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Bad weekend experience, almost lost Phantom (video)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by growe19, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. growe19

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    Hello fellow Phantom Pilots!

    Yesterday it was a gloriously sunny day which was perfect for flying... apart from one key element was not taking into consideration before flying, WIND!. I stupidly ignored all the signs before flying and decided to anyway. The result was the worst emotion and feeling possible. I potentially had a massive financial loss on my hands.

    My Phantom setup includes a TX unit for FPV to a 7" monitor at the launch site and upgraded radio gear for use with a Devo receiver. And then there is the GoPro HERO3 Black (naked) attached to it.

    Fortunately I recovered the Phantom and GoPro undamaged but even after recovery and watching the video back still was a bit unnerved by the whole experience. Not something I want to repeat, or that I would wish on any of the Phantom community. It is distressing!

    This is the resulting video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qvPTW9ordk

    I've cut down the 12minutes of flight recording to 3minutes cutting the sections as I saw fit. Timestamps are listed below for what was happening at the time. Video is also compressed a couple of times so it uploaded faster to YouTube.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qvPTW9ordk[/youtube]

    0m16s = Grid shows where we were flying without issue.
    0m24s = To high and turned the same direction wind was blowing, have now lost sight of Phantom.
    0m29s = Fighting wind to get back to launch site.
    0m33s = Still being blown further away. Can not see Phantom from launch site. Very very concerned.
    0m41s = Further away still, Phantom already in return to home mode at this point but can not fight natures full force!
    0m55s = Skips ahead, Phantom is now approx 400m away from launch site. Still struggling.
    1m07s = Phantom has got closer, approx 310m from launch site.
    1m33s = Now approx 230m from launch site. Although I'm standing directly below it... without the receiver. Phantom now turns to try a new approach at returning it home point.
    2m00s = Final decent... voltage from battery isn't enough and motors are slowing down.
    2m09s = IMPACT!
    2m17s = Beeps heard after 40seconds of motor twitching.
    2m22s = I collect it from crash site. Because it dropped 20m from where I was watching it fall into trees I had good site of it for collection luckily.

    What I've taken and learnt from the whole experience:
    *Reward sticker with name and phone number is essential if you're going to ignore conditions.
    *Nature will always win the battle of power lol.
    *The Phantom will twitch the motors for 40seconds if it is unable to spin the props... I'm not sure if the beeps after this indicated a dead battery or just a timeout notification for motors not spinning.
    *Phantoms seem to adjust how they're approach return to home point if they're not getting any closer after a while.

    Anyway, I hope that has entertained some people for a little while.
    I hope my future posts aren't anything related to this sort of idiot activity!

    Gary
     
  2. Sac D

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    Lucky. Lucky. Lucky!

    Hopefully that will be enough excitement for a while, huh?

    Good that you didn't lose it.
     
  3. growe19

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    Lol excitement... yeah. Haha.
    It will be a while before I'm confident enough to take it out again. Has knocked me a bit.
     
  4. colchester daz

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    G, you forgot 2.50, fellow pilot...Colchester Daz.
     
  5. growe19

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    Sorry dude.

    Also forgot to mention (although you say it in the video) that the Phantom can operate on just about 4volts!! Lol
     
  6. ULI RAY

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    how much wind was that? good thing your out in the field hope everyone learns from it because it could have been worse. Thanks for sharing.
     
  7. pwright

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    Wow! Glad you didn't end up losing it.

    Wind does make for exciting flying. :lol:
     
  8. growe19

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    Finally found a site that had yesterdays weather on it.

    Wind was 23 mph with gusts up to 36 mph.
     
  9. pwright

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    That's just a breeze. ;)

    We have real wind here.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. colchester daz

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    Pwright, love the pic. lol

    Both myself and Gary have flown in windy conditions before, i just think he was so high and so far away it was the battery dieing that didn't help, although i don't think he will be flying in any type of windy conditions for a while.

    Best call he made, was giving me the controller so he was free to run after it, being almost underneath it when it crashed meant we didn't have to spend days looking for it, in fact i don't think we would have found it.

    After all this though i will be putting a sticker on the side of mine, stating a cash reward if found, and my phone number. (you just never know)
     
  11. pwright

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    I just don't fly if there are significant winds at ground level. As Gary found out, wind speeds can be significantly higher just a little ways up and I'm not interested in putting the Phantom or my GoPro at risk. Not to mention that generally the video is crap when shooting in the wind.

    The importance of that can not be overstated. Having a spotter with you can be a big help. I always have someone with me and usually with binoculars.

    A good plan for everyone to follow.
     
  12. growe19

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    I ordered a pair of binoculars today lol.
    Not anything amazing probably a they were cheap but anything is better than my eyesight.
     
  13. colchester daz

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    Have i got to stand there with binoculars now every time you fly???...
     
  14. denodan

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    You really have to watch flying with wind, causes more lift and updrafts, the higher you go, which can cause a flyaway. So wonder how many flyaways are due to flying when it's breezy?


    Yours maybe an example of what happens if your flying when it's too breezy.
     
  15. Gizmo3000

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    glad there was a happy ending

    always wondered what happened when RTH didn't have enough juice to make it home.
    would you say it dropped at around the same altitude that it took off from?
     
  16. growe19

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    No it was defo higher. Battery was checked on recovery and was 4.2v so we think it was low voltage causing motors to spin slower which caused the drop.
     
  17. Alex

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    Question, the wind is always higher aloft. When you realized it was being pulled, why not cut the throttle and allow the Phantom to drop out of the sky?

    It seems from the video that the Phantom continued to climb.

    I've had mine up around 500' before and encountered wind that the Phantom wasn't able to compete with. The fix is to drop it down below the wind if possible.
     
  18. growe19

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    Alex, that is a very good question. In this case I'll put it down to inexperience.

    It initially wasn't that the wind had caught it that caused the issue. It was that I lost sight of it and even when I did regain visual of it I couldn't tell which direction it was facing.

    This is when I flipped the RTH switch and encountered more trouble because of the process.

    I flipped the switch so the Phantom went flat to hold its position for x seconds... causing it to drift further away. Then after it did that it then climbs 20 feet or meters... into stronger winds. Holds position again.... Then by the time the RTH process had started to head towards the direction the launch site was it was to high and had drifted to far.

    I now know better than to ignore clear signs of what could be trouble.
     
  19. Gizmo3000

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    I've experienced a somewhat similar situation (tho not at altitude).

    with 20/20 hindsight, it's easy to realize what one could have done . (lowered altitude, carefully put into GPS/HL and pulled back on the stick)
    but out in the field it's another story, when you lose orientation and it appears that your Phantom seems to be flying away from your no matter what you do,. the instinct is to push the panic button and hope the craft returns home!

    now if it's windy, I'll only do low-flying practice flying