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Flyaway survey responses needed!

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Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby Spork » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:12 pm


I just had my first flyaway scare. Lost control soon after takeoff and was able to crash-land it soon after by fiddling with GPS/ATTI modes, but not able to fully regain control (had full green GPS, etc. have flown it a few times in the same spot before with no issues).

Anyway, I'm now very curious about the flyaway phenomenon, and I'd like to gather some data about what everyone's experience is when these "flyaways" happen (or really any time you lose control).

So I've made a survey page that asks a bunch of questions about what mode you were flying in, if you calibrated the compass, etc.

Maybe if we gather enough data we can recognize some trends or learn some techniques to recover when things go wrong.

Here's the link, please share with any friends who have had a flyaway or experiences loss of control while flying a multi-rotor with the NAZA GPS units.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1R4MaX8 ... 0/viewform

I'll share the data/results once we get enough responses to be useful.

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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby bradders » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:36 am

Good idea.

Added mine...
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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby mroberts » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:49 am

Any chance you can post a "read" copy of the survey? I haven't had a flyaway, but I'm curious about the questions you're asking.
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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby FlyingSquirrel » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:38 am

Great idea ... I haven't had a flyaway and hope it never happens, but gathering info will surely help.
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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby Spork » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:56 am

mroberts wrote:Any chance you can post a "read" copy of the survey? I haven't had a flyaway, but I'm curious about the questions you're asking.

Sure, you can see the questions by answering "Yes" to the first question - that will take you to page 2 where all the other q's are - just don't submit that 2nd page :)
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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby Driffill » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:24 am

I'm noticing a trend on reports of fly aways . . . .

People have said they have done a flight or two with no problems . . . But the third flight or later, it becomes unresponsive? How many surveys have been completed so far? When can we see some results to look for trends?

I've got four batteries to suit my phantom, and I'm planning a day (5 weeks from now) where I'm hoping to get around 8+ flights in! (I have four charges to help on the day)

I'd hate to think after my fist 2 flights it might take off, then again, it may take off at anytime so its a risk either way!
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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby martcerv » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:22 am

I have 7 batteries and a few times have flown them all directly after each other, must have quite a few flights seeing as any day I fly I will do at least 4 or 5 flights. I have 3 small crashes breaking props getting too close to trees but nothing major. Had what may have been a near flyaway early on but that was mostly pilot error flying in poor conditions strong downwind and possibly accidentally flicked course lock on without realizing so it went an opposite direction to where I thought and so raised altitude then activated home lock and it came back nicely.

I did get caught in an updraft once recently where I gained much more elevation then I expected, had I not been using FPV I may have though the phantom did something strange. Using FPV you can see what is going on and though some odd things have occured they have been usually caused by outside conditions or me being in a mode I didnt think I was in. I always pay attention to the LED's and only take off with full satellites and home location saved just incase its needed.

I have lost radio range once while flying FPV and return to home activated, I still had a clear video signal though I was 880m away when I lost the stock radio. I have flown to nearly 1km LOS without issues in both atti modes and GPS modes, I have made some mistakes here and there but in all the flights nothing that phantom has done has been completely uncontrollable and random that I couldn't explain how or why it happened.

If your new to RC or quads just take your time to learn slowly and try and get a basic grasp of each action, Im sure there can be the odd flyaway caused by a GPS issue but you should never rely on this 100%. Make sure you fly within a comfortable range and everything is in good working order, learn to fly atti mode so you can fly in any conditions when GPS isnt quite working. If you fly in a bad location GPS wise then don't be surprised if it does things you don't expect in GPS mode. I think the good majority of what people call a flyaway is simple pilot error and not understanding all functions and controls properly then flying way beyond your current ability or expecting way to much from GPS and not RTFM. :lol:

A poor tradesman will always blame his tools never himself, a good one can find a way to work with anything and tries to make the best of what he has.

Just my 2c
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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby Jenniar » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:38 am

flyaway is cool
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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby martcerv » Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:23 am

Jenniar wrote:flyaway is cool

It is if that's how you got your phantom :lol:

I think most of them are just Phantom's trying to get back to the factory after getting too much of a beating from its new user.
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Re: Flyaway survey responses needed!

Postby Spork » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:51 pm

Driffill wrote:How many surveys have been completed so far? When can we see some results to look for trends?

There's 155 responses as of today, and the rate has dropped off a bunch, so we seem to have gathered all we can.

https://docs.google.com/a/deconcept.com ... wanalytics

I wrote up a summary on another phantom board, which I'll copy here:

I wrote this up when it was at 120 responses, looks like the data is about the same, but feel free to look for trends in the free text section at the bottom of the link above.

Of the 120 that responded, 32% have had a "flyaway" happen. Note that the definition of flyaway is pretty loose, and who knows if it was actually one or just inexperience, but that is still a really high number to me. Also note that it's pilots, not flights, and many people report flying most of the time with no problems... but still...

IOC was overwhelmingly in the "Off" mode - It would be interesting to see how often anyone actually uses those modes, as I never do myself, so this is probably irrelevant to the flyaway problem.

Also, 87% of flyaways happen while in GPS mode, but a small number (5 total, 13%) reported flyaways in ATTI mode - this could be within our margin of error or close to it.

32% reported regaining control of the copter after losing control. This is good.

Of those 32%, the top action that they did was "nothing, control came back automatically". A small number also reported switching GPS/ATTI mode, but most (61%) never regained control and the copter was lost or crashed.

55% of responses reported 25+ flights of their copter in its "current configuration."

61% reported an issue when flying in the "same location" as the previous flight. A hunch I had was that the GPS in the copter could be remembering a previous location as home and somehow activating RTH, but this question seems to have assuaged that thought.

Flying experience is a little interesting. 16% of the pilots with flyways reported that this is their first RC flying device, and only 16% reported being able to fly circles around indoors (ie very good). The majority reported being comfortable flying, so this could potentially rule out the problem being just "noobs".

The FPV question seems to rule out any interference with an FPV system. I was surprised to learn that 92% of pilots weren't using any FPV device at all, and the other 8% were using Fatshark 5.8Ghz (8% is within the margin of error here, so is likely negligible). So we can't blame interference from that.

Most people were using GoPro v3s, with half reporting the Black version, and 24% with no camera at all. So it seems like the camera (wifi interference) is probably not a problem.

66% of pilots reported doing an IMU calibration "0-5 flights" before the flyaway, so this could potentially rule out issues with the IMU getting out of whack after many flights. Perhaps in another survey we can dig into what happened just before the flyaway (ie a crash, or something like taking the copter on a plane or something).

66% also reported calibrating the compass within 0-5 flights of the flyaway, which seems pretty good to me and shows that it can happen even if you have a fully freshly calibrated copter.

Reading through the text descriptions I don't really see any patterns, but feel free to read through if you are interested.

I did send this to DJI and got a response saying "thanks" and that they would have a look at it, so perhaps it will help them narrow down the problem by eliminating some guesses.

Thanks all for the replies! And feel free to keep sending this around to other phantom pilots, more data is good!
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