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User Error or Flyaway Victim?

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Help' started by Dean Ing, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. Dean Ing

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    I have the phantom 2 with the H4 3D gimbal and gopro 4 black, Black Pearl and Immersion for TX and FPV as well as the mini iosd. I would call myself an intermediate level flyer and practise down a local oval in a small town, no objects, lucky if a jogger or someone walking a dog, mostly to myself and absolutely no powerlines. I practice figure 8's, HL and CL. I follow all the, I believe, to be correct pre flight procedures, checking props,calibrating. Today I flew about 100m from my usual takeoff spot and did all the above. There were some dark clouds in the distance and it was dead still for a change. About 10 mins into the flight I heard thunder and activated HL and on the way back there was a lightning strike some distance away. Time to pack up and go home! The phantom appeared to be coming back and there were 3 quick strikes in succession and suddenly loss of control as it started heading east of me. The OSD was getting some interference but still visible as well as the video feed. I switched to ATTI to try to orient back towards me but no response to any control. Meanwhile from dead still a savage westerly was carrying it further east. Switched back from ATTI to gps and again HL (realise this was a panic as must have lost GPS anyway). Lost line of sight (max distance via NAZA is 750M) and it headed out over our small town. So, in the car and try to follow the general direction. A post on a local page of our small town yielded a lot of response as someone saw it fly over the local pool heading east. A LOT of bush to cover in that area and no idea of the distance it could have gone, last indication from the FPV was 58% battery.
     
  2. Mark The Droner

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    Did you check the weather forecast before you flew?
     
  3. Dean Ing

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    Yes I did, possible thunderstorms in the evennig. This was sudden and I mean sudden! I started my flight about 3.20pm.
     
  4. Mark The Droner

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    Okay. So you knew there was a chance of thunderstorms. What was the chance? Let's say 50%. Presumably you looked at weather radar and it showed nothing coming your way. You made a judgment call to fly.

    Then the clouds formed and you found yourself in trouble.

    I'd say this is partially pilot error and mostly bad luck. More bad luck than pilot error. MHO.

    You might consider getting a tracking device on your next aircraft.

    Sorry for your loss.
     
    Dean Ing likes this.
  5. MapMaker53

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    With no GPS and that far out, a "savage wind" will probably push your Phantom hard enough that it might appear like your sticks are having no response. In addition, your Phantom could have been hit by the wind squall line, say, 30 seconds before that wind actually reached you, leading you to believe you lost control before the wind struck, when in fact it was the loss of GPS and sudden wind that caused the fly-away..
     
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  6. Dean Ing

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    Well, 8 hour search and nothing, then I got another report of a sighting so that gave me two points to create a trajectory...I have been searching the wrong area. So my question is, there was 58% battery at the first sight point, it is a 3rd party that claims 25-30 mins (yeah right) so with an approximate further 15mins with a strong tailwind what am I looking at, around 3km or more?
     
  7. MapMaker53

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    I think there are just too many unknown factors to calculate distance with any accuracy - particularly the wind. Do you know the wind speed? Was it constant or gusting? If caught in the rapidly approaching thunderstorm, the Phantom could have experienced sudden updrafts or down drafts or been forced down if caught in a burst of torrential rain. And a tree could have snagged it along the way as well. No telling where it might be, but at least you have a line of trajectory to begin following.
     
    #7 MapMaker53, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  8. jason

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    And being snagged by a tree is an all to common occurrence Quadcopters are trees favorite food don't you know.
     
  9. Dean Ing

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    The wind was gale force and constant! Well, now given up, the guy that last spotted it gave me an even more accurate trajectory (and offered to assist, thanks Tom!) and we went overkill and started 8km out, it was heading almost dead east so gave plenty of leeway for trajectory error and went plenty north and south enough to cover if the trajectory was well out. It was at 30m and there is a lot of bare farmland and only small stands of trees, there wouldn't be anything over 10m. It took us close to 6 hours to get to the area I had searched to the previous day. We looked up every frigging tree around, if it was anywhere in the area we should have found it! The most difficult area was about a sq km of tall reeds full of tiger snakes and the one we were least thorough! I returned there today with two pairs of thick pants and used a stepladder every 5m or so to gain better vantage, I was convinced it had to be here as it was smack bang in the trajectory but it was not to be. We probably had the most Jan rain on record so wherever it is it will be dead, I wouldn't have expected anything else but gopro's are hardy little things and the timelapse would have been interesting!