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Crashed, but is it my fault?

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by MiShMo, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. MiShMo

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    So here is the story. I was flying my P3P in my neighborhood. The location I picked was away from people in an open field. The sun was setting and I thought I would get a photo of the sunset with my town's water tower in the foreground. So I ascended to approximately 50 meters and positioned my drone about 50 feet from the tower itself. At this moment in time I had 12 Satellite signals. Instantly it dropped to 0 and I lost signal...

    No big deal I thought. Signal will come back, right. Wrong. Signal did not come back even after attempting to reposition myself in relation to the drone, which was 150 meters away from me. Then I got a weak signal that said it was initiating a fly-home because it lost signal for more than 10 seconds. before I could stop it, it lost signal again. Then I got a signal just in time to see it spiral out of control and then the image went black.

    So I tracked down the unit, which was in piece. In it's attempt to fly-home, it struck the water tower, inverted and then sped to the ground at fly-home speeds. I brought the unit home, contacted support and copied the logs. In reviewing the logs I noticed something. The fly-home was initiated at 50 meters, however my fly-home altitude was set at 30. The impact occurred at 50 meters, not 30. So the unit failed to descend prior to flying home. Given the dimensions of the tower, had the unit descended, it would not have impacted with the tower.

    In talking with support, they were incredibly helpful. I mean this guy was the nicest CSR I have ever spoken to. He made me feel a lot better about my situation. Then I received the invoice which stated, "NON -WARRANTY AS A RESULT OF THE FLIGHT LOG ANALYSIS" So I called DJI and asked about the fly-home. No kidding, I was told that none of that mattered because the unit hit an obstruction. Collisions are immediately a NON-WARRANTY issue. I reiterated the 30 vs 50 meters issue. The lady talked over me, shut me down, was incredibly rude (almost like a debt collector) and demanded I accept their terms. I didn't. SO she "escalated" it to a supervisor who is offering me a 15% discount on the $500 repair.

    So my question is, do I "suck it up buttercup" and pay the bill then invest in some 3rd party protection plan, or should the unit have descended before flying home and thereby give me some justification in not wanting to pay the full tab. And for the record, I am not against paying something, but I just feel that had it descended, a lot of this would have been avoided.
     
    Deputy Dog likes this.
  2. exit 4

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    Dispute the payment on your credit card. Hash it out with them from there. You might be surprised at how good the card companies are. Explain it to the credit card company and they might just credit you if you give them a good reason. Doesn't hurt to try.
     
  3. Air Ontario

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    I think I'm understanding you correctly......
    I have never heard of DJI software that descends to RTH. If above RTH setting it comes straight back home at that altitude. If lower than set RTH altitude it will ascend.
     
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  4. ukglyn

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    Hi, sorry to hear your problems.
    A phantom will not descend to the RTH height if it is already above that height, it will return at the altitude that it is at.
     
  5. Erroll

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    Yes, it is your fault.
     
  6. CCDD

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    After reading this a second time, it sounds like pilot error to me. As mentioned above, if flying above the programmed RTH altitude, Phantom will "not" automatically descend therefore, return at current height.
     
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  7. CaptainDrone798

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    I understand it to be this way as well.
     
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  8. Oso

    Oso

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    I agree with all but one of the prior posts. Everything you posted points to pilot error and to the Phantom performing exactly as designed.

    Even so, it's bummer that you had to learn how your Phantom works by way of a crash. I'm sorry to hear your story, but hopefully it will help others.
     
  9. Quadcopterpilot

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    Unfortunately pilot error.
    RTH altitude is meant to be above anything that might be in your way back home.
    Even if you hit something, like a bridge, ascending to that altitude I think you would be out of luck.
    Collision avoidance is what we need next.
     
  10. JickMagger

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    I'm sorry, but your fault overall. Sounds like you had the P3 on the other side of a large metal water tower that possibly had antennas on top of it, no wonder you lost signal.

    It does sound like in this particular case *possibly* returning at 30 meters would have been safer than 50 (assuming the P3 could even keep GPS under the water tower!), but the P3 doesn't descend to RTH height if it is higher. How often is returning at a lower altitude safer than a higher one? Personally I would have set RTH at 100 meters, presumably far above the water tower or any surrounding objects. Maybe you didn't originally plan on flying behind it, but still.

    Bottom line, flying on the far side of a water tower, and with insufficient RTH altitude, was operator error I'm afraid.
     
    #10 JickMagger, Feb 26, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016
    Roverggm and Sasquatch351 like this.
  11. Arcticm39

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    Set RTH above the highest structure/hill/tree in the area. That's one of the things I do as part of the pre-flight.

    Does anyone do pre-flight anymore?
     
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  12. AirSpace2016

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    I will be honest I would always RTH at double the height of an object as the higher you go up the less obstacles, more chance of better GPS signal also.
     
    Roverggm likes this.
  13. Mark The Droner

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    Pilot error 100%
    DJI error 0%

    Sorry for your loss
     
    Roverggm likes this.
  14. Flying Dutchman

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    Sry for your loss, I now the feeling. Take the 15 procent. This is 100% pilot error. The phantom 3 will not decent if its already above the RTH. It will imidiatly return.
     
  15. With The Birds

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    Do the math, pay the bill or ask for the crashed drone to be returned for parts and buy another one. It would seem from the posted sequence of events the phantom performed as per the manual.
     
    Roverggm likes this.
  16. MiShMo

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    Thank you everyone for your responses and for not blasting me. Sounds like it is totally my fault. Makes sense about the RTH altitude. I'll take the 15% and be happy with that;). First thing I am doing when I get it back is setting that RTH to infinity and changing the lost signal response to hover. :D
     
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  17. With The Birds

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    Aim for 20m above the highest obstacle, make the RTH height and faiosafe mode checks as part of your pre flight routine and have fun.....
     
  18. Deputy Dog

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    Sorry to hear about your accident and good luck fighting with DJI. I had something like this happen to my P3P but got lucky and it didn't hit anything. I was scouting a property that was for sale and dropped down to get the phone number off the For Sale sign. The P3P went behind a metal storage container and I lost signal. The next thing I see on my screen is the ship heading for home, even though the return home altitude is set at 100M. It didn't climb to 100M, it just started heading for home. On the screen I see it just miss the top of the storage container and a mobile home as the signal came back. I pushed the stick up to gain some altitude and missed the top of a small hill by about two feet. In the end, all was well but why the bird responded like it did is a big fat mystery. After losing signal, it should have climbed to 100M and then headed home. It didn't do that, it just headed home. Now, if it would have hit something, would that have be my fault? The way DJI looks at it....YES!
     
  19. eaglegoaltender

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    I could be wrong here but I think perhaps you might have an argument with DJI on this based on the operating manual instructions for the P3P............if anyone will listen to you at support!

    I understand and have read many times just what others are saying here as to the Phantom if flying above the RTH altitude setting it will not descend to the pre-set RTH altitude but will return at the altitude it is at.

    However, I would think you might have an argument with DJI since if I remember correctly, I didn't read anywhere in the P3P User Manual under RTH section the Phantom will not descend to a pre-programmed RTH altitude when it is activated, only mentions it will ascend to that pre-programmed altitude when RTH is activated.

    The only way I ever found out about it not descending with RTH was via members here who have mentioned it numerous times in other threads and posts.

    If I have missed this info in the user manual or somewhere else, and someone can correct me on this, please do so at which time I will....stand corrected. Thank you.
     
  20. With The Birds

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    Your right. It says nothing about descending. Ascent to RTH then head to home or head to home immediately if at or above RTH altitude in go. The phantom would need some oretty advanced obstacle avoidance setup to descend and fly under stuff on its way back.
     
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