Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Devastating Crash in Grand Cayman

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Havok92, May 12, 2016.

  1. Havok92

    Joined:
    May 4, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi everyone,

    I am new to the forum but have been reading threads as a guest for the past couple of months. I got tired of waiting for the Plexidrone that I bought on an Indiegogo campaign in October 2014 and pulled the trigger on a Phantom 3 Advanced on April 9. I travel regularly for pleasure and was getting tired of not getting aerial shots on my past couple of trips (Tahiti, Bora Bora, Maui, Honolulu and Kauai).

    First thing that I did upon receiving the drone is update the firmware on the drone, controller and battery as well as run the latest version of the DJI Go on my Iphone 6 Plus. Did a couple of test flights without any problems and then took the Phantom 3 with me on my vacation to Grand Cayman.

    The first six flights there went smoothly. I was a bit paranoid about flying over water, so my cousin was constantly scanning the skies and watching the drone with a binocular. I always made sure to fly the drone within sight.

    Unfortunately, on the 7th flight, a routine one with a short flight down the beach from my hotel, the drone just started spinning out a control and crashed straight into the ocean to my dismay. At the time the drone was just hovering around 10 metres height and I started taking it slowly higher. The sky was clear at the time I was flying, so still trying to understand how the drone could have gone down.

    Unfortunately, the Cayman Islands have some of the deepest waters in the world and while the crash site of the drone was not too far from the beach, it was still over 30 feet deep there, hence making recovery impossible.

    I am hoping that someone on the board can look at my log and offer me some suggestions as to the reason for the crash before I contact DJI. Only problem is I no longer have the drone to send back to DJI for analysis as it is still somewhere in the ocean.

    Thanks in advance for all your help.

    HealthyDrones.com - Innovative flight data analysis that matters

    Dropbox - 2016_04_25_16_49_55.mp4

    Dropbox - Phantom Crash


    John
     
    #1 Havok92, May 12, 2016
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  2. Trackman1

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    211
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Compass indicates spinning you mentioned. I would quess a prop came off.
     
  3. CCDD

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2015
    Messages:
    650
    Likes Received:
    384
    Location:
    US
    You don't need your Phantom in order to file a warranty claim. I successfully received a replacement after mine fell in the water. They never asked to see it, only the flight log and a completed claim form. I'm no expert when it comes to deciphering a Healthy Drones log however, I can see this possibly going in the direction of a lost propeller.
     
  4. jonebk12

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    96
    Yeah looks like you may have lost the front right prop unfortunately.
     
  5. dwcola

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    31
    I would agree it looks like a prop fly off. I keep my braking set down to 90% and attitude u put at 90% to prevent hard stops and less input due to the high speculation of this issue. When screwing the props in, I always tighten snugly to secure in place as best as possible.

    I would send in flight log to DJI as mentioned above. The compass error may give the necessary support for replacement.
     
  6. Havok92

    Joined:
    May 4, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    3
    It is strange that the propeller might have flown off. I was very careful tightening them and aren't these propellers supposed to be self tightening anyway. I can see a propeller flying off right after take off but 3 mins in ....

    If you look at the video, I was ascending at a constant speed of 0.5-0.7 m/s when the drone started spinning out of control. So it is unlikely to be caused by braking. But then again I could be wrong as I don't have that much experience flying drones as some of the members here.

    Hopefully, this will be covered under warranty. Between waiting forever for the Plexidrone to be released and the Phantom 3 going down, I am already on the hook for close to $3k. Not sure I want to invest another $1k to pick up another Phantom 3 or 4.
     
  7. ryantrax

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    179
    Location:
    Xenia, Ohio
    +1 on the prop loss. So sorry for your loss, I hope you get a new one from the claim.
     
  8. CCDD

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2015
    Messages:
    650
    Likes Received:
    384
    Location:
    US
    You can always buy an Inspire 1 Pro like I did and get a pit in your stomach every time you fly praying the extra $$$ spent will somehow ensure a safe take off and return. :)
     
  9. ryantrax

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    179
    Location:
    Xenia, Ohio
    Could have been a faulty ESC or motor too. that would have the same effect.
     
  10. FrequentFlyer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2016
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Riverside,Ca
    My first thought was if you took-off or landed on sand, dirt or debris. It is possible for grain of sand or dirt to jam the motor. But you probably would have seen a motor obstruction error in the log. ??


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  11. Havok92

    Joined:
    May 4, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    3
    Actually, I didn't take off or land in sand. I had a large bucket that I was taking off from and my cousin was hand catching the drone on landings.

    Going to give DJI a call and file a warranty claim tomorrow. Just wanted some feedback before calling them.
     
  12. Zeprider

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2016
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Hollywood, Florida
    Sorry about your loss sir. About self-tightening props.... marketing ploy. Never trust that "feature".

    Off the beach... 30ft of water... Cayman Islands... diving o_O
     
  13. Reed L

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    Alta, Ca.
    Can you swim? At that depth with that clear water, retrieval would be really easy. You should have just taken a air raft or even floated a noodle out there with a mask, snorkel, & some fishing line and a large treble hook and grabbed it. I've pulled a trolling motor off of the bottom from deeper then that with a large 3" treble hook... It's the Cayman's - where are your scuba tanks? I would have simply dove down with a tank and grabbed it even if it took me all day to spot it. This post just seems weird to me, how could you not just go and get it or ask one of the divers at the hotel to grab it for you? It shouldn't have taken more then 30 minutes tops from the time it went down, this should have been way to easy...
     
  14. Havok92

    Joined:
    May 4, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    3
    Nothing weird about the post. I was there on vacation with my wife and 6 year old daughter and I definitely couldn't justify spending a day scouring the ocean to find a down drone that most likely could not be salvaged.

    Looking back I guess I could have made more effort to try to receive it. Unfortunately it was around 5 pm and water activities at the Westin Grand Cayman was done for the day. Originally was thinking of renting a waverunner or kayak and going to check out the area. Having snorkeled extensively in Grand Cayman, I am well aware of the clear water, but without a diving tank (unavailable at the time), there is no way I could have dived to that depth with just a snorkel. Never thought of using a treble hook to grab it though. With ocean current, recovery would have been difficult as I doubt it would have been in the same vicinity an hour later.

    Had it been earlier in the day, I would definitely have asked one of the dive instructor to help me fetch it. Also, knowing the impact of salt water on electronics, I doubt that any part of the drone could have been salvaged (might be wrong on that).
     
    WetDog and Reed L like this.
  15. MikeyOnline

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2016
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    116
    It's all in the conditions and how much risk or effort you want to take for a $500 drone. Sure, I can free dive 30 feet. But would I do it, given the conditions, and do I know exactly where it is?

    Mike
     
  16. Reed L

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    Alta, Ca.
    Yea, if you would have been alone, you would have got it for sure :) With the wife and kids? I would have done the same thing, I have 4 grand kids now so kids were not anywhere near my mindset when I posted above :) They do make a huge difference and after 8 years of freedom since the last kid left, I'm glad that I stopped at 2 :) lol
     
  17. syotr

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    134
    If it was indeed a prop loss, it may be that there was a failure of an ESC or motor wire disconnected from a bad solder joint. Either of these failures will cause the motor to lock up instantly and the prop will spin off from inertia, even if it was pretty tight.
     
  18. Havok92

    Joined:
    May 4, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    3
    I have to say that DJI Customer Service was excellent in this case. After filling out the appropriate paperwork and sending the flight data to DJI Support, I am happy to report that DJI is sending me another Phantom 3 Advanced free of charge.

    "After having our data analysis team take a look at the flight log from the flight in question, we were unable to determine the cause of this unfortunate event.
    There does not seem to be any user error, but without the craft, to analyze the flight records there is no way to be 100% sure.
    With that being said we have decided to cover your unit by warranty, and offer the craft only at no cost to you
    We are in the process of finalizing a new alternative for our customers in who find themselves in situations similar to yours.
    We will be sending you a coupon code to make your purchase directly from our online store at Official DJI Online Store | DJI Store.
    This coupon can only be used for the same model of aircraft that was lost, and must be redeemed within 30 days.
    If you have any further questions concerning this new process, please feel free to reply to this message, and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.
    As soon as your code is ready, we will be getting it out to you. Again, Thank You for your patience
    Thank you for choosing to fly with DJI
    "The Future Of Possible"
     
    Reed L likes this.
  19. Reed L

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    Alta, Ca.
    Great News :)
     
  20. WetDog

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,491
    Likes Received:
    640
    Interesting and probably a smart move on DJI's part. If they didn't replace it, they would have another really pissed off customer. Now, after spending a couple hundred dollars (their cost) they have a happy customer who will hopefully buy a P4, P5, P6 and an Inspire.

    And get some good publicity.

    I've wondered how DJI is going to handle the infusion of new folks to the hobby. It seems like people who come from an RC background expect to lose a craft now an again. That is probably not the mindset of most normal people and DJI is trying to sell these as foolproof machines for the Rest of Us.

    We'll see how this develops.