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Phantom 2 Lost and Found: My Technique Explained

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Case29247, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Case29247

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    My problem occurred while flying my P2 over an open field of soy beans. The bird is equipped with an iOSD display module, Hero3 and video downlink to a Black Pearl monitor. I use the supplied DJI controller too.

    I had flown through one battery and was on my second one, which had started only partially charged at about 75% according to the lights and OSD readout. I was at about 25% battery capacity, and out 154m and 8m high according the OSD--just flying around. Then the P2 stopped responding to the controls, nor didn't appear to be returning to home. I suppose the problem might have been interference from high-tension power lines about 500' away....but who really knows.

    In any case, the P2 didn't fly away, it just slowly settled into the middle of the bean field. As it disappeared, I lost the video and OSD display. I noted the OSD distance and eye-balled the best I could where I thought it was and hopped in my vehicle. As I drove up the road, I noted when a fuzzy picture first appeared on my monitor and drove on until the picture faded out again. Then I turned around and went back down the road about half way. This was similar to the technique I learned when Heli-skiing in 1978, using avalanche radio gear that each skier wore on a lanyard around their neck inside their clothing.

    My first walk perpendicular into the bean field produced no results. But as the video started to fade again, I slowly rotated my body with the monitor until the picture dropped out. I reasoned that my body was shielding the video signal, and the P2 should be behind me when the picture dropped out. So I turned around 180° and started out anew in that direction.

    Still no results, but the video had definitely been stronger. So I did the body shield exercise again and started out in that direction. I felt I must be close because the video was so strong. But with the beans being 2-1/2 or 3 feet high and very dense, it was difficult to see more than ten or twenty feet down the rows and even less across the rows.

    Doing the body shielding exercise now didn't do any good, because the signal was so strong. So, I pointed the twin antennas downward and held them in my closed hands and rotated. My hands reduced the sensitivity of the antennas, and I was able to get a new bearing to walk.

    Then wall-ahhhhh. Maybe about 25 rows of beans at about 50 feet along this new track, there she was. Pitched over, basically upright a few inches above the ground. Success, thank you Lord.

    The only real damage is to my legs and knees. I was wearing shorts and sandals. 68 year old skin is pretty thin. Ugh.

    It sure paid to have an engineer's mind and decades of experience (including the Heli-skiing).

    Hope this helps somebody else. I don't care how experienced you are with these drone gadgets, they are not 100% reliable.
     
    dirkclod and JKDSensei like this.
  2. robsquad

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    well done, glad you got it back and first class story for the grand kids
     
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  3. JKDSensei

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    Good job!
    Just think how handy a 2nd Phantom 3 would have been in this situation :)
     
  4. Case29247

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    I'd probably have had to look for two birds instead of just one. :)
     
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  5. Fplvert

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  6. kenjancef

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    So what was the condition of the bird when you found it? You had said "no real damage...". Just curious...
     
  7. JKDSensei

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    Good Point.
    Maybe he should invest in at least a TK109 to get him to his lost birds
     
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  8. RoyVa

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    Did you try the app portion for Find my Phantom. Two times I have been able to walk right up to my bird using that function. Uses the birds last know location and your location on a map. Used the arrow and followed it as I got closer so did the positioning. Found her three blocks away one day and on another occasion which was in heavy woods walked right up to her. Really like that function.
     
  9. Case29247

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    The very tip of one rotor blade was slightly bent. It was easy to bend it back into place almost perfectly. Otherwise no damage. Thanks.
     
  10. kenjancef

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    Wow.. awesome. I still get nervous when I fly, I'm sure that will go a way as I fly more....
     
  11. Case29247

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    As I said before, I am not a constant flier of my P2. I use it off and on...maybe once-twice-three times a month, more or less, for entertainment and professionally. How much has to do with the weather and to entertain guests, etc. In summary, I definitely am not one of those drone addicts that spends all their waking hours flying. To me, it's a toy....albeit a serious toy. I was able to afford to buy it, maintain it, and fly it. I can also afford to lose it....but I prefer not to. :)

    I suspect that every pilot will eventually lose control of his bird due to a "technical problem" or as a result of pilot error or bad operating practice. I'm sure you each know which category is most likely to bite you. Thus, it seems logical that everybody should be prepared in some way for a lost bird.

    Getting back to my experience yesterday. Thinking about it, there are at least four things I could have done.

    1. I could have that "Find My Phantom" app. I don't have that, but I'll look into it.

    2. I could strap on a "Lost Dog" device. Doubt I'll do that...My P2 with battery, Hero3, gimbal, downlink, and iOSD already weighs in at 1304 grams.

    3. I can use the Avalanche Radio technique that I learned Heli-skiing 37 years ago and described above. I used it successfully yesterday, but it requires that the flight batteries are still powering the video downlink, and the technique's precision is pretty poor.

    4. Something I thought of later--I could have used the iOSD data on both the bird's distance and bearing (azimuth relative to north) from "home." (I'm not sure whether the azimuth is measured from true north or magnetic north...it could be either.) In any case, using my smart phone or tablet GPS Status App, and first marking my home location in it, I could have walked the line and should have been able to home in on the bird very easily. Or I could have driven to it if necessary. Hours or days later. Of course, this assumes I had noted the distance and azimuth.....Which interestingly I had done once I realized I had a problem developing (that's the engineer in me again).

    Well anyway, thanks for your inputs. I'll definitely look into the "Find My Phantom" app. I had no idea it existed....
     
  12. RoyVa

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    The find my Phantom is in the DJI app setting and also in the litchi app under settings. It's not a superate app just in the apps settings. Just for clearification.