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When drone flights go bad...

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Over the past few years of owning drones, I had one client shoot where I crashed one of our P4P+'s, and then while getting footage for a product review on a Gulf Coast beach here in Florida, I had a bird strike that took out and drowned one of our drones last week.

Aside from owning a small media company in Orlando, I'm getting ready to work on an article that highlights some of the worst-case scenarios some of us in the drone community might have encountered with our drones- whether bird strikes, weather phenomena, hardware/software failure, angry bystanders (Karens and Kevins), etc.

I am wondering if anyone would care to share their stories/experiences in this regard, for me to include in the article. Full credit will of course go to anyone whose experience is used. If you'd rather not do it here, feel free to PM me :)

I also plan to outline the hazardous attitudes the FAA has identified in the Part 107 course, as well as a discussion on how to file warranty claims with Autel and DJI.

I appreciate any and all insights and fully appreciate the communities of Mavic, Phantom, Autel, Inspire, and Commercialpilots.com (those so far I have been privileged to be a part of). THANKS ALL!
 
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Over the past few years of owning drones, I had one client shoot where I crashed one of our P4P+'s, and then while getting footage for a product review on a Gulf Coast beach here in Florida, I had a bird strike that took out and drowned one of our drones last week.

Aside from owning a small media company in Orlando, I'm also a writer at Dronblog.com and I'm getting ready to work on an article that highlights some of the worst-case scenarios some of us in the drone community might have encountered with our drones- whether bird strikes, weather phenomenon, hardware/software failure, angry bystanders (Karens and Kevins), etc.

I am wondering if anyone would care to share their stories/experiences in this regard, for me to include in the article. Full credit will of course go to anyone whose experience is used. If you'd rather not do it here, feel free to PM me :)

I also plan to outline the hazardous attitudes the FAA has identified in the Part 107 course, as well as a discussion on how to file warranty claims with Autel and DJI.

I appreciate any and all insights and fully appreciate the communities of Mavic, Phantom, Autel, Inspire, and Commercialpilots.com (those so far I have been privileged to be a part of). THANKS ALL!
I've only had a couple of GPS loss on a façade inspections that almost slammed me into the wall. Luckily I was alert and pulled back before impact. Other constructions sites have had birds nesting and my drone has been attacked a few times. Again, lucky i was paying attention and was able to land before catastrophe happens. Looking forward to hearing the stories.
 
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I've only had a couple of GPS loss on a façade inspections that almost slammed me into the wall. Luckily I was alert and pulled back before impact. Other constructions sites have had birds nesting and my drone has been attacked a few times. Again, lucky i was paying attention and was able to land before catastrophe happens. Looking forward to hearing the stories.
Thank you very much for your input Alex, it's much appreciated. I found that time I crashed my P4P was MY fault. Simply not paying attention. It's amazing how fast a split-second lapse in situational awareness can cause a catastrophe. With the Osprey that hit my drone last week, MAN, that thing dove in fast from behind me. Thankfully I only had to swim in 20-30ft of water to retrieve the drone from the seafloor.
 
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Thank you very much for your input Alex, it's much appreciated. I found that time I crashed my P4P was MY fault. Simply not paying attention. It's amazing how fast a split-second lapse in situational awareness can cause a catastrophe. With the Osprey that hit my drone last week, MAN, that thing dove in fast from behind me. Thankfully I only had to swim in 20-30ft of water to retrieve the drone from the seafloor.
That's a tough loss. I will admit, i got lucky because within a second i was flying into the balcony of a unit and if it wasnt for that additional space, i would of been against the wall.
 
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After 6 years of flying my Inspire 1 almost weekly, I crashed it about a year ago. I can only contribute this to massive WiFi interference in the area.

The day of the crash I ran post-flight forensics and found this:

1660226756840.png

Note: Though I don't have a screenshot of channels 1-15, it looked exactly the same as 16-32. I'll be flying that site today, so I'll try to remember to get a screen shot of channels 1-15.

UPDATE: Here's a screenshot of channels 1-16. Keep in mind that none of the green channels *stayed* green. There's not a single clear channel in the whole bunch. 12 has the least interference, so that's the channel I use on this site:

1660454827149.png


A normally, WiFi kind of looks like this:

1660226870770.png
1660227494645.png


As everybody knows, if your drone LOSES signal, it will RTH. But if it's bombarded with ERRONEOUS signal, it can cause it to behave erratically, which is exactly what happened to my drone before crashing to the ground below. To my huge discredit, I ignored the erratic behavior of my Inspire 1 and tried to fly the mission without a signal booster and without changing the channel to 12 (which is the only usable channel in that area). I have THREE sites I fly with this much interference. So from now on when I fly these sites, I find the "least interference" channel, and use a parabolic antenna signal booster to focus signal on the drone. I also monitor closely the uplink strength throughout the entire mission. So far, flying the above site for a little under a year post-crash, I've had no problems or incidences.

D
 
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After 6 years of flying my Inspire 1 almost weekly, I crashed it about a year ago. I can only contribute this to massive WiFi interference in the area.
Donnie, Man, I'm sorry for your loss. WOW.

I appreciate this in-depth information as it'll assist others with similar problems. Thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to send you a link to the article, once it is completed end of September. I'll be interested to hear more about your findings. THANK YOU!
 
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Donnie, Man, I'm sorry for your loss. WOW.
I appreciate it. But it was a valuable lesson learned. And my Inspire 1 ROI'd itself years ago. I was able to replace it with a gently used duplicate at a very good price. So I have no hard feelings about the experience.



I appreciate this in-depth information as it'll assist others with similar problems.
Funny, but I hardly ever see WiFi interference even mentioned in crash reports. Based on reported symptoms pre-crash, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts a very strong link could be made to WiFi interference. The problem is that in the early days (5 years ago??), there wasn't that much WiFi interference. Well now WiFi and microwaves in general have exploded. What was once a non-concern is now a major consideration. Now I check the RF of every area before I fly. It's mind blowing how many microwaves are floating around out there. 5Ghz is next.




Thank you for sharing.
You bet. My pleasure.



I'll be sure to send you a link to the article, once it is completed end of September.
Awesome. Thanx.



I'll be interested to hear more about your findings. THANK YOU!
There's not much more to tell. As you can see from my screenshots I utilize the 32-channel hack. Honestly, without it, I doubt I could fly these areas. All I did was replace WiFi complacency with WiFi diligence. Problem solved.

D
 
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Over the past few years of owning drones, I had one client shoot where I crashed one of our P4P+'s, and then while getting footage for a product review on a Gulf Coast beach here in Florida, I had a bird strike that took out and drowned one of our drones last week.

Aside from owning a small media company in Orlando, I'm getting ready to work on an article that highlights some of the worst-case scenarios some of us in the drone community might have encountered with our drones- whether bird strikes, weather phenomena, hardware/software failure, angry bystanders (Karens and Kevins), etc.

I am wondering if anyone would care to share their stories/experiences in this regard, for me to include in the article. Full credit will of course go to anyone whose experience is used. If you'd rather not do it here, feel free to PM me :)

I also plan to outline the hazardous attitudes the FAA has identified in the Part 107 course, as well as a discussion on how to file warranty claims with Autel and DJI.

I appreciate any and all insights and fully appreciate the communities of Mavic, Phantom, Autel, Inspire, and Commercialpilots.com (those so far I have been privileged to be a part of). THANKS ALL!
Just this July I was flying My Inspire 1 Pro in Seward, Alaska and it’s battery failed. Now it’s 300’ below sea level.
 
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Over the past few years of owning drones, I had one client shoot where I crashed one of our P4P+'s, and then while getting footage for a product review on a Gulf Coast beach here in Florida, I had a bird strike that took out and drowned one of our drones last week.

Aside from owning a small media company in Orlando, I'm getting ready to work on an article that highlights some of the worst-case scenarios some of us in the drone community might have encountered with our drones- whether bird strikes, weather phenomena, hardware/software failure, angry bystanders (Karens and Kevins), etc.

I am wondering if anyone would care to share their stories/experiences in this regard, for me to include in the article. Full credit will of course go to anyone whose experience is used. If you'd rather not do it here, feel free to PM me :)

I also plan to outline the hazardous attitudes the FAA has identified in the Part 107 course, as well as a discussion on how to file warranty claims with Autel and DJI.

I appreciate any and all insights and fully appreciate the communities of Mavic, Phantom, Autel, Inspire, and Commercialpilots.com (those so far I have been privileged to be a part of). THANKS ALL!
I appreciate the intention of gathering stories of our challenges and episodes with the drones. I had an incident with my 1st DJI Mini 2 that I wanted to report and I had nowhere to post it. Or, I don't know of a place to put it. The FAA's Drone Zone would be a logical place. I will post my incident shortly, but I wanted to reply to 2 of your points. Gathering the stories and hazardous attitudes the FAA has identified.
Does anyone know if the NTSB is gathering these stories? There is the regulation to report incidents and damages occurred while flying. There is also a NASA study where pilots can submit incidents prior to investigation that "gets one out of jail" if investigated.
I have 41 years of professional pilot experience and wisdom from FAA enforcement activities. The "hazardous attitude" rule is usually the 3rd strike in enforcement actions where there are other infractions are violations of other rules.
There was an incident that shows an example of the hazardous attitudes; British Airways flight 268 lost an engine on takeoff out of LAX and continued to fly it's flight plan on 3 engines all the way to Great Britain. It landed short which prompted the investigation. The Captain was charged with Hazardous Attitude.
 
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My first crash was due to some sort of electronic field from a building. We were on the boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, TX, in front of the Cidercade restaurant and County Line BBQ corporate headquarters buildings. The west building is The County Line BBQ headquarters. I had launched the drone and was pointing the drone toward downtown, when it banked 45 degrees and headed for the County Line building. I had no control. Then I heard the drone hit the glass windows. When we got over to the crash site, there was a maintenance worker that showed us the wreckage of the DJI Mini. It impacted flying backwards! That's where all the damage was. The rear propeller motors were dislodged from the arms, the battery door was cracked and the battery was dislodged. The micro sd card came out ( and lost in the flower bed, loosing 70 minutes of capture ). He told us there is an electrical field around the building that messes up people's car fods - they don't work to unlock the cars. I believe that electronic field grabbed the drone and sent it into the glass.
 
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I appreciate the intention of gathering stories of our challenges and episodes with the drones. I had an incident with my 1st DJI Mini 2 that I wanted to report and I had nowhere to post it. Or, I don't know of a place to put it. The FAA's Drone Zone would be a logical place. I will post my incident shortly, but I wanted to reply to 2 of your points. Gathering the stories and hazardous attitudes the FAA has identified...
Thank you for sharing this information. It is greatly appreciated.
 
Joined
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My first crash was due to some sort of electronic field from a building. We were on the boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, TX, in front of the Cidercade restaurant and County Line BBQ corporate headquarters buildings. The west building is The County Line BBQ headquarters. I had launched the drone and was pointing the drone toward downtown, when it banked 45 degrees and headed for the County Line building. I had no control. Then I heard the drone hit the glass windows. When we got over to the crash site, there was a maintenance worker that showed us the wreckage of the DJI Mini. It impacted flying backwards! That's where all the damage was. The rear propeller motors were dislodged from the arms, the battery door was cracked and the battery was dislodged. The micro sd card came out ( and lost in the flower bed, loosing 70 minutes of capture ). He told us there is an electrical field around the building that messes up people's car fods - they don't work to unlock the cars. I believe that electronic field grabbed the drone and sent it into the glass.
Wow, I had never heard of anything like this. CRAZY. Thank you for sharing and this will indeed go into the article. Thank you!
 

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