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Phantom Fly-Away

Discussion in 'Phantom 1 Help' started by lilwheat, May 13, 2013.

  1. lilwheat

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    Against the advice of my wife, I decided to take the Phantom for a spin yesterday despite the 16mph winds. I've had quite a few successful flights and suppose I got a bit cocky with it.

    I got the Phantom off the ground, had it hover for a bit while showing it to my nieces then I ascended a bit to get some aerials. A gust of wind and what I assume was an up-draft took the Phantom out up and out of my sight-line. At first, I could still hear the motors spinning and I tried to navigate it towards me but then the sound drifted away. I was about 6 minutes into the flight.. waited about another minute then switched off the Tx.

    I thought I had done everything to the book with calibration, setting home lock, etc.. but the Phantom did not 'return to home'. My question that I ask.. as I go over the perimeter of wooded area that I need to start searching is: If home lock was in fact not set properly, what will happen when the Tx is switched off? Will it drop out of the sky like a stone?

    My second thought was that after I switched off the Tx, the Phantom attempted to return to me but it could not fight the wind. Second question, if that were true - would it attempt to reach me until the battery was completely dead?

    I've had a day to come to terms with losing a $700 Phantom and a $400 Hero 3 Black, but I can't erase the memory from my 4 year old daughter's memory who watched her favorite new hobby with her dad fly into the atmosphere and never return. I'm sure that our Phantom is somewhere in the woods, lodged high atop a tree, but I'll still put in the effort of trekking through the woods to look.

    Has anyone had any experiences like this?
     
  2. Gizmo3000

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    Sorry to hear.
    Hopefully you'll find it, or someone else will and it will return to you. (you had your name and number on it I hope).

    If you were seven minutes into your flight before you turned off the Tx, and it was caught up in a high wind, what I've seen happen in others video's is that it will fight to fly at at the same altitude until it starts losing power.
    Then the Phantom sort of lose altitude at an alarming rate with very little power, correcting itself to remain upright a bit.
    and then about 80-100ft it will let out one last burst of energy, rev up fast and attempt to cushion it's fall when it thinks it's about to hit ground. good enough to almost save the craft from terminal damage.
    at least that's how I've interpreted it in the 3 or 4 video's I've seen.
    asume that it tried to fly in a straight line towards HL and try to follow that path from the direction you last saw/heard it.
    good luck man, hopefully this isn't the end of the story.
     
  3. auck

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    1) if "home" was not properly recorded by the phantom, it would not know where "home" was to return to. However, in your instance, i think it is more likely a case of the phantom trying to get home, but can not due to high wind. don't forget that wind at ground level is significantly less than the currents up higher.

    2) supposing that the phantom did correctly record "home" position, it will try to fight its way back to "home" when you turn off the TX. it will do so until the battery can no longer sustain it in the air. failsafe will kick in and it will try to land where ever it is, so yes, it can be up in a tree.

    sorry to hear about your ordeal and yes, there has been a few rogue phantoms reported on this forum. hope you are able to find it soon.
     
  4. lilwheat

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    Thanks for the input to both of you! I have my search area mapped out for this afternoon which will probably be my last chance before a rain storm comes rolling through on Wednesday. Fingers-crossed.
     
  5. jumanoc

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    Sorry for "lost in action".
    If you had stick or wrote your name, tel number, etc, the probability for somebody to return it has meter 62%. If your data not in phantom.... Just pray and lucky time.
     
  6. mercillus

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    Lost mine Saturday in Killeen TX while visiting family.. 1100 bux down the tubes. Had my fatshark running on it at the time. Wind flipped me over while in manual mode and I couldnt get the gogs off fast enough to correct. Put a 50 buck reward on their local mail boxes in hopes some parent wants the 50.. As fast as I could run in the direction it went down - wasn't fast enough. I swear the local kids stole it.

    Its sad. Yes.. And my phone number is on it. No calls yet. Its been 3 days. So I bought another one and for now am not flying it as far away.
     
  7. lilwheat

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    Ugh. What a terrible feeling. I already have a new one loaded up in my cart on the AtlantaHobby site, if I come up empty-handed tonight, I'll be doing the same.

    My Dad was nice enough to go around to his neighbors to hand out my reward sign, of course he had to have one give him the "this is what's wrong with america.. people spying on people.. are you russian.." speech. smh

    I've tinkered with the smaller heli's in the past just for fun, but the Phantom has been a total game changer to me. Such a great hobby to share with my daughter.
     
  8. mercillus

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    Hope your luck is better than mine. Also yes its a great hobby with kids. I got my son the 1SQ to learn on. No GPS or expensive parts. Easy to replace motors on etc.. Also if you can fly the 1SQ you can do manual mode on the Phantom..
     
  9. Sac D

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    Sorry to hear it... I know that feeling from my own experience. Luckily for me, I got a call a week later from a guy that found mine.

    I hope it turns up soon!
     
  10. FangsCPO

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    I know this is too late now but for the next time definitely consider getting the APP to check the winds in your immediate area. It's called Wind Alert and it's free. I've made it a rule for me to never fly when the winds are above 12 mph. I know the Phantom can handle faster winds but I don't want to take any chances. I would definitely hate to see $1,200 fly away.

    Good Luck on your search.
     
  11. lilwheat

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    FOUND!

    Just got a text from my dad, the farmer at the end of their neighborhood watched it come down in his yard on Sunday afternoon and went out to retrieve it. So it's been indoors since Sunday (whew!) I can't wait to watch the video playback.

    Many lessons learned from this about flying in windy conditions and also about taking steps towards adding some sort of tracking device.

    Thanks to everyone here on the boards, you guys have been my support group for the last few days!!!
     
  12. auck

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    glad yours is a happy ending :)
     
  13. patc221

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    About how far would you estimate it actualy covered before it came down.
     
  14. Gizmo3000

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    Awesome! another happy ending!
    must be quite a relief! (why'd he wait so long to contact you??)

    Please post a link to the video to this thread when it's ready, always curious how Phantom's perform in such incidents (flight time, if it tried to RTH, how well it landed/survived the landing), if it came down kind of where you expected.
     
  15. mmcbain

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    I've had three flyaways myself, so well do I know that feeling of dread as it rises into the atmosphere...

    I now strictly follow these three mantras:

    1. Name and phone number on the airframe. I have Dymo stickers either side of the batery compartment. If it's found, someone can call you. A Phantom without its controller is not much use to anyone, fortunately.
    2. Make sure you have a home lock before you lift off. If you don't, 'home' will be wherever the Phantom first acquires seven satellites. If the transmitter's off, it will then try and land there.
    3. Buy a 'key finder' and attach it to the airframe. Get the type where you press a button for seek-and-respond, not one of those silly ones where you whistle for your keys. Get one with a long range and a loud response. That way, whether it is in someone's back yard, up a tree, or just landed in long grass, it can call to you like a lost cat. There is also a Bluetooth device called a Blutracker, but I don't know how effective they are. As the High Altitude Balloon people can attest, trying to find things with a GPS is much harder than it seems.

    I'm glad you got it back. If I lost mine, I could not afford to replace it.

    Michael McBain
    Melbourne, Australia
     
  16. lilwheat

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    The farm is roughly 2 properties down from my parents' house, I'd say 5-600 feet.

    It is an absolute relief, something strange about the lack of contact.. I had the battery bump labeled with my name and phone number that I printed with my label maker.. yet the label was missing when I got it back (no way that it fell off..)

    I watched the video and comically enough, I believe that I landed the Phantom, blindly. When the wind took it out of my sight, I immediately started to lower the throttle, hoping that I'd be able to see it again. Of course, I was looking straight up where it was when in fact it was actually a few hundred feet away from where I was looking, so I missed it's descent. It landed, hopped up, landed again, then tried to lift off once more but flipped over and left the motors spinning. I'll post video tonight.

    Sorry to hear about your loss. I've read into the BluTracker, seems like a great device to have for situations like this. I was wondering if anyone has used one or has any experience with them. Being bluetooth, then run at the same frequency as the Phantom Tx, correct?
     
  17. mercillus

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    I ordered something today off of fleebay today. Will let you know what I figure out.
     
  18. lilwheat

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    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA7UOV0lMB0[/youtube]
    Here it is. Like I said in previous posts, I don't think it ever had the chance to return home. I had no idea it came down this quickly. It was most likely after the Phantom was down that I switched off the Tx (or as it landed, you'll see in the video it attempts to take off).

    I went total nerd style finding out the wind speed and direction, printed a google map and had a projected path drawn on it. Wouldn't you know it, it landed right on the line.. just not as far away as I expected.
     
  19. Roadkilt

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    Looking at the times on that video you got into trouble around 6 minutes of actual flying time. I've found with a full housing gopro and a 80-90 % charged battery I safely get 5-6 minutes depending on wind and aggressiveness, by 7-8 minutes the red lights are telling me to land. If that happened you would never see it from so far away. It went into auto descent, which is pretty fast. It must have tried a return to home after it landed when you shut the tx off. I set my phone timer for 5 minutes, and plan on two minutes to get the quad back after the alarm goes. That gives me about a minute or two margin in case I undersetimated the return time due to wind or operator error! :) Return to home is so slow to engage and execute that it won't save you once you're past 8 minutes with a depleted battery.
     
  20. lilwheat

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    In regards to a GPS tracker, I ordered the BluTracker from sticknfind.com and I hadn't received any shipping information from them yet so I asked them if they had an estimated shipping date. This is the reply I received

    Jimmie replied:
    Hi Chris,
    In February, we did a production run of the BluTracker . In our testing, we were not satisfied with the performance of the GPS chip. We have been working with two new GPS chip manufacturers simultaneously and are testing the signal strength on their chips now. Once the testing results meet our standards, we will move into the certification phase, which takes 3-4 weeks. After certification approval, the manufacturing phase will begin. We apologize for the inconvenience. We greatly appreciate your patience and your business. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

    Best regards,


    Jimmie M.
    www.sticknfind.com