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Are flyaways flying away ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Hughie, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Hughie

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    Just wondered having read the various forums and newsgroups looking for discussion on flyaways....

    I know this has been done to death, and I am convinced that at least some are user error.

    However, what I noticed was that from January to July 2014 there were an awful lot of posts reporting flyaways on the internet. A LOT of people were complaining about this problem during that window. Then after July, the problem does not completely go away, but it is less than a trickle, and is barely mentioned an this time (December 2014).

    I wondered if anyone had opinions on why this might be?

    Could it be that pilots are better clued up now on their pre-flight checks; could it have been a firmware problem that was fixed ?

    Speaking for myself, one thing which I did find confusing was that there is a lot if information out there which says it is OK to fly once you get rapid flashing green LEDS. Not so, if you are in IOC mode, because you get a set after 30s for IOC initialisation and then a second set for the GPS lock after that. That was confusing, and I could imagine some people taking off early.
     
  2. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    The majority of flyaways are due to a poor understanding of how the Phantom works and how to fly it properly.
    Losing GPS and defaulting to atti mode, failing to confirm home point and flying out of sight without experience are common factors.
     
  3. HunterSK

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    Hi Guys,

    Thought I should share my experience today.

    I've done about 200 successful flights on my Vision+, and thought that a mandatory checklist, compass calibration and common-sense flying would prevent flyaways.

    But I almost lost my Vision+ today, and I don't believe it was operator error.

    Short description
    While doing some still photography today I found an unexplainable loss of control that resulted in the aircraft going down.


    Detailed description

    I have had about 200 successful flights on this Phantom over 7 months. Previous flights were all successful and no abnormities were found.

    I performed my normal pre-flight checklist and did a compass calibration while standing in an area away from metal objects.

    The incident happened about 15 minutes into the flight. I was finishing up some still photography work.

    The Phantom was within 100 metres of me and was within line-of-sight when the loss of control happened. Phantom altitude was around 30 metres.

    The aircraft flew uncontrollably opposite direction to me and at 90 degrees to the direction of wind, and lost altitude while tilting extremely to one side.

    I was completely calm and noted that S1 or S2 remained in GPS-ATTI and aircraft orientation. I did not note anything strange on the controls.

    There were no obvious nearby high voltage power lines or transmission towers.

    When the aircraft started to lose control I saw that I had 9 satellites locked. Again the aircraft was in GPS-ATTI mode and never left this mode.

    The aircraft lost altitude from 30 metres in a matters of seconds hitting some bushes on a flight angle. This was not because of wind conditions.

    Judging from the trajectory towards some vacant land, I decided to let it crash in a safe manner. The aircraft was within line of sight and I saw the aircraft fly towards the ground in a fixed orientation (e.g. the aircraft was not spinning uncontrollably).

    Fortunately I was able to recover the crashed aircraft in one piece, due to the GPS tracker that I installed and contacted security to recover the aircraft.

    Here is what I found on the Phantom:

    - All propellers were intact.

    - The aircraft is banged up, but all four motors still spin normally. The ESCs function OK. I just did a test flight with fresh propellers and it still flies.

    - The camera and gimbal are still working, however one cable from the Phantom to the gimbal (grey ribbon cable with four data leads) got ripped out and needs recrimping (if I decide to repair).

    - The battery seen via Phantom Assistant has 35% charge, all three cells are balanced and still healthy.

    - Phantom Assistant reports that IMU looks OK, and no calibration needed.

    This was the first time that I have experienced this kind of loss of control on the Phantom after many fights. Luckily I had a GPS tracker to help locate the aircraft.
     
  4. Hughie

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    when you say attitude do you mean altitude. I think it matters here in trying to understand the scenario (second case).

    Even so that is bad news.

    It does have the sound of an ESC / motor /prop problem though doesnt it.
     
  5. HunterSK

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    Thanks for pointing that spelling mistake. I have fixed it.

    Yes I agree that the important thing is to understand what happened.

    Because I was able to recover the Phantom and confirm that the props, ESC, motors and flight computer's IMU functioned correctly on a subsequent test flight I think it was RF interference or software malfunction.

    I'm using the Phantom 2 Vision+ (original version 2) and have contacted my dealer. If I don't get any help I'll contact DJI, but slim chances that I'm going to get much help.
     
  6. Hughie

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    I agree with your conclusions. Satellite, lost of tx signal, and wind are clearly not factors here.
     
  7. dbehr

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    HunterSK.Hi. Which Gps Tracker are you using and how is it attached to the P3v+ ?
     
  8. HunterSK

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    Hi dbehr,

    I have a P2V+ and installed the T-102B tracker. These are pretty cheap, but only buy genuine ones with unique IMEI numbers. There are apparently fakes ones around that don't perform as well.

    Used 3M Dual Lock™ Reclosable Fasteners which is five times stronger than standard velcro. However, it will separate during a hard crash though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. socrats

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    How do I know if is a knock off?Any tips?
     
  10. DrJoe

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    Just wanted to report a similar anomaly.

    I have the p2v+, ver1. Upgraded to latest firmware for everything, including the board.

    I was flying at a "closed for the season" outdoor concert venue (PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ). I was flying for about 15 minutes. I had over 11+ GPS satellites. It was windy, 37 degrees and there are several large antennas around.

    The Phantom flew beautifully. I wanted to take advantage of the wind to break a speed record. I flew out, turned around, and headed back ATTI full steam. (Got 63+). As I finished the run, I switched back to GPS mode. The Phantom slowed as it passed overhead at about 150 feet, then suddenly headed full speed to the left. I had my hands off the sticks. It was descending. Definitely and "Oh Sh&t" moment.

    My "emergency" response was to flick both s1 and s2 full down, then full up. The Phantom leveled and regained control immediately.

    With 10+ satellites, an experienced pilot, manageable wind of 15-20 mph, and radio towers that hadn't messed with for 15 minutes, I can't figure out for the life of me why it would enter an uncommanded left acceleration while descending.

    Its either a problem with the new firmware update, a flight controller error, or radio interference (something I never experienced). This is definitely something to watch.
     
  11. SteveMann

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    Good save. What mode it S1 down set to?

    I've been reading about 2.4 and 5 GHz controllers and wonder what format of Spread Spectrum the Phantom R/C systems use? Is it XPS, FASST, Assan or something else?
    APS and Assan do not recover from strong interference very well because it appears that they don't frequency-hop after they are turned on. Futaba FASST is always frequency hopping and Spektrum operates on two widely spaced channels so as to have some backup if one of those channels is hit by interference.

    Anyone know?
     
  12. Clipper707

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    My P2V+ went down over Lao. I consider myself an experienced Phantom operator and not afraid to admit when my crashes (2 of them) were due to operator error.

    I arrived in Lao and calibrated before launching. I did 3 or 4 flights over the Mekong river with no problems. The next day, I flew over a place called Buddha Park, with lots of concrete statues full of rebar. I had zero live feed there, but did a lot of visual Close Quarters Flying around the statues. (Cool footage!)

    A few hours later, I was back at the spot on the Mekong looking to do another sunset flight. Launched and flew about 15 minutes on a fresh battery. Brought her in, swapped batteries, and upon launch it tilted and veered to the left, flying a ballistic trajectory until it crashed thick underbrush and a bamboo fence on the river bank. Lucky I found it. Flight duration was about 3-4 seconds from launch to crash. It was tilted like it was set to manual. My S1 and S2 switches were up and I do NOT have manual enabled. I was reading 11 satellites and waited for all green lights before lift-off.

    She went down like a prom dress. I still don't know why.
     
  13. DrJoe

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    My S1 switch is set to RTH when full down. S2 is the standard IOC. If you get the "veer" snap them both down, then up. It worked for me!
     
  14. PhantomFanatic

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    Just a thought, but would spring to July might be a time that more choose to fly. In my location, August is too hot and spring to July IS my most active period.

    Plus, we need to consider the numerous Phantoms bought for last Christmas. There might be more flyways as they learn. Perhaps we will more see such posts after this December.

    Just a thought. I have a few of them each week or so.
     
  15. PhantomFanatic

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    I have noticed something that seems very common and that is the sharp tilt, then flying away at speed. Perhaps there is an underlying problem, that is intermittent and hasn't been addressed in an update. Since you mentioned having a GPS tracker, allow me to comment on that.

    After ordering a SIM card, for my RF-V16 and $20 for 90 days, I thought of the many Phantoms that could have been recovered if only they knew of this option.

    However, this tracker will go to my Mom. Not because she wanders off, but she is prone to falling and not being able to get up. I purchased two GMRS radios, with license, but she doesn't find it comfortable to wear.

    I brought this up as if you have such a situation, it is an ideal solution, with two way calling, communicating, GPS tracking and being able to listen in at any time. Great for kids, dogs, cars, etc. If I had children, in this society, where children are abducted, each of my kids would have one! I bought this for my Phantom, but I'll buy another later on. Sorry for being OT.
     
  16. PhantomFanatic

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    Not for sure, but I've been told that Futab's FASST transmitters are the only other transmitters that will work with the Phantom. I've searched through the technical details on DJI and I couldn't find it.
     
  17. Hughie

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    viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31036
     
  18. HunterSK

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    Thanks for everyone's response, looks like the incident I experienced is not a one-off event.

    I was not aware that flicking S1 between GPS-ATTI and RTH may remedy this situation. Just curious where you learnt this from?

    Like many of you, my S1 down position was set to RTH, and this mode still requires GPS and compass.
     
  19. singapore_phantom

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    Someone posted about an uptick in solar activity the past week or so. Perhaps there's a link with above fly-aways.

    It seems to me that the number of fly-aways I'm reading about now has gone down considerably when compared to, say, 3-6 months ago. So when you get a few of them pretty much back-to-back at about the same time as some major sun flares headed our way, then maybe Phantom pilots should check the solar forecast for spikes and keep the Phantom in if and when lots of activity is imminent.
     
  20. PhantomFanatic

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    Hugie,

    Thanks for that, but I didn't come away with a definitive answer. Did you?