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Lost control while hovering, crashed and broke gimbal

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by petyrbaelish, May 27, 2014.

  1. petyrbaelish

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    Another crash report here. Holy hell I feel awful about this.

    My brother in law just got his P2V+ and we were out flying it yesterday on a calm, clear day. After our third flight the phantom was hovering about 30 feet in the air, slowly descending. It wasn't moving in any direction but down when it started rocking left to right back and forth. I let off of the stick to see if it would stabilize but it just got more violent, back and forth, and started losing altitude. As it really started to lose altitude I pressed up on the throttle to try and slow the descent but by then it was too late (and I don't know if it was responding at all). It landed on a car and the camera broke off--sheared off the camera cable.

    The whole incident happened in maybe 2-3 seconds. There was no wind, no obstructions, nothing but a smooth descent until the loss of control. There were houses nearby with wifi, but besides that "remote" possibility I can't think of a good reason why this happened besides the failure of some internal component to do its job.

    Any suggestions? It seems like the consensus is to just buy a new phantom and/or send the busted one to DJI (in California?) and wait for a few months. Anyone have a real experience with getting a successful repair?
     
  2. PVD aerial

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    I had a similar incident. I was on my second battery of the maiden flight of my new P2 h3-3d and at about 20 ft up it just dropped. The rotors stopped and it just hit the grass. Gimbal axle was bent, lcd on gopro broken, landing gear and one are bent.

    The truth is I can't trust that quad ever again. I just sent it back.

    (I can send you the footage if you want)
     
  3. tizzl10

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    sounds like vortex ring state to me. when descending, do it slowly and in a forward flight path.
     
  4. povlhp

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    Maybe a downdraft, and then vortex ring state ?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_ring_state

    Read that multiple Phantoms were lost because of this. Most during descend though. But I have seen the same hovering with my U818A as well. Full forward or full power against the wind is only way to recover. Always descend in circles or up against the wind. Never in place.

    I live in a place where no wind is rare, so I should have less risk of encounting that problem. But the US lost a copter to vortex ring state when hitting bin laden.
     
  5. Phantom_Menace66

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    I read a similar post just yesterday. A guy had his hovering over a bay somewhere taking video footage and he said it began to rock back & forth then just dropped into the water... Brand new.
    This is most likely due to VRS or Vortex Ring State. Basically, it is unstable/turbulent air created by the props themselves, they no longer provide lift & it pretty much falls through the 'hole' in the air that it has created. Real helicopters can experience the same thing.
    As stated in other replies, only way to avoid it is to not hover for too long in one place & do not descend straight down. If it begins to fall try moving forward or sideways out of the prop wash. Trying to gain height usually makes the situation worse.
     
  6. petyrbaelish

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    Thanks everyone.

    While learning about VRS certainly helps understand what might have happened, it definitely doesn't make me feel any better about it. :(

    Time to keep reading the forum and start making phone calls to see about getting the thing fixed, if that's even possible. It looks like there are plenty of other cases of the camera and gimbal getting bashed up so here's to hoping they start making spare parts available.

    If anyone has any examples or suggestions about successfully getting things repaired via DJI I'd sure appreciate reading about them. I'll be sure to post back about this at some point.
     
  7. t1mm0

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    I'm very keen to hear about parts availability; I've just trashed my camera against a building :cry:
     
  8. D_Tshudy

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    Just for the record, did you have prop guards installed?
     
  9. petyrbaelish

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    Yes, the prop guards were installed.
     
  10. D_Tshudy

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    I've taken mine off. Just from what I've read here, the chance of experiencing a prop wash and fall seems to be higher with prop guards installed.

    If anyone reads this and also decides to remove their guards, be sure to replace the short screws, not the longer ones that came with the guards.
     
  11. kjopc

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    All these reports of loss of control and catastrophic damage are making me afraid to fly my camera!

    Sure wish these expensive gadgets were more robust and user-repairable.
     
  12. D_Tshudy

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    I've got about 50 flights on mine and I'm still nervous when it's in the air. I think some level of discomfort is good. When you get cocky, this happens:
    https://vimeo.com/94710125
     
  13. skyhighdiver

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    Having traded in my vision for a vision plus (and now my second +)
    I have to say THIS IS NOT A TRAINER
    Not because it is hard to fly but because it is not forgiving of any crash!
    If you crash 99% you will lose your camera and gimbal that is a fact!
    I think everyone should start on a phantom or a vision and fly for a while then sell it and move up
    Yes you will take a couple hundred dollar hit in the sale
    BUT it beats a 800.00 gimbal and camera (if they are every readily available) or
    $600-$700 repair bill and 75.00 in shipping and 4-6 weeks without your craft
    My vision went through many bushes, a tree, my front porch, living room walls and duck. (I like to go fast)
    And through all that I spent less than 80.00 in parts and she flew like a dream when I sold her.
    Try that with a plus
    First things first get rid of the **** prop guards they are a wreck waiting to happen
    I have seen guys flying in a hover start to drop out of the sky with those **** things.
    They seem like a great idea but they will cost you.
    I have 75 flights on my vision + now and had over 40 on my vision before I sold it
    And I have never had a vortex ring crash and I descend full down all the time but I keep forward movement And if I don’t I watch for the first sign of wobble and then its hard left .
    But after removing the prop guards I have not even seen a wobble yet
    Don’t get me wrong I love my plus and the stable camera but I’m glad I started elsewhere and moved up
    Remember you don’t give a kid a Ferrari for their first car right.
    I mean it drives like every other car
    Gas, brakes, steering wheel but there is a big difference in repair costs
     
  14. radioandy

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    I too had the exact same issue, 6th flight of my phantom. Clear day, no wind, prop guards installed. Was hovering 30 feet off the ground and then BAM it started wobbling and fell straight down onto a metal walkway breaking the camera. There has to be something with the prop guards making things worse for the "Hole of air".
     
  15. evilfurryone

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    Regarding the vortex rings, can they still occur when descent is limited to 2m/s? Tbh I have done quite a few calm weather descents from 50-60 meters basically just going down (the drone stops moving forward if you totally pull down the throttle) and no wobbling yet. I was under the impression that might happen when you were descenting faster.
     
  16. Seawolf

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    In a vortex ring state a bubble essentially forms below the rotor. At certain descending rates that bubble can lose it's structure negating the lift benefit from the rotor. Forward speed is essential in a descending approach. I suspect the blade guards are concentrating the flow off the blade into a more defined bubble accentuating the effect when the thrust bubble bursts. In that situation you likely will see a sudden and vigilant change in attitude that many have now seen as unrecoverable.

    Bottom line, don't use blade guards, keep some forward speed and minimize the descent velocity. Descent rates are likely different than assent rates so one needs to make sure sufficient power is available to land to avoid VRS.
     
  17. PhilAnderson

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    While I understand what you are saying, I'm going to disagree. I think the Vision + is excellent for a first time pilot. There is enough information available before making the purchase that anyone can learn to fly it before they actually lay down their hard-earned dollars. It's really a matter of what they do with the information (videos, manuals, forums, etc.) obtained.

    I researched plenty before I purchased. I watched a ton of videos, read over the manuals and read this forum. Finally confident that even I, a first time pilot, could expect success, I placed my order. First flight lasted exactly 30 seconds. Landed in a tree about 30 feet up. A kindly passing gentleman went home, got his ladder and handed over my craft. It sat up in that tree for a good five minutes, rotors spinning, before I could figure out how to make it stop. Net result, one broken blade. I've since flown it about 35-40 flights, taken some great photos and videos. Not a scratch on it. I actually think landing in that tree was a good thing. Now I'm far more careful and have actually taken the time to learn to fly it properly.

    Yeah, I'm sure I was probably lucky, but I really think the information is available if one wants to take advantage of it. I didn't and paid the price of a propeller. Now I'm careful and enjoying flying my Phantom more that I ever hoped for. DJI has made a copter that is almost foolproof as long as you're not a fool.
     
  18. skyhighdiver

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    <snip>[/quote]

    While I understand what you are saying, I'm going to disagree.
    I researched plenty before I purchased. I watched a ton of videos, read over the manuals and read this forum. Finally confident that even I, a first time pilot, could expect success, I placed my order. First flight lasted exactly 30 seconds. Landed in a tree about 30 feet up. A kindly passing gentleman went home, got his ladder and handed over my craft. It sat up in that tree for a good five minutes, rotors spinning, before I could figure out how to make it stop. Net result, one broken blade. I've since flown it about 35-40 flights, taken some great photos and videos. Not a scratch on it. I actually think landing in that tree was a good thing. Now I'm far more careful and have actually taken the time to learn to fly it properly.


    But I bet had you broke your camera as most will you would not feel the same way
     
  19. PhilAnderson

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    While I understand what you are saying, I'm going to disagree.
    I researched plenty before I purchased. I watched a ton of videos, read over the manuals and read this forum. Finally confident that even I, a first time pilot, could expect success, I placed my order. First flight lasted exactly 30 seconds. Landed in a tree about 30 feet up. A kindly passing gentleman went home, got his ladder and handed over my craft. It sat up in that tree for a good five minutes, rotors spinning, before I could figure out how to make it stop. Net result, one broken blade. I've since flown it about 35-40 flights, taken some great photos and videos. Not a scratch on it. I actually think landing in that tree was a good thing. Now I'm far more careful and have actually taken the time to learn to fly it properly.


    But I bet had you broke your camera as most will you would not feel the same way[/quote]

    I think you missed my point. Pilot error. Not using what you have learned or not learning at all and just take out of box and launch. I'm not saying the camera/gimble couldn't be stronger, I'm not saying DJI shouldn't be standing behind their product, I'm saying we all need to take it easy, at least in the beginning. So many of these stories are about how someone was flying next to trees or their house or whatever. No too many crafts at this price-point will withstand a crash at 20-30mph. I'm just urging caution and education. The Phantom 2 Vision + is easy to fly, perfect for the first time pilot that has done his homework.
     
  20. petyrbaelish

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    Lots of interesting discussion going on. Here's a quick update.

    1. Apparently it's really easy to find new P2V+'s if you just call your local dealer. A dealer near me said they have a whole bunch of them.

    2. I talked to someone at DJI yesterday and was told that they can likely repair the damage at cost per parts plus about $60/hr for labor and testing. She said their techs are good and will fully repair the entire thing, or will give me a heads up if the estimated repair cost is above a threshold that I tell them in advanced. Seems reasonable. There's a minimum repair time of 4 weeks. I'm going to do this so we'll see how that goes.

    As for the cause of this particular kind of crash: who knows. It sure seems to fit the description of VRS. I suppose if I knew of that ahead of time I would have tried to move the thing sideways. At this point there's no way to know if that would have helped.

    I have to say that there is a lot of "it's so easy to fly" going around. And yeah, it sure is. Except when it falls out of the sky or decides to fly away to the horizon. Sometimes it's operator error, sometimes it really seems like it's not. Some situations may be recoverable for an experienced pilot, but you don't get experience with unusual problems until you experience them. It seems rare that these things go wild, but it's clear that they do.

    That makes me concerned about all the pilots and their videos flying over streets and pedestrians and kids. Yes the VRS affect is from hovering, but that's not the only reason these things go down. Hopefully reading the stories about seemingly random fly aways and loss of control will help pilots realize these things just are not 100% reliable in all cases and that they should really be aware of things and people that could be damaged by a wayward phantom.

    I saw two videos that really drove this home. One is of the guy with fancy blades that somehow cut open his arm badly enough for blood to flow out like a faucet. The other was of a DJI device (Phantom?) flying over a nude beach until a clothes-free beach goer tried to ground the drone by throwing his sandals at it. Seriously, don't fly these things above naked people. And if you're naked and there's a drone flying above you, do *not* try to make it crash until it's well clear of anything you don't want cut off.

    (Don't let this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji3Hii_LZOc happen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiSEIUnPlEE)