Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Phantom took off on its own, uncontrollable, crashed onto someone's car, bricked everything.

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Discussion' started by Sarge_, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. Sarge_

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Has anyone had this experience, and/or have any suggestions regarding repair?

    I was flying in a park in my neighborhood, directly over my head, up a few hundred feet (guessing) above ground level (6,300 foot elevation in Jackson, WY) when the Phantom 2 suddenly started doing a bit of a broad circle (green lights in back, red in front, as per usual), and then it just took off at full speed in a northeasterly bearing.

    I have the DronExpert platform with a Sony RX100 II on board, and have only flown it a few times (got it last month) but never had any problems.

    So, having no control, I panicked when I saw it was heading out of the (empty, snow-covered) park into the neighborhood, so I tried to shut it down (still +/- 300' above ground) and it did (I didn't want it crashing onto a house or somewhere that it could do damage). I immediately tried starting it up as it fell (reboot effort), but it was falling too fast to recover (with heavy payload).

    It landed on someone's Grand Cherokee windshield and shattered everything. The camera is totally bricked, the DronExpert plastic platform cracked and broke apart, and the Phantom is partly cracked (top X part) but does turn on, although a diode fell out of it and it won't power up, with one green and one yellow LED.

    Has anyone had this happen?

    Is it due to 2.4Ghz conflicts with WiFi or phones?

    If so, is there a solution?
    I hate to repair and/or replace all this expensive gear only to have a repeat... There was seemingly no warning, and nothing could be done. I was worried I would never find it if I just let it continue, or that it would do serious damage to a person or property...

    Here was the last photo it took, to give some idea of the elevation (shot at f4.9, 1/2000 second, ISO 1000, @100mm - full zoom):

    [​IMG]

    Rough landing, you can see the imprint and where the motors contacted:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Adil J

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2015
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario
    **** you hit someone's car. That's gonna be a disaster in itself.
     
  3. Sarge_

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Probably $350 for the windshield. Ironically, the guy who owns the car is an R/C hobbyist and his first response was 'thanks for leaving a note and taping it up (I taped over the cracked area so rain/snow melt wouldn't get inside as no one was home) - he went on to say "that's happened to me plenty of times" and recommended getting my HAM radio license so I could modify the radio system to get it away from 2.4Ghz.

    So, I'm very lucky it landed on a relatively inexpensive windshield (20 y/o Grand Cherokee) and not a Tesla or Range Rover or something, and the owner was understanding (it's his wheeling rig and is now his son's car who is away at college). I hate to even think it, but if it had landed on a person it might have killed them... It was a serious impact (I heard it hit from a block or more away).
     
    Adil J likes this.
  4. Adil J

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2015
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario
    That's insane. Makes you think twice about getting too confident with these internal computer systems. I was flying yesterday when I noticed that planes were flying at literally 150m. Crazy to think that I have the capabilities to POSSIBLY take down a commercial plane.
     
  5. Sarge_

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yes, I was in the flight path to the airport at the time, although I was much much lower than any planes would be flying (airport is about 15 miles away)... but the drone took off on the exact heading toward the airport, which is partly why I shut it down - I was unsure whether it would ever stop, and while it would die before getting into the actual flight path (trajectory/altitude), it's a scary thought. There's a reason they need to regulate these things a bit.

    The scary part is this happened with no control over the craft. I wasn't expecting it to power down when I tried it (it wasn't responding to any other controls), but it did, and I tried it out of damage mitigation (if I'd shut it down one second earlier it would have just crashed in the empty park)...
     
    GadgetGuy likes this.
  6. jason

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    Messages:
    4,099
    Likes Received:
    404
    Location:
    Commerce Twp,MI
    I'll take wild guess and and say the compass numbers in the IMU were to high at the time causing you to lose control of the P2. Secondly it also sound as though the craft was a bit over weight with the RX 100 onboard.
     
  7. TC Malker

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2015
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    85
    If you have AMA membership this accident would be fully covered. Do you?
     
  8. AndreGtable

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    6
    Did you at least try switching to atti mode? You are lucky as hell that it was some drone haters car or this would be all over the news.
     
  9. Qoncussion

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2015
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    5
    I second what Jason said... I had a similar situation over a year ago. I used Home Lock to steer it back to me after it vanished over a hilltop. Simply flip to Home Lock, pull your right stick straight back towards you, and pray to whatever god you believe in.

    When the compass fails, the P2 goes into ATTI mode automatically and becomes a victim of whichever way the wind is blowing. My compass "Mod" value (under "tools" in Assistant s/w) was off the chart (over 3,000). After a little research I found that you can degauss the compass using a magnet to bring the values back down to a normal range.

    While connected to the Assistant software, and watching the compass Mod value, run a magnet over the compass several times in a circular pattern. Kind of like you're scrubbing the compass, but without actually making direct contact with it. If the numbers continue to rise, flip the magnet over, you're using the wrong polarity on the magnet (+ vs. -). Get down to the neighborhood of 1500, then recycle the bird to ensure the numbers stay there. Then run a full advanced calibration on a flat surface.

    Never run a calibration on or near a metal surface. My mistake was calibrating the P2 on my office desk, which is made of metal (duh).
     
  10. Sarge_

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yes, it was in GPS Mode, and then I tried ATTI but it was getting so far away (and not slowing down) so I just powered it down and let it fall. It was still over the park, but moving at such a speed that it went an extra 20 yards further on the way down, landing just outside the park.

    I thought about letting it stay in the air, but it didn't seem to be slowing down at all and I wasn't sure where it would go once out of sight.

    I've never crashed it before, but I did buy it used on ebay (from a reputable person) so who knows if it had a problem in the making before I laid hands on it...
     
  11. Sarge_

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    This is good information - I hadn't done that and had just bought it from someone in the Seattle area, so perhaps the compass needed a reset. It had behaved fine on previous flights, but... who knows. I will definitely look into some of this when it gets repaired or replaced.

    Is there a better place to send it for repair than the shop in Las Vegas (nearest me)?
     
  12. Sarge_

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    I guess I wish I knew what the AMA was... I have a call into my insurance company to see what they say on Monday.
     
  13. Sarge_

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    High elevation (6,300' ground level), low/no wind (3 mph maybe), cold temps (10F), heavy payload; It only flies for five minutes or so with this setup in these temps, but it has flown just fine in these conditions the past few times I tried it.
     
  14. jason

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    Messages:
    4,099
    Likes Received:
    404
    Location:
    Commerce Twp,MI
    Good luck with your insurance co. If you look at the equipment list in red right below it you'll notice what AMA stands for. As long as you are flying as a hobbyist each member is covered by an insurance policy that would have covered the liability you had incurred plus loss of equipment up to thousand dollars with a police report.
     
  15. Sarge_

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Good to know. Most of my work is professional (photography), although this was just a 'practice' session. The damage will be over $1k (windshield, P2, DronExpert, RX100), but every bit would help... What does AMA cost? I also wonder if they would take exception to the RX100 setup as 'overloaded'... It flies well enough with it, but I don't know if it's over the listed P2 payload or not.
     
  16. jason

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    Messages:
    4,099
    Likes Received:
    404
    Location:
    Commerce Twp,MI
    $75 per year. You're not likely find any company willing to insure you as a professional without 333 exemption and a pilots license and of course it well cost big time. DJI stated takeoff weight is 1300 grams and Mine weighs in at 1378g.
     
  17. cdronefly

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2014
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    68
    Adding a bit to the discussion - any customized craft such as that could be a couple steps down in reliability from a mass-produced product. The P2 - especially earlier versions - were also not as reliable (GPS-wise, etc.) as the P3.
    So although that's a nice camera and package....in the end it probably doesn't pay off compared to RTF models. I know a lot of P2's with GoPros had problems - maybe relating to RF from the cam, gimbal, FPV setup, etc. - or perhaps to the weaker GPS.
     
  18. GoodnNuff

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,909
    Likes Received:
    831
    Location:
    Washington State
    Wow, sorry this happened to you man.
    It was fortunate that nothing more was damaged. Pretty impressive imprint of the drone!
     
  19. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2014
    Messages:
    6,811
    Likes Received:
    4,374
    Location:
    Live! From New York!
    Please read your documents that the AMA sent you. The insurance that comes with membership can not be used until you have exhausted all other forms of insurance such as homeowners insurance. See below...

    General Liability Coverage (Effective March 31)

    •  AMA Liability Protection applies to bodily injury or property damage caused by an AMA member. Any AMA member who causes an accident resulting in an injury must report that accident immediately to AMA HQ.
    •  Applies to accidents arising from the modeling activities of model aircraft, rockets, cars and boats, in accordance with the AMA NATIONAL Safety Code(s).
    •  The ‘per occurrence’ limit of coverage available by this policy is $2,500,000 involving bodily injury and/or property damage. These limits are for claims occurring during the policy period. Coverage is provided only for accidents arising from the model activities.
    •  A separate policy covers participation in FAI events outside of the United States and Canada. This policy has a $2,000,000 limit.
    •  There is no coverage for injury to a member to his own family (Household and Relative(s) living in the member’s household) for claims or suits.
    •  The policy does NOT cover business pursuits; that is any activity that generates income for a member beyond reimbursement of expenses, except this business pursuit exclusion does not apply to individual members providing modeling instructions for pay to AMA members.
    •  AMA insurance is “excess” to any other applicable coverage, such as homeowner’s.
    •  Has a $250.00 deductible (property damage only), which is the responsibility of the AMA member causing the

      accident.


      SOURCE - http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/InsuranceSummaryMembers.pdf
     
  20. iowahill

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Roseville, CA
    "Academy of Model Aeronautics". A three-month trial membership is $15. I joined because I'm thoroughly bitten by the R/C bug and bought a couple of used R/C fixed wings. The insurance coverage alone is worth the price of admission. If you join and get your AMA number, put it on your bird for identification.