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  1. CThruU

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    Sorry for long post, I hope somebody finds it helpful.

    Complete rookie at this. Bought a P4 in June with absolutely no prior RC experience of any type. It worked flawlessly right out of the box. I've tested, analyzed, practiced, read articles and advice, etc. It's been a blast. I'm still figuring out things like video file formats, frame rates, filters, best settings for viewing on TV vs YouTube, iPad, etc.

    Today was my 50th flight (in 7 weeks.). I've flown in heavy tree cover, over the ocean in a stiff breeze, in downtown areas with interference, off of helicopter pads (with full authorization and emergency contact info filed with controller.). I've used P, S, and A modes. I've used Litchi and DJIGo. I've lost and regained contact, used RTH quickly when needed and so on.

    Today we took it to the river to get some footage of my son riding his SeaDoo. Took off from parking lot next to dock on river bank (red arrow on left) that is about 40 feet above water level. Stayed mostly level with bank or a little lower for about 12 mins while filming several passes. When he decided to call it a day, I did a couple of passes over the marina for quick videos.

    At the 14 min mark, I approached the bridge in the photo with plan to get a video pan from right to left before landing and stopping for the day. About 30 feet or so away from bridge, right above the road level. I positioned it facing the bridge and then moved laterally to the right to get ready for side pan back across river video.

    Perfectly in sight the whole time at 50' vertical and 500-800' distance. I let go of the stick, glanced down to hit record, and instant disconnect. Looked right back up, nowhere to be found. I answered the RTH prompt "yes" and waited 20s. I hit the RTH button and waited some more. I yelled down to dock for my son to help locate. Nothing in sight. No sound.

    Uh oh.

    He jumped back on PWC and I jumped in car. We converged on the other bank. Took <2 mins of searching. There it lay, behind the tree line on the grass with one prop off, one prop broken and the battery nowhere in sight. Case cracked and misaligned.

    At least it didn't fall into the river. Analysis of my flight record indicates that I visually misjudged the drone position and flew sideways directly into the clump of trees. Last point of contact was several feet inside the bank, not over the water. I guess the battery dislodged immediately, or I would've maintained contact during the crash. I wasn't recording when it went down.

    I got lucky it didn't sink 10 feet into the river.


    Some thoughts for other new pilots:

    Remember that you don't have OA when flying laterally. The warning in the manual wasn't enough for me apparently.

    Pre-flight checks: should be thorough and patient. I had an elderly bystander come up and ask me a ton of questions while I was preparing today and as I flew. It was very distracting, and I suspect I didn't fully secure the battery.

    Bystanders: what to say? I want to be polite to those who are curious, but I've been pestered a lot the last several flights. It's tough to focus on flying, filming, tracking the drone both visually and on the iPad, all the while answering a ton of questions and responding to requests to look at your iPad, etc. I got permission to use a medical helicopter pad earlier this week, and I was trying to be very conscientious and aware of things. A constant parade of people asking questions during my entire 40 mins of flying. It was unnerving at times.

    iPad visibility: I'm using an Air2 on full bright on an overcast day, and I still have trouble seeing the thing. I'm in my mid 50s in bifocals. Add sunglasses instead, and it's impossible. I'll be investing in a hood next.

    Vision: It's very easy at my age to lose the drone in the background visual noise. I have often had a second spotter, but he was my video subject today. It was only 50' above my position and 800' away, and I still had trouble seeing it.

    Speed: It was traveling straight away from my position. Without glancing down at the app, it looked like I was slowly positioning it for my shot. Instead, I was traveling 32mph when I lost contact.

    Depth of field: it's impossible for me to judge distance from the drone to objects behind the drone after it gets more than 500' away. I thought I was more than 50' away from the trees, but instead I slammed into them at 32mph.


    Here's the setting. I'm flying from parking lot on left, and crashed on the right river bank. Those power lines are very far off in the distance and not a factor.

    image.jpeg
     
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  2. CThruU

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    image.jpeg

    Here's my damage. I cleaned it up and adjusted the shell with a screwdriver. It seems to fly fine, but I only hovered at 8 feet in my driveway for about 40s.

    Do I need to send this in for repairs? Motors spin freely, and everything looks aligned.

    Thoughts?

    image.jpeg

    After I snapped one side of shell back in, I'm left with this.


    image.jpeg
     
  3. CThruU

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    And just to keep replying to myself ;), here's a screen cap of the flightpath.

    image.png
     
  4. suck it up

    Joined:
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    Yep, send it in for repairs, It will be back to you in less than 2 weeks and you can start all over again.

    Sorry to here about your crash.....
     
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  5. CThruU

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    If it's that quick, it will be a no-brainer. I thought, based on complaints I've read here, that turnaround time was a big problem.

    Thanks.
     
    cfd701 likes this.
  6. suck it up

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    No actually they have really gotten their **** together and have really good Customer Service. It might even be quicker than that. Get a RMA and send it in. Do you have the original box and packaging from it?
     
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  7. Reed L

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    Because the arm is bent, top and bottom, I would replace the shell.
     
  8. CThruU

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    Yes. I have everything on the shelf. I'll take your advice and try to get it out first thing Monday morning. I was picturing 4 weeks or more of waiting, and I have some cool plans at the end of August that I'd like to have it around for.
     
  9. CThruU

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    I just watched a couple of tear down videos on YouTube. I don't have the time or patience to even try it at home, so I guess off it goes on Monday.

    Thanks.
     
  10. suck it up

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    Make sure you contact them before you just send it in. You have to get a RMA number and fill out some forms before you just send it in.
     
  11. RémyHeli

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    CTrhuU, have you ever considered using HDMI googles and wear them when approaching spots? Of course practice needed in advance to get aligned with reality.

    With my P4 I use Fatshark Dominator V3 and experience is awesome.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  12. David Cooke

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    Very well documented incident CThruU . . ok it was a full blown accident . . but I commend you on your thoroughness in explaining how this happened. I'm glad to see these types of postings (there should be more) . . that will help lots of folks, including me, understand the "outer edges of the envelop" . . depth perception under VLOS is tricky as I have found too. Working only a couple hundred feet away it may look like you are clear of the tops only to find that a lateral move can put you in danger. FPV in VLOS is seductive that way. You think you can move just a little to the left safely since there is clear sky behind what you see but a quick left rudder and actually looking has surprised me how close I have come to clipping branches. . . especially thin leafless dead stand. . .I should have taken a photo that time but I instinctively "pulled pitch" so fast I was 30 ft above it before I let go. Anyone else, have this experience? Let's hear more incident reporting and help lower the ACCIDENT REPORTING.

    Thanks for sharing CThruU
     
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  13. jwt873

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    Yes, depth perception does get tricky once you are over 100 feet away. I've hit my share of trees and power lines because I thought I was going to pass in front of, or behind them.

    Fortunately I did all my learning and crashing a few years back using much cheaper to repair multirotors. :)
     
  14. CThruU

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    I have read some of the info on here and hit up a couple of YouTube examples. A lot of time I have either my wife or son with me, and they're constantly checking out the screen, too.

    I'm thinking iPad Pro and a hood. And more frontal approaches. :cool:
     
  15. ussvertigo

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    Well said, wish I was that intuitive when I started, took me many crashes with P2's and destroying half a dozen Hubsan X4's. My motto is "if you fly a drone, your gonna crash eventually". And I have definite problems with depth perception-check this short video, bad news was I climbed before clearing trees, good news the P4 chewed the tree up and spit it out, no damage, but the sound was incredible-super weed eater.
     
  16. CThruU

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    OK, so far this is not going well.

    I've had to create an online account. Understandable. Check.

    I've responded to their request for info and included all necessary info including phone number. Check.

    I've been asked again for my phone number, urging me to respond "promptly" to this request. OK. Check. Again.

    I've asked 3 times for shipping address for repair center, made it clear the drone crash was pilot error, and asked what items I need to include in the return. Specifically did so in the email telling me to respond if I have any questions.

    I keep getting poorly written responses from them requesting same info from me without giving me any responses to my questions.

    I will update this thread as things progress.
     
  17. Jussaguy

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    Ya fly enough, something is going to happen and you learn and move on.

    Certainly I wouldn't call you a novice.

    Seem to know your stuff and made a intermiedIate mistake.

    As for people talking to you while you need to pay attention "I'm so sorry, don't mean to be rude but I have to pay attention right now to my expensive aircraft so I don't hurt it or others, speak to you in a minute. No offense".

    Sorry about your crash.
     
    WilsonFlyer likes this.
  18. Jussaguy

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    My closest real crash was on Mulholland and I thought I was at least 30 feet clear of about 5 electrical wires and somehow I luckily just flew right through them.

    If I would have just tapped any one of them, it would have been very very bad. Like a 100 foot drop.

    Also at my brother in laws house, I was inspecting his solar panels and I tapped the landing gear right on them completely by accident flying in ATTI mode.

    My only crash that comes to mind was a real fast low flying and I thought I would be cute and follow my friend through a door at a hotel (was with a p3p) and I clipped the edge of the door and then it went on its side and start flipping out until I killed power and amazingly nothing was broken, not even a prop.

    I thought by all the noises and flailing it would be horrible. Was ready for everything and was quite pleased.
     
  19. WilsonFlyer

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    Welcome to the club. I've been flying RC for 25+ years and I still crash'em. First lesson of RC air flying. There are two kinds. Those that have crashed and those that re going to crash. Part of the game we play, and it can get much more expensive than Phantoms. Trust me. ;)

    The important thing is that you learned from the experience. Get'er back in the air and move on, and yeah, absolutely repair it. They are enough to deal with when they are as close to perfect as they can be. You don't need extra complexities. Not in this hobby. The best flyers, I have learned over the years, are the ones that learn to lessen the number of mistakes on the ground. ;)

    Happy flying.
     
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  20. vdubbin

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    Having people come up to me when I'm flying is one of the things i hate the most... It makes me nervous and not pay as good attention as to what I'm doing while being questioned. I try to hide out a lot of times so I'm not being bugged.
    Bummer you had a crash
     
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