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New P2, 3rd flight, TOTAL LOSS!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by lgeist, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. lgeist

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    I'm still shaking as I write this, but my worst nightmare just happened:

    A two week old P2 with Zenmuse and Hero3+ Black, third flight in Phantom (GPS) mode, with 6 minutes flying time on fully charged battery. 200 miles from home in a State Park, in the middle of nowhere. Did my compass Calibration on site, all current firmware and sofware.

    Made a slow speed pass and noticed 2 solid greens on the P2 battery and third green flashing. Within the next 10 seconds, I proceeded directly ahead over the only body of water within 20 miles and once it was about 30 yards over the water it slowly descended into the lake with full throttle up. Since I was only about 25 feet above the water the entire sequence only took about 4 - 5 seconds, not enough time to do anything but watch. No boats anywhere around and a local says the lake is about 30' deep where it splashed down.

    Am now re-evaluating whether or not I have the stomach to purchase another and continue on. I'm not sure if my heart/nerves can handle another loss.

    I'll see how I feel tomorrow, but I may have the remaining gear for sale soon. Going to cry in my beer now.....

    :-(
     
  2. BigPig

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    Holy crap! Sorry for your loss man. I think I'd die.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  3. wincrasher

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    Sorry for your loss, man. But with everything RC, you have a risk of total loss with each flight.

    Somebody should make a practical set of floats for the Phantom. I'd buy a set, as I often fly out over the lake near my house.
     
  4. Davek

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    Crappy!

    I keep thinking these things are loosing communication somehow with the radio and yours went it to fail safe which may have been set to land instead of return to home.

    Really sorry for you. I had my problems a few days ago but only lost the gimbal and a gopro3. I'd probably get some scuba gear and go in for it. I know someone that dropped their iphone in a saltwater bay 30' down at a marina slip. He took 3 hours to get scuba gear and retrieve it. After an alcohol bath, it worked. So parts of it may be salvaged in fresh water.
     
  5. Shrimpfarmer

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    That is horrible and I feel your loss. It can be a cruel hobby and for all of us every flight can be our last. These things cost a lot of money, especially when you have all those expensive extras hanging on it. Whatever you end up doing its the right decision.
     
  6. shortyuk

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    really sorry to hear that mate, its my worst nightmare too, as i love flying over water etc, i know its probably unworkable, but its a shame as a group we couldnt pay a couple of £$ into a fund to help members out a bit when this hapopens, i personally wouldnt mind paying a couple of quid to see someone in this position get a new phantom, dont let it put you off mate, just take some time out
     
  7. lgeist

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    I don't think it went into fail-safe mode. I had alreay done a 180 over the water and was returning back towards shoreline at about one-third of total available forward speed when it started the descent. I immediately throttled up while still maintaining forward speed but just coudn't make it back to the shoreline. It seems to me like the battery voltage just quickly dropped. Again, I had just checked the battery less than a minute before this happened. Just prior to proceeding over water it was hovering rock-steady.
     
  8. shortyuk

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    i know its a bit late for you now bud, but the 1st and 2nd warning lights on the phantom just are not acurate enough, many times if i fly it hard it just goes straight to 2nd warning and decends. If you get another one invest in fpv with mini iosd, you get real time battery info that is much more acurate.
     
  9. syotr

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    Sorry to read about your loss. It would definitely be worth it to have a diver try and retrieve it.
    I have had some close calls lately with the quad descending quickly and I always use floats on the Phantom when over water. I am now building a waterproof quad that floats so I can have some confidence of recovery. I usually have my kayak with me if needed to paddle out and get it.
     
  10. Ksc

    Ksc

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    it depends on the water. salt water, you can kiss it good bye. He was 200 miles from home and I assume wrote this when he got home. If it was pulled out a few minutes after it went down, that is one thing but sitting for a few hours/days. Its not a relic of a bad experience. It happens. You can rebuild or give up. You might be able to buy just the phantom/zenmuse without charger/tx and save a little money.
     
  11. PetePerrim

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    Having also experienced 2 severely damaging crashes with my old QRX350 Walkera due to unexplained reasons, I really feel for you. I'm waiting for my New P2 to arrive any time but I won't be flying it out over water until I am 110% confident that I have made sure that any quirks , faults or firmware issues are at least identified. I'm not saying that you shouldn't fly your P2 out over water but perhaps after just your 3rd flight may have been a bit adventurous. Sounds like a battery issue to me.

    If only one good thing comes out of your loss then that would have to be that all over the world, newbie P2 and P2V pilots who read your story will now double and triple check their batteries, especially if they risk losing their favourite toy in the drink.
     
  12. lgeist

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    Yep, sadly my iOSD Mini is home in the box along with the Immersion TX. My new Fatshark Predator goggles are due to be delivered tomorrow. Perhaps the OSD would have showed something different than the lights regarding battery state.

    As for the diver, I was a long ways from home on a business trip and within hours of needing to return home.

    I'm already over it. My friend just put things in perspective by reminding me that even though neither of us are wealthy and he earns two-thirds my salary, he says he has left casinos many times down more than what I splashed in the lake.

    Thanks friend, I feel a lot better now. :)
     
  13. birddogg

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    I'm from a R/C airplane background, total losses are just part of it. It's no wonder anyone with time and money invested into R/C aircraft find the time to double and triple check before each flight no matter how rich you are. Try losing an airplane you have hundreds of hours into building, on the maiden flight do to engine failure.You learn and move on, now we test our engines and fuel systems as best we can on the ground. Also I plan all maiden flights now with the assumption something will go wrong, if that means we need to drive a few hours to a better field then thats what we do.

    Dont let it stop you though, if you have the ability to fly these things dont let a malfunction be the thing that makes you go away.
     
  14. CouesWhitetail

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    That is so painful! I am always worried something like that will happen with my P2. What a tragedy. An iOSD display might have shown a more accurate battery level, but if it was a battery failure of some kind, it would not have changed the outcome. I really wish the gimbal would allow the go pro to be in its waterproof case, so that at least if it went down underwater you could save the camera.
     
  15. PhantomPerk

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    That is sad. I feel for you. I am going out for my fourth flight today with my FC40 and I would be crushed if it went down.

    Has anyone tried cutting down one of those pool floaty noodle things and then maybe attaching them between the legs with zip ties that can be removed when you are not flying over water and easily added back on if you are going to be going over water?
     
  16. Peter Patricelli

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    Wow, I am so sorry for you.

    Between the Phantom, the Gimbal, the GoPro, and the fact that this is freshwater, it is DEFINITELY worth going to some trouble to retrieve....if it is at all possible. There are valuable, savageable parts and pieces of all three components.

    What I am going to say next is not meant to be blaming or necessarily critical of you, while you're already bruised and hurting, and is meant more for the continuous daily influx of newbies on this site. What is different about the Phantom is that it is so appealing and ready-to-fly right out of the box that people with no or very little history or experience in the electronic R/C worldcan plunk down some (well, a LOT of) money and THINK they have something as solid and reliable as their new flat screen TV, their computer, their smart phone. Until very recently, and the Phantom specifically, the R/C copter world was almost exclusively Build It Yourself from kits and components, and moistly appealed to people moving from fixed-wing airplanes. Everybody with that background knew and KNOWS just how touchy and marginally dependable the hardware really is. NONE of this stuff is made with the quality control that would be demanded by Sony, Apple, Samsung, any of the major electronic importers. This is, so far, a small, niche market supplied by small, cottage industry, UN-supervised and UN-controlled manufacturing sites in China. The Chinese themselves AVOID buying this level of Chinese manufacturing in favor of spending more money (in China...since all products made for export are charged the export tariff even if they never leave the country) for higher level export-level items SINCE the big companies DEMAND better quality control and track this sort of thing carefully.

    The statement made above that in the R/C world "you have to be prepared to lose everything on every single flight" is painfully very true. But for newbies seduced by the appeal, the out-of-the-box fly-ability, and whose dominant experience is with VERY RELIABLE big name imported electronics, many think these things are electronically as rock solid as their TV's and Iphones, and arejust as simple, intuitive, and built-in failsafe, meaning that reading manuals and tweaking and understanding complex issues isn't really necessary....the painful realities of this world all to often become apparent.

    And here is my point, based on the above. My recommendation to EVERYONE is to proceed slowly up the learning slope with regard to risky flying. The issues are not just the newbies flying experience and ability....or lack thereof.....but the really UNTESTED electronic competence of about 100 (? or more) chips, components, solders, batteries, etc..

    If, for the THIRD flight of a brand new bird, you had stayed over land.......you would NOT be out over $1000. That is the lesson for newbies. Stay OUT of risky environments until you have a large enough number of controlled and uneventful flights with each battery, new component/add-on, anything that changes/alters the bird. If one has 50 controlled, uneventful flights with a particular set-up (including THAT particular battery)....what are the chances that on the 51st flight something goes wrong and the bird suddenly comes down? Well, the risk is ALWAYS there, but the answer is....a LOT less than on the THIRD flight!

    Luck plays a role in all this, but we can control a LOT of our exposure to the UN-controlled variable of luck. For myself, I have had some luck. I have had my bird for 5 months now, over 100 flights. I have had sudden power failure (from a loose-ish battery connector) that caused the bird to die, suddenly, 75 feet up. "Luckily" it happened over a solid grass field, no water within miles. But then, it also happened at a time when I felt NOWWHERE comfortable enough with the predictable reliability of the bird/transmitter/batteries/etc. that I was going to go out over an unforgiving environment.....and that was after about 30 flights, enough that the battery connector was getting looser. Later on I added a very temporary landing gear extension (steel coat hanger wire) attached next to the compass and WAS going to fly over water.....but LUCKILY the bird crashed before I ever got that far.....which drives home the point.

    Yes, I now, carefully, put my bird out over water, deep canyons, rivers, etc.......sweating absolute nickels every second until it is back over land. But that is only with a set-up I know and have lots of experience with. New battery......don't trust it until I have a good history with it. Add a gimbal....attach a video TX.....do some soldering.....crack open the hood whereby I might loosen connectors to the Rx or NAZA.....don't trust it. New flying site.....DON"T TRUST IT!. Recent crash......don't trust it for awhile. Make some firmware alterations through the Assistant.....don't trust it. Basically, each and every new addition or alteration has to prove itself.....by repeated, controlled, no surpises flights....before I am going out over a non-forgiving environment.

    I feel so sorry for you. I am saying this only so that other newbies in their earliest stages of flying (and in reality FLIGHT-TESTING) their new bird think about the conclusions I draw from your loss. These birds are NOT iphones in their electronic reliability. Failsafe and Return To Home (RTH) sequences probably, IMO, seduce people into thinking there is more safety backup built in than there REALLY is. How much more cautiously would people fly if there WERE no FS, RTH? I wouldn't be surprised if as many birds are lost because people make assumptions and take risks based upon a false sense of security in FS/RTH as those sequences really save. Don't get me wrong, I am glad they are there. But in 100+ flights....including flights over canyons, lakes, and rivers.....I have YET to experience or need them.

    For me, that is a $1000 bill flying out there and I WANT IT BACK! Cautiously testing and proving the systems with boring repitition over safe environments seems a small price to pay. There IS no ultimate, absolute safety, but this seems to me the only way to reduce the risks to the lowest denominator of luck.....and still sweat nickels.
     
  17. shortyuk

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    that is really good advice, however i feel dji have been the main culpitt here in the way these machines have been marketed, you know the scene were a group of of kids are playing at the lake and a total novice girl films one of the boys on a rope swing with the phantom etc, that bullshit, not only would it be very advanced flying , its dangerous, and the lake is in a heavy forested area, in gps mode it could drift off suddenly if it looses to many satelites. Truth is as easy as they are to fly, if you have an rc background, you are always going to have an advantage !
     
  18. vrso2

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  19. Skimmer

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    Sorry for your loss. Great lesson for all of us. I will be probably telling the same story soon. There are those that have and those who will.

    It's part of the hobby/business expense. Your casino scenario puts it into perspective. With respect to cost, none of us would like to lose/break a new gadget in any hobby but the extra cost of replacement is minimal ( unless you're on your third flight) over the long run with these. If you golf, fish, mountain bike, etc., you have recurring costs and fees not to mention hospital visits if you bike. Except for continual upgrades and damage, this hobby has fairly fixed costs. It is definitely not for the faint of heart if your wallet is thin.

    Yeah, it would have been great to get it back and the parts from recoveries will be salvageable, but I'm entering this hobby knowing, I will have losses. Floatation is something I plan to incorporate for our use since almost all of it is over water. :geek:
     
  20. lgeist

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    Thank you Peter for the excellent advice. I just wish it had come sooner and perhaps my outcome would have been different.

    While I'm not a newbie to R/C flying and high-tech gadgets, I am new to the Phantom. I spent the entire month of December reading everything I could find on every forum, wiki, Google, etc and practically memorized the Owner's Manual to make sure I fully understood the system before placing my order. Being a full-time commercial pilot with over 17,000 hours, I understand risk management very well, but today I was a bit overconfident. After logging roughly 28 minutes cumulative time on previous flights I assumed that if there were any glitches they would have manifested themselves by then. I further assumed that just one brief pass over water just to get a quick shot of the "sea fog" radiating off of the calm-as-glass water would present minimal risk. Oh well, I'll chalk it up to experience!

    I sincerely hope other newbies and future Phantom owners will read this and learn and also heed Peter's advice. Tomorrow I'll go forth with a new attitude and a new-gained respect for the technology and move on.

    And yes, ordering a replacement tommorow.... nervously. ;-)