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A crash on the California coast

Discussion in 'Photos and Video' started by finlayson, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. finlayson

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    On a steep hillside in Daly City (near San Francisco), California, USA, I got overconfident on a very windy day, let my Phantom 2 Vision+ get too far away, and it lost contact. It dutifully executed its "return to home" procedure, but there was a hilltop in the way that rose more than 60 feet above the home point.

    The outcome could have been (and probably should have been) disastrous, but I was very, very lucky. Not only was I able to find my Phantom, but it crashed with just a glancing blow off 'ice plant', which softened the impact. Remarkably, my Phantom (including gimbal and camera) suffered no damage at all!

    Enjoy!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMk4oDjxmYw

    Morals of the story:
    1/ If you're uncertain about the Phantom's orientation (yes, sometimes the "DJI VISION" app's 'radar' display can be slow to update), then don't wait for it to possibly get too far away. Instead, switch to "Home Lock" ASAP, and pull down on the right stick to be sure of bringing it back closer to home.
    2/ When launching, look out for nearby hills that may rise more than 60 feet from your home point. If they exist, re-set the home point after gaining altitude.
    3/ Overconfidence can be your enemy!
     
  2. poostik

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    Location:
    NJ, USA
    that bird
     
  3. dragonash

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    Location:
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    bird be like "I own these skies!"
     
  4. Suwaneeguy

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    I'd say you might have a problem with your software.
    On RTH mode. it should set a zero reference point for starting altitude.
    Then when RTH is engaged, it will rise to 20m above that point and return home.
    It should not rise 20m from where it is.
    Did you see any negative numbers on the screen?

    Let's say you start off where you were. Send it over to the beach and land.
    Then engage RTH. The bird should rise to 20m above YOUR location, not the beach and return home safely.

    Could even be a small compass problem.
     
  5. finlayson

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    I think RTH was working correctly. The problem, however, was that the 'home point' (the cliff top where I launched my Phantom) was about 75m above sea level. Unfortunately, farther south, the terrain rises significantly. At the point where I lost contact with the Phantom, the cliff top was about 115m above sea level. So the Phantom did the right thing - rising to about 95m above sea level, and then heading home. Unfortunately, there was about 20m of extra hilltop in the way.

    My mistake was not recognizing that there was higher terrain near the point where I launched my Phantom, and not resetting the 'home point' appropriately.

    Ross.
     
  6. finlayson

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    I think the bird was trying to figure out if my Phantom (which was upside down, with one of its rotors flickering back and forth) was a possible meal :)

    Ross.
     
  7. Suwaneeguy

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    Finlayson thanks for the clarification. I couldn't tell from the video.
    So 75m+20m=95m which is 20m less than the height of the object it crashed into.

    This has always been a question of mine. What happens when contact is lost and between home and the bird is a wall higher than 20m? The answer of course, is, crash into the wall.
    I think what they need to do is to somehow have the bird retrace its steps back to home rather than just using a default height to begin with.
    Or maybe rising to its highest recorded altitude then returning home.
     
  8. Double-D

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    Location:
    The Land Down Under
    Answer=Set you home point higher than the highest point if plan to fly over and below it.
    Glad your Phantom was ok.
    Was it a hike to retrieve it?

    On the plus side, you couldn't get a shot of the bird with sun behind it if you tried 1 million times. Well worth it just for that.
     
  9. Tripnman

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    Location:
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    Having the bird footage at the end makes the entire crash totally worth it. Glad you retrieved your aircraft in one piece.
     
  10. finlayson

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    Fortunately the hike to retrieve it wasn't too bad. (There is a trail - visible in the video - that runs along the side of the cliff.) But until I finally saw my Phantom in the distance, near the top of the hill (thankfully the white color stood out clearly against the surrounding dirt and vegetation!), I wasn't sure where it had gone. The DJI VISION app's "Find My PHANTOM 2 VISION" feature told me roughly where it had been when I lost contact (but please, DJI, update this to show the latitude,longitude as well!), but at first I wasn't sure where it had gone after that. (I was scared that it might have activated its "Return to China" feature, and flown off into the Pacific Ocean :)

    Ross.