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Where did it go?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by renwahh, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. renwahh

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    Hey people,

    Had a horror flight yesterday, lost my phantom and gopro 3, which is pretty devastating as it was my prize possession and was starting to make some money with it. Anyway I'll leave out the sob story but I want to get to the bottom of what happened to it and I thought maybe you guys could shed some light.

    Was 4 minutes into a regular flight, normal flight time is 10-12 minutes. Was flying in Stanley Park in vancouver which has tall pines and surrounded by water. I had been practicing circling my location at roughly 50m altitude, about 20m above the highest trees. At one point early on it flew out of sight behind a tree which I didn't enjoy recovering from manually so I activated the GPS return to home switch we had bound. This has worked flawlessly about 20 times already. And as expected it flew back home to me quickly and began descending slowly. Knowing I had much more time I simply flicked it back into atti mode and continued flying . Was practising more orbits when it went behind a tree again but this time heading towards the water. I got a little worried but it was only 50m away and 50m up so in hindsight I should have just walked around the tree and flown it back manually but knowing that gps failsafe was configured correctly (and having just used it), I hit GPS return to home and waited 10 seconds for it to fly back over the tree towards me. Nothing appeared so I started walking over to see behind the huge tree and worryingly I couldn't hear the phantom anymore. I started to panic and ran around like an idiot searching for it and asking people if they had seen it.

    I searched for a few minutes and then turned off the RX in vain hope that the gps failsafe was the problem but she never returned. I am at a loss to understand how this could have happened. It was a windless day, probably 3km/h winds and had about 6 minutes flight time left as a guess.

    Does anyone know if this is a known issue? Is there any way to retrieve it's last known gps location? Any insight appreciated, as I've ordered a tbs disco pro which uses a nazav2 and I'm suddenly terrified at the thought of relying on gps "failsafe"
     
  2. Drone7

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    Hi there,

    Sorry to hear that! I hope you will find it back!
    I can not help you with getting it back but next time put your name on it and a phonenumber. You can also make a jpg file on the sd card with your name in it and phonenumer and secure the jpg file so you can not delete it after a format of your card. Maybe an honest person will give you a call for when you have this again.

    With an Apm 2.5 i had the same problem in the past and the insurance company payed for everything. Maybe for you is the same.

    Good luck
     
  3. Ksc

    Ksc

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    call DJI. if you can get through, they may send you another. They sent me a replacement after I had a flyaway.
     
  4. The Editor

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    My guess would be you were luckyu with the first RTH. However, on the second attempt it came in contact with a tree and the tree won!

    You say you were flying at 50m which was 20m above the tree line. This puts the trees at circa 30m tall. When the Phantom initiates RTH it will climb OR DROP to 20m before it starts it's homeward journey. This I fear was the problem.... 20m altitude put it BELOW the tree line. It then started it's straight line return flight but met a tree on the way.

    You say you searched but you were probably looking on the ground - my guess was it was up in a tree (and probably still is)

    Good luck with your search
     
  5. Dave Pitman

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    Sorry to hear about this renwahh,

    If sounds like either the gps, or the compass got confused, or failed, or Editor's guess. If that is true only Manual mode is reliable. Old time RCers (I am not) will tell you that when anything goes wrong, take gps and compass off line and go manual. I know you have little time to decide what to do in a situation like that, and I am not criticizing your choices to use RTH. It worked a minute earlier.

    We all have this possible scenario in the back of our minds while flying. Again, sorry for your loss.

    -Dave
     
  6. OI Photography

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    I would try to find someone local who has a quad or hexcopter that can do a flyover of the area you last saw it...I'd bet that a top-down perspective would help you find it easily in the trees.

    Now, how to get it once you do locate it may be a completely different story. I've seen a couple of vids of quads rescuing quads off of high perches, but that may not be possible depending on where it ended up.
     
  7. renwahh

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    Thanks for the opinions guys, I didn't realise that RTH would drop to 20 metres but I haven't had that happen before. The tree it went behind was very sparse until the top, and because I was very close I feel like I would have heard it impacting the tree and also the subsequent full throttle attempts to dislodge itself and RTH. I'll try and look again today and see if I can get anyone to help, not confident about dji just sending out a new one.
     
  8. OI Photography

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    It's been reported that they've done it for a number of customers, but there's no published criteria for how they decide if you really had a qualifying flyaway or not. Still would be worth a try though if you don't end up locating it. I'd guess they may ask for pictures of the location where it happened or something similar, but I'd still give it a shot before shelling out for a new one :)
     
  9. ElGuano

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    I've never tried RTH before, but it seems like a risky feature to use as a default anytime you lose sight of the craft, for the very reason you've run into--you give up control of the quad completely, and it performs a set operation regardless of what may be in the way. If you lose sight behind some trees, why not just hit the throttle and ascend over them? Then you regain line of sight and can bring it back to you at your leisure.

    Hope you find your Phantom! If it lodged in a tall pine tree, I have no idea how you'd ever see it, let alone reach it. I've parked mine in a small 20ft tree in my yard at night and I couldn't even see the LEDs blinking (and I have one on each side).

    To be honest, this really doesn't sound like a flyaway to me. With all respect to OP, it sounds like it was entirely preventable and this was just unfortunate and poor decision making. Unless I'm way off base on that, I'd implore OP to NOT bombard DJI with a replacement request, there are enough people seemingly experiencing real, uncontrollable flyaways and I'd rather that they be taken care of promptly.
     
  10. The Don

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    It doesn't. See page 15 of the Naza quickstart quide. If the altitude is greater then it will return to home at the current altitude then land.

    RTH is kind of an emergency thing. I wouldn't rely on it if you can help it. If you ever lose sight of your phantom then the move is to go for sky. Getting altitude will make it more visible and make reception better. Then you can just use home lock mode to drag it back.
     
  11. The Don

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    And you definitely want to put your name and number on there in case somebody else finds it. I'd get a locator of some sort, too. Some people get fancy GPS ones, but even a cheap key finder type device will work if you know the general area it went down. I got one of these: http://www.loc8tor.com/primary-products ... -lite.html
     
  12. OI Photography

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    Excellent advice, and the cheapest insurance you can get. I went online had and some 2" x 2" white stickers made up with red lettering that says:

    IF FOUND PLEASE RETURN TO
    <name>
    <address>
    <phone number>
    ***REWARD***

    Cost me $5 for a sheet of 20, stuck one on the transmitter and the back of the gopro case too :)
     
  13. miskatonic

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    If you have FPV running and an IOSD MINI your Phantom will give a clear indication as to what is going on with it. It will tell you how many satellites it has, where the home point is and what the distance is to the home point.

    Folks, get something like this and strap it onto your Phantom:

    http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-GTU-GP...F8&qid=1384283982&sr=8-6&keywords=gps+tracker

    Also your home owners/renters insurance should cover it.
     
  14. renwahh

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys, we went and searched all the trees again today, and did some bush bashing but to no avail. I feel totally responsible for the decision making, and as mentioned before feel like a fool for not flying it back manually, but there were a few extraneous cirtcumstances that made me nervous about flying it any higher. It's quite common for sea planes to approach to land over the park, and I didn't want it to get wiped out or worse to create a dangerous situation. I also have only had mixed success with home lock/IOC, twice it's disabled itself in the firmware between flights and I didn't feel comfortable just flicking it and hitting back stick and hoping for the best. If it was disabled again it would have gone a random direction and perhaps crashed it on it's own.

    Definitely though, we will be putting our information on the next one(my story alone should justify this), and I already investigated a gps device that will function as a backup locator.

    Most of all i'm just disappointed in the RTH fail, this is advertised as a key feature of the product and I won't apologise for using it. It was well above the tree line, I was in a broad clearing for flight, I always triple check the GPS lock at startup and never fly without full GPS signal. I don't pretend to be a pro otherwise I wouldn't have bought a phantom to start with. I've lost a shiny new gopro 3+ aswell because of it, and if it's not lodged at the very tip of the tree it was behind I feel there's no other explanation than a flyaway.

    Fingers crossed for it's safe return but i'll be contacting DJI and hoping for some compassion
     
  15. Ruff Ryda

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  16. miskatonic

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    RTH probably failed because a home point was most likely not set before take off.

    Do you have a rough direction as to where your Phantom went? They tend to fly in a straight line when they fly off. The down side is that it could have flown up to a mile.

    Also get a battery buzzer. It will at least make some noise when the batteries are low and help you find a wayward Phantom.

    http://www.helipal.com/battery-warning- ... ttery.html
     
  17. The Editor

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    Opps sorry :roll: - My mistake!

    You're right if it's above 20m it will stay there and then initiate RTH at that altitude.

    Still think it hit a tree though....
     
  18. The Don

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    I wouldn't give up hope just yet. Sometimes it takes a quad to find a quad. I'd try to have a friend do some aerial recon, then examine the recording. It's worked before. Maybe some helpful pilot on this forum lives in your area.
     
  19. renwahh

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    That's the thing I don't understand, home point WAS set correctly because it had already RTH successfully once in the same flight, at the same altitude. I don't believe it hit a tree(not only because it was already 10m+ above the treetops) but because i was near the only two trees that it would have hit and that would have caused quite a racket. Once i hit RTH the sound faded very quickly, and it could have gone anywhere within a 180 degree radius away from me for atleast 5 minutes more battery life.
     
  20. PhantomFan

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    I'd bet it's in a tree as well. Wait for a good wind storm to pass through the area, THEN go back. You will quite likely find it on the ground or in a bush under a tree.

    Good luck, OP...I hope you find it! When you do, publish the video...we' would all like to see it. No doubt the video will give you excellent clues as to what really happened.

    PF