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Lost Inspire – No Idea How/Why
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8735 81 2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
lvl.2
Flight distance : 3760 ft
United States
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Last week I lost my 1 week old Inspire in a tree in Oregon.  I don’t know why – it may well have been my own fault, but to date DJI has been no help in trying to get ananswer and/or to get me a replacement so I can return to flying.  I’m posting my experience here so others can learn from it and possibly help me understand what happened to mine.  It would be great if someone from DJI could also help me get a replacement one way or another.

I live in Chicago and flew my new Inspire twice with no issues the weekend after purchasing it. Even with relatively strong winds the Inspire was stable to fly andresponded perfectly to all inputs – including flawlessly returning to home.

After that weekend I packed the Inspire and took it with me on a flight to Portland Oregon.  I was picking up a new car and driving it back to Chicago.  My plan was to stop periodically on the driveand fly the Inspire in various places to get photos/videos….it was an epic drive and I wanted to capture of it as possible with the Inspire.

My first flight was in a park in Oregon.  It was a clear day with a slight wind.  I took the Inspire out, calibrated the compass and took off after getting a good to fly with GPS indicator from the DJI Pilot app on my Nexus 9 tablet.  The Inspire lifted off without incident and I immediately took it up to 70 feet.  At that point, I wanted to get a 360-degree video, so I started a slow rotation with the left joystick.  The Inspire was holding itself in position against the slight breeze and start rotating just fine.  After about 270-degrees of the rotation, however, it started flying north-east without any command inputs from me.  I quickly noticed this and initiated a Return to Home from the DJI pilot app – no response at all from the Inspire.  It continued moving fairly quickly and beforeI could try anything else it had hit a tree and become stuck roughly 75 feet in the air with no way to retrieve it.  I was crushed…$3,000 worth of drone sitting in a tree and I had no clue how it got there.

I contacted DJI and they had me fill out a questionnaire providing details of the incident.  I was told that would be forwarded to “management” to review and they would let me know what (if anything) they could do to help me.  That was 10 days ago and I have not heard anything back.  I’ve called the support line three times andwas told I simply had to keep waiting for management to review the incident andget back to me…no ETA on when that would be and no option to escalate theissue.  It’s incredibly frustrating.

It’s possible I did something wrong.  If so, I am ok purchasing a replacement and looking at it as a (very expensive) lesson learned.  I can’t help feeling, however, that I lost the unit because of some sort of defect as it did not perform as it did on earlier flights or as advertised.  Maybe flying it cross country somehow caused an issue with the sensors, I don’t know but I would REALLY like to understand.

I have the flight log from the app on my tablet, I’ve recorded a video of the replay and included a link to it below.  Is there any way to get more details from the log?  Things like controller inputs, GPS data logs,etc…things that might help understand what caused it to take off?

Also, does anyone know if it’s possible to purchase JUST a replacement drone?  I have the 2 controllers that came with the bundle along with the case/charger/etc.  If DJI won’t replace is as defective, I really don’t want to have to purchase another full kit and end up with 3 controllers, 2 cases, 2 chargers…


2015-3-27
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Tahoe_Ed
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It would seem to me that you could hire a lift to retrieve your Inspire rather than just writing it off.   From what you stated it appears that you had a compass error that turned off the GPS.  You were flying in ATTI mode.  If you took no action then it would accelerate.  RTH will not work if you have no GPS.  We currently do not sell bare Inspires.  Sorry.
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
lvl.2
Flight distance : 3760 ft
United States
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Hiring a lift isn't a viable option....it was too far back in the woods for a lift to get to (not to mention that I live in Chicago and it is in Oregon).

I'm confused about the compass turning off GPS mode.  I calibrated it before takeoff and the DJI pilot app showed that it was ready for GPS flight, why would that change 45 seconds into the flight?  Also, how do you know what mode I was set to fly in?  Is that visible on the flight log video?  I honestly don't recall what mode I had it set to and I don't have the controller with me at work.
2015-3-27
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Ph02on
lvl.4
Flight distance : 75673 ft
United Kingdom
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That is indeed bad luck.  You say you initiated a RTH.  Did you have a minimum flight level programmed into the failsafe altitude?  If you didn't then I believe a RTH will use the default altitude which is set at 20M (approx 65 feet).  If this was the case, then the RTH would have decended the craft into the trees as it tries to reach the default altitude.   It is always a good idea to set the failsafe minimum to safely clear the highest obstacles around you, so that if you must initiate a RTH, then the aircraft will climb away out of danger of the highest obstacles before it decends from overhead.

PS. I think I would have thrown rocks or anything just to get it down, rather have a broken inspire than no inspire.

I hope everything works out for you

Jason.
2015-3-27
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averbouwens
Second Officer
Flight distance : 83642 ft
United States
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I live in Oregon... I can go check to see if it is down or ??  We have wind and it looks like with some wind, it just might fall.  Can you tell me what park you were in?  Thanks
2015-3-27
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bostonlines
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Flight distance : 1045558 ft
United States
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How about a tall ladder and a very long stick?  Or maybe hire another heavy duty hexacopter operator and attach a hook to a line as a rescue mission.  Not sure if you can pay him since it would be considered commercial use .  Did you buy it through American Express?  They have purchase protection for up to $1000.00.  Did you have insurance?  Hopefully it works out.
2015-3-27
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Acidsnow
Second Officer
Flight distance : 13 ft
Canada
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Sounds like the problem I've read people having on here... I believe I remember them saying the app needs to be updated... People losing gps within the first minute... That means you probably ended up atti mode and the wind took it...? Maybe?
2015-3-27
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jonathanp
Second Officer
Flight distance : 519275 ft
Canada
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I would have got a saw or chainsaw and cut a few branches to retrieve that poor drone.  Were you on the latest firmware?
2015-3-27
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FlyingSquirrel
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Flight distance : 14803934 ft
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Argentina
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Jon, how much experience do you have with flying? You mention this is was your first week of flight. If you had no prior experience I would say to you and others that are just beginning: START LOW - START SLOW!!!! That way you'll learn that when GPS stops working the ship will drift as fast as the wind is blowing... the more wind the nastier the surprise of a drift and the faster reaction you have to have on controls. Anyway, Im sorry for your loss dude. DJI products as nice as they are, they are pretty far from 100% - they are trying though and in some cases like the phantom I think they are getting really close.

Have averbouwens recover it for you! Do you have any maps in your device that will help him look for it?

2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
lvl.2
Flight distance : 3760 ft
United States
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Ph02on Posted at 2015-3-28 02:47
That is indeed bad luck.  You say you initiated a RTH.  Did you have a minimum flight level programm ...

Hey Jason.

I did not have a min altitude set for the RTH, honestly I didn't even know that was possible.  That said, it never responded to the RTH command at all - it just kept flying away from me even after hitting the RTH button until it hit the trees.  

I did try throwing some baseballs I had in the car at it, but I couldn't even throw them high enough to get close to it.  Throwing something 70+ feet straight up is harder than it sounds :-)

jon
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
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averbouwens Posted at 2015-3-28 03:22
I live in Oregon... I can go check to see if it is down or ??  We have wind and it looks like with s ...

It's in Viento State Park - about 30 mins east of Portland.  Link to the EXACT location below.  The tree it's in is about 40-50 feet off the trail leading to the river.

IF you (or anyone...) was able to find/retrieve it, I would be VERY grateful!!

https://www.google.com/maps/dir//45.6994236,-121.6673772/@45.6993791,-121.6675368,20z
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
United States
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bostonlines@gma Posted at 2015-3-28 03:30
How about a tall ladder and a very long stick?  Or maybe hire another heavy duty hexacopter operator ...

I considered the ladder/stick, but honestly...it's just too high.  Maybe with a REALLY long ladder, but honestly...I was on a trip and couldn't really get a lot of gear together.

If someone wanted to mount a rescue attempt with another copter, I'd certainly be willing to offer a reward...but no insurance against them losing their own copter!

I actually did purchase it with an AMEX card, but it was a corporate card...and they don't offer purchase protection on those.

jon
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
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jonathanp Posted at 2015-3-28 03:48
I would have got a saw or chainsaw and cut a few branches to retrieve that poor drone.  Were you on  ...

The problem was that there were no branches for the first 30-40 feet of the tree, so no way to even get remotely close to it.

Yes, I had the latest firmware on both the drone and controller.
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
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Acidsnow Posted at 2015-3-28 03:47
Sounds like the problem I've read people having on here... I believe I remember them saying the app  ...

That sounds like the behavior I saw, but I did have the latest firmware and app installed (as of 3/13).
2015-3-27
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arunmehta
Second Officer
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Jon,
if you read this forum you will realize that what happened to you is a predictable and a  salvageable event. There is a bug in 0.17 firmware(latest) where one loses gps after a few minutes into the flight and the plane goes into atti mode. AT THis point you HAVE TO be quick  and NOT PANICK but take manual control and "steer" the plane away from trees and such.

That is why it is highly advisable to learn ATTI mode(manual mode). I am sorry for your loss.
2015-3-27
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GB44
Captain
Flight distance : 343848 ft
United Kingdom
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jon.rauschenber Posted at 2015-3-28 04:05
The problem was that there were no branches for the first 30-40 feet of the tree, so no way to eve ...

I thought there were plenty of lumberjacks in the USA, if not get a tree surgeon to climb the tree for you and retrieve the Inspire.
2015-3-27
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Grimtheviking
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Similar thing happened to me AGAIN today, It went it to atti mode just after take-off,
after quickly showing a compass interference error message but luckily I was high enough to miss trees and I reacted quick enough to regain control in atti mode, it only lasted for maybe 30 seconds until it regained Gps mode,
since the last firmware update the Inspire has become a little unpredictable.
I send mine up to a safe clearance height immediately on take-off 40/50 meters. , depending on surroundings.

I hope you manage to recover yours Jon as I am sure you will, lots of good suggestions coming through already,.
2015-3-27
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DJK
New
Flight distance : 44154 ft
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Leaving it here was an interesting choice. If it is still there, there are a multitude of ways to get down. I would start with a cheap fishing pole and cast a line behind it...pull up a bigger line...etc... until you can find away to pull/shake the branch, or catch and yank the inspire. For that much money, I would pay someone to help, or drive back and get it.

Perhaps you missed something in the pre-flight procedure you ran, but learning to fly it in atti mode with full stick inputs is imperative.

Did the inspire respond to any of your control inputs?
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
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GB44 Posted at 2015-3-28 04:41
I thought there were plenty of lumberjacks in the USA, if not get a tree surgeon to climb the tree ...

A big part of the problem is that it's in a state park.  No commercial tree service company is going to bring people/equipment into a state part...and I have to assume my chances of getting such a permit are not good.
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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arunmehta Posted at 2015-3-28 04:33
Jon,
if you read this forum you will realize that what happened to you is a predictable and a  salva ...

What seems surprising/disappointing to me is DJI's lack of response to this.

I called again today to try and get a response to my ticket and was told "management is reviewing it, there's nothing that can be done to escalate it".  Even if the response is "not our problem, you should have learned to fly in ATTI mode" that's better than simply not responding.

Lastly, it seems just unbelievable that there is no way to purchase JUST a replacement drone.  The controllers are $700, so anyone that loses a unit has to purchase a full kit and end up with close to $1,000 of unneeded equipment (controller, carry case, charger...) as a result!
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
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DJK Posted at 2015-3-28 05:11
Leaving it here was an interesting choice. If it is still there, there are a multitude of ways to ge ...

I did try several things to get it down including fishing line and balloons.  It's a dense forest and a high tree.  If I lived in the area, I would have been more likely to get some sort of rube goldbergian solution that might have worked, but remember it was in a state park so at some point I likely would not have been able to do all the things you might on private property...

2015-3-27
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kelleyre
lvl.4
Flight distance : 59199 ft
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I can't get your coordinates to work

2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
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jon.rauschenber Posted at 2015-3-28 04:02
It's in Viento State Park - about 30 mins east of Portland.  Link to the EXACT location below.  Th ...

Not sure why that link didn't work, here it is again:

Location
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
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kelleyre@gmail. Posted at 2015-3-28 05:38
I can't get your coordinates to work

Try this:

Location
2015-3-27
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kelleyre
lvl.4
Flight distance : 59199 ft
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Thanks  
that worked
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
lvl.2
Flight distance : 3760 ft
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If you are able to find/retrieve it...let me know :-)
2015-3-27
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jon.rauschenber
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Flight distance : 3760 ft
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No, the tree-tops at that level we gently swaying at most.  There was wind, but it was nothing more than a gentle breeze.

It really seems like what Tahoe_Ed said in his reply is the most likely answer:
you had a compass error that turned off the GPS.  You were flying in ATTI mode.  If you took no action then it would accelerate.  RTH will not work if you have no GPS.

I'd love to know what that compass error was because the consequences of it are pretty severe.
2015-3-27
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GB44
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jon.rauschenber Posted at 2015-3-28 06:39
No, the tree-tops at that level we gently swaying at most.  There was wind, but it was nothing more  ...

Can you not take a logger or lumberjack up there and get him to climb the tree.  There must be someone who can climb a tree.  What about any communications guys.  I reckon all you need is some climbing irons on your boots and one of those leather straps slung round the tree.  Do you not know any tree doctors landscape gardeners or loggers ?

Perhaps someone on the forum may know someone if you start a new thread for help.
2015-3-27
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GB44
Captain
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We will all probably benefit from the data logs if you get the Inspire back and send them off to DJI.  Must be so frustrating knowing where it actually is.
2015-3-27
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Theo ter Haar
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kelleyre@gmail. Posted at 2015-3-28 05:38
I can't get your coordinates to work

try to enter this in google earth and youre there

N45.6993791,W121.667536

Take a chainsaw with ya, the rest is up to you, good luck
2015-3-27
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GeneralToner
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Ok, that doesn't look to bad.  I'm east coast or would give a try.  Slingshot with fishing-line on a few washers tied to heavier string.  Hook the bird (or nearby branch) and start shaking.  Maybe to simplistic but it's just an old tool old-timers used when didn't have today's controls.
2015-3-27
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leostrat_54
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GeneralToner Posted at 2015-3-28 07:52
Ok, that doesn't look to bad.  I'm east coast or would give a try.  Slingshot with fishing-line on a ...

Shoot a fishing arrow over the limb and shake it. If that doesn't work break the limb if possible.
2015-3-27
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Colonel Angus
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jon.rauschenber Posted at 2015-3-28 04:05
The problem was that there were no branches for the first 30-40 feet of the tree, so no way to eve ...

I had the same issue with a trainer uav I bought a year ago here is what I did.
I put 3 telescoping poles together via duct tape bought them at a home depot.I was able to nudge the uav and it came cascading down at my feet undamaged.
Jon I hope you get it down this may work for you.
Look at boat cleaning poles that extend or painting poles..
2015-3-27
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SkySight
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In the beginning of the the video it looked like the inspire was circling around a point. It looks like it was trying to get a GPS fix that it didn't have but was holding tight while it tried. It then decided it couldn't for some reason and off it went. I'm sorry this occurred. It looks like it is in perfect condition. Heck, how much would renting a pilot and heli cost to go up and drop a hook out of the door? I can rent one around here for a few hundred an hour. You would only need an hour and its worth it instead of losing thousands I'd think. I'm sorry this went down. I hope you can get it down.
2015-3-27
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RichJ53
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jon.rauschenber Posted at 2015-3-28 06:39
No, the tree-tops at that level we gently swaying at most.  There was wind, but it was nothing more  ...

Jon, that is truly a bummer, I live in Oregon too but on the other end of the state. There are many services in our state to help and many tree climbers or loggers that could have helped you.
It would be a 330 mile trip for me but I will try and reach out to folks in that area.

It is very windy in the Columbia Gorge and it can be pretty tricky flying for sure. I surprised you said it wasn't windy there. This is where a majority of our green energy wind farms are located and I have traveled to some of them for my work.
2015-3-27
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ElliotTeskey
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Hi Jon....sorry for your mishap.  GB44 above has the solution.  Get hold of a tree  removal company and they will get it down for  you.  These guys climb and limb trees of all sizes routinely.  They can take a tree apart from the top down in a subdivision and not damage anything.  It may cost you a couple of hundred but will be worth it.
Good luck......on another note you have to learn to fly without all the bells and whistles in Attitude mode in wind with precision.  The simulator is a good place to start or check out the Eflight Blade Namo QX tiny quad copter.  It is a great little trainer and is almost indestructible.  You can fly it into walls and drop it onto the ground and it doesn't break.  If you can fly it you can easily fly the inspire on
Atti
Hope everything works out.
2015-3-27
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stephenbrink62
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Flight distance : 380522 ft
South Africa
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Hey Jon.....sorry for your loss m8.....why don't you sell the control's and the rest of the accessories to try get some money back, towards buying a new one. I had one flight with my Inspire 1 and had the same problem jumping between GPS to ATTI mode.....landed and grounded for now until the firmware has been fixed. Sticking with my Phantom for now that is really solid. Hope you come right.
2015-3-27
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Sateh
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Hello Jon. I feel sorry for you, loosing such a drone, for an invaluable reason. After all, and this is in my opinion, nothing happens without a good reason. Your Inspire flew away because of some good reason, maybe you don't know it yet, but you will in some time. I lost my Phantom 2 Vision +, 2months ago. At the beginning, all I thought about was that I might have done something wrong, the drone went out non responsive to my commands, even after I turned off the RC, it did not return to the takeoff position. A weird flyaway, that got some explanations two weeks later. It was the firmware upgrade to V3.10 that made me loose the drone, and it was not my fault.
But now, and in your case, my only explanation for what happened to you, is the K-Index.
Try to download the app on your mobile device, and never never try to take off your drone in GPS mode if the index is 5 and above.
Read about it, and you will understand. Google it.
I posted a thread about it, 10 days ago on the Inspire 1 forums. Search for K-Index and read the thread.
2015-3-28
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GB44
Captain
Flight distance : 343848 ft
United Kingdom
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jon.rauschenber Posted at 2015-3-28 06:39
No, the tree-tops at that level we gently swaying at most.  There was wind, but it was nothing more  ...

Jon,

What about using telescopic surveying ladders :

http://www.laddersalesdirect.co. ... escopic-ladder.html

Just a suggestion.  

What about also contacting the local ranger if it is a park, he may be able to help or advise further.

There is always more than one way to do something so dont give up just yet, may be one solution  or suggestion on the forum may just be the answer you need.
2015-3-28
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arunmehta
Second Officer
Flight distance : 120909757 ft
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http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/planetary-k-index

K-INDEX live
BTW k-index has nothing to do with Jon's loss....it is a BUG in the latest iteration of firmware.....0.17
2015-3-28
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