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Crashed Phantom 3 Pro Into a Bridge, Into Water, Recovered and Back to Flying!

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by WithoutATrace, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. WithoutATrace

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    Hello Fellow Forum Members:

    I signed up here just to share my story. I've logged about 100 hours of flight on my Phantom 3 Professional already, even created a Youtube Channel for it! Not for shameless self promotion, but I'd love some more subscribers!

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiYMNvaWQj7cIpOY_HIIraA

    Anyway, earlier this week I was with a friend of mine who was interested into getting into aerial video. So we were on a pedestrian bridge trying to get a shot out over the river. I remembered the manual, "DO NOT calibrate near bridges or cars." Ok. This bridge is solid metal and concrete and the path is about 10ft wide. The first two times, I get the "strong electromagnetic interference" warning. So I get to as close to the middle of the bridge as I can, successful! Everything is green, I do the preflight checks and show him the auto takeoff.

    What happens next? The think takes off normally and suddenly cuts into a yaw, we both hit the deck to keep this **** thing from taking our heads off, it comes back around and continues to yaw, plows right into a bridge support and into the water. I stood there for a few moments not believing my eyes, having just told him how much this toy cost.

    Well as a rescue diver for the county, what did I do? Apparently I was trying to focus but I yelled at him "HOLD MY ****!" and handed him all the items from my pockets, took off my snazzy Dansko dress shoes, and dove into the river. In total it was submerged about 4 minutes or so before I managed to find it. I don't carry swiftwater gear, and towards the end of the season it was moving pretty fast. When I picked it up out of the water, I heard the signature "DJI beep" but the battery was flashing red, so I pulled the battery out of the unit and powered it off.

    I hucked it into the back of my pickup bed thinking it was just a fancy paperweight now. When I got home I took an air compressor and blew out everything I could. Then took an old Pelican case, dropped it in, and filled it with rice. Now two days later, I had to take the entire unit apart and shake the loose rice out, and to my surprise, both the battery pack and the unit powered on and passed all function and flight checks normally.

    I haven't taken it back into the air yet but lesson learned. They are serious when they say the compass is an "extremely sensitive device" and they aren't kidding when it can be disrupted by metal objects. A bad calibration that wasn't flagged as an error is the only explanation I can provide. I'm still trying to extract the video of the crash, but otherwise that is my story!

    Hopefully in my time here I'll get to read a few of yours and maybe get some comments about mine! Enjoy.
     
  2. Oso

    Oso

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    Wow, that's quite a story. I'm amazed it still powered up.

    Now that you've joined the forum, I hope you stay a while. Cheers!
     
  3. III% Streve

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    A little water wont hurt anything. Its the lack of patience that gets most people in trouble. Glad it all worked out well!
     
  4. atki

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    Looking forward to that footage.. if this situation happens again try to switch into Atti mode, Id try to ascend as far from the metal objects too and land elsewhere.
     
  5. WithoutATrace

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    Well I tried to recover it, looks like it only recorded the first 11 seconds, right when it just started to fly over our heads. Darn that volatile memory!
     
  6. Pulsar747n

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    The video is recorded in the Micro SD card. I've heard they are pretty tough!
     
  7. WithoutATrace

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    The card itself works just fine. From what I understand, the video recorded is held under the onboard volatile memory and processed prior to being saved to the card. That time can be anywhere from 10-30 seconds of delay. In this case it looks like that 10 seconds is what it took to crash into the river!
     
  8. CodeRed

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    wow, congrats on it still being functional.
     
  9. Dronebow

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    Wow.. Great story. So my question for all is this. If you want to take off from a location like that is it best to switch to ATTI mode for the take off and later when in the air and away from the electrical or magnetic interference switch to P mode? Will that work or is that a bad idea in the air?
     
  10. unclejas

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    Awesome story. Welcome to phantompilots.com. Glad you were able to recover it. I'd be sick!

    I subbed your channel too.
     
  11. CodeRed

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    Not sure, but I think you're only supposed to calibrate it on the ground
     
  12. Dronebow

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    Stories like this make me want to keep a pair of goggles in my drone bag... :-/
     
  13. landmannnn

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    So where the manual says do not calibrate near bridges you might have been better off taking that advice?
    Lucky day:p
     
  14. phuocsandiego

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    Thanks for sharing your story - it's a good one with plenty of lessons for all. I'd love to hear when you take to the air again to verify that everything is indeed fine.

    As for your lost video, I'm not sure if you're using an iOS device or an Android device but it may be a good idea to check your videocache folder for the DJI GO app (I'm assuming that's what you're using). A cached, low resolution version of your video may just be there! I had a crash that was worst than yours... completely took it out of commission but the video was in that folder! Good luck!