Many times i thought i had hit the summit and found out that it was a false summit and the summit i wanted was way further on.

great you got it back and even better it was working,

i do think it all depends on what you hit and how it falls re damage. hit the camera first and it seems to be its weakest component. The fold away legs may also help to some degree as they fold in under stress.

I think they are pretty tough too considering they are plastic.

really nice to hear it worked out for you.
Find my drone feature? Am I the only one hearing about this for the first time? Where is it and how does it work?
that's a great story. And a real testament to the "find my drone" functionality.

It would be interesting to see the video on the Mavic - to see what it saw as it waited for you.

Congratulations.... and thanks for the story!
Your Mavic knew you would come back! :)

OMG, though - what a story! Glad you got your Mavic back.
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