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Spark flew away :( Need advice please
1048 19 2017-8-18
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Minniethedrone
lvl.1
Canada
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I've had my Spark for a couple of months now and I have loved it.
Last weekend I flew my drone at a house party. I was at 87 meters up, 27 meters away and about 3 minutes into my flight with 65% battery remaining when I got the following warnings:
- Current RTH route will pass through a no fly zone (I had checked the map and saw no 'no fly zone's)
- Compass error
- IMU Heading exception (in flight)

I was confused as I had a good amount of satellites and I was in GPS mode before I took off. I tried to bring it down to a lower altitude and I hit the Return Home button. Then I got the following warning:
- Abnormal Compass Function - switched to Atti (I got this message 9 times in very quick succession)
Nothing worked and I stood there panicking as my drone flew away at top speed!! Then it looked like the 'Landing' function was working (I got the 'obstacle avoidance will be disabled in landing' message) followed by a Command Timeout. Then the controller said it was disconnected. I checked the GPS to see where it landed and of course it told me it was where I was standing which it obviously was not. My husband and I searched for almost two hours and we finally found it in a nearby field. It looked as though it had flown until the battery had died and then fell out of the sky and hit a fence post on the way down as it was upside down when we found it with zero battery life.

Shortly after it flew away a very small plane flew over nearby. (This was surprising to me as the area looked clear according to the map).


Can someone please explain what happened here? I'm sorry if this is basic knowledge but I'm a relatively new pilot and I really want to learn what happened here so I don't repeat my mistakes.

*Not sure if this has anything to do with anything, but a few days prior I had flown my Spark and when I was finished the controller wouldn't turn. off.

2017-8-18
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DJI Diana
Administrator
Flight distance : 2408 ft

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Sorry to hear about the drone accident, have you contacted the Support to start a case? I would recommend you send it in for diagnosis and repair, the support will create a case and submit a data analysis for you. http://www.dji.com/support
2017-8-18
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S-e-ven
Captain
Flight distance : 5831237 ft
Thailand
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First: I can't explain the fly away.
I have an idea, maybe there is a strong radio source, somewhere near by.
Or even a microwave radio relay, you flew into.
"Current RTH route will pass through a no fly zone (I had checked the map and saw no 'no fly zone's)"
I had some of these "current route will pass through NFZ" myself, even in a rubber plantation.
So there seems to be an issue with that.
I think it can be GPS trouble.

And to this:
"Shortly after it flew away a very small plane flew over nearby. (This was surprising to me as the area looked clear according to the map)."

I actually had that surprise too, one day.
In my case it's privat sightseeing flights, by Cessna and small Helis.
Scaring for me was only, that there flightpath is very deep, approximate just above (I hope) of the legal flight height for drones.
More scaring was, just 2 minutes before I saw the plane just a little bit higher as my own position, I flew, crossed its path twice.
And coming from a take of ground about 80m higher, as the ground where the plane aproximately flew under/just about in 200m height, it could have been a unwanted encounter.
I actually found it on my video, when I watched it, BELOW my drones height.
Which again, height over high ground (Spark), a "bit" extended, to height over (about) sea level (Cessna), approximate a little lowered for the customer?

I actually could find a map, online, with these commercial sightseeing pathes.
By the way I found out, that DJI NFZ map is missing minimum one heliport and one private airfield in the surroundings here.
As is UAE forecast
2017-8-18
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Minniethedrone
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Canada
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DJI Diana Posted at 2017-8-18 22:06
Sorry to hear about the drone accident, have you contacted the Support to start a case? I would recommend you send it in for diagnosis and repair, the support will create a case and submit a data analysis for you. http://www.dji.com/support

I haven't. Thanks for letting me know. I will contact Support!
2017-8-18
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Minniethedrone
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Canada
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S-e-ven Posted at 2017-8-18 22:09
First: I can't explain the fly away.
I have an idea, maybe there is a strong radio source, somewhere near by.
Or even a microwave radio relay, you flew into.

Thanks for your response! Sorry to hear you've had some of the same challenges. Especially your flightpath scare! Yikes!!

I do wonder if I flew into some kind of interference as you said. It makes me sad because now I'm afraid to fly!
2017-8-18
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DJI Diana
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Minniethedrone Posted at 2017-8-18 22:23
I haven't. Thanks for letting me know. I will contact Support!

You are welcome,  hope everything goes smoothly. should you have any further questions about it, please provide us with your case number, we'd like to check it for you.
2017-8-18
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S-e-ven
Captain
Flight distance : 5831237 ft
Thailand
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There are more important things, to worry about:

Missing the perfect videoshot, because the drone tells you, b/c of battery level it has to come home right now. ;-)

So dont be to afraid, only as careful, as possible.
In the end it is more fun, as worrying the buck!
Oh: Get a drone insurance.
2017-8-18
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Minniethedrone
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Canada
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I've been trying to dig around via Google and am just realizing that I was standing on the deck of my friend's pool when I took off/was controlling the drone. It seems like that may have something to do with it??
2017-8-18
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S-e-ven
Captain
Flight distance : 5831237 ft
Thailand
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So talk with DJI and get 'em your blackbox datas
2017-8-18
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Spark_M
lvl.1
Flight distance : 44606 ft
United Kingdom
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Re first poster:

" I've had my Spark for a couple of months now and I have loved it.
Last weekend I flew my drone at a house party. I was at 87 meters up, 27 meters away and about 3 minutes into my flight with 65% battery remaining when I got the following warnings:
- Current RTH route will pass through a no fly zone (I had checked the map and saw no 'no fly zone's)
- Compass error
- IMU Heading exception (in flight)"




I have experienced the same issue - bar the plane flying over.


Case with DJI support under number 696615  
2017-8-19
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hallmark007
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Flight distance : 6342851 ft
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Spark_M Posted at 2017-8-19 13:40
Re first poster:

" I've had my Spark for a couple of months now and I have loved it.

The warning should have been , current RTH route will pass close to NFZ . It has absolutely nothing to do with compass or IMU. The message is just over sensitive and should be changed soon with new software/firmware.
Many get this warning for no reason.
2017-8-19
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hallmark007
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S-e-ven Posted at 2017-8-18 22:09
First: I can't explain the fly away.
I have an idea, maybe there is a strong radio source, somewhere near by.
Or even a microwave radio relay, you flew into.

First off passing an NFZ zone warning has nothing to do with compass or Imu heading, this NFZ warning is just a warning that is set to sensitive, it's happening in a lot of sparks and will have no effect on your flight, I get it on almost all flights, it will be fixed soon in new software/firmware.

Regarding your flight can you upload logs to link below and follow instructions come back here and post the link I will have a look at what happened, and you might be able to get last coordinates of where it finished.

http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
2017-8-19
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S-e-ven
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Flight distance : 5831237 ft
Thailand
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-8-19 14:22
First off passing an NFZ zone warning has nothing to do with compass or Imu heading, this NFZ warning is just a warning that is set to sensitive, it's happening in a lot of sparks and will have no effect on your flight, I get it on almost all flights, it will be fixed soon in new software/firmware.

Regarding your flight can you upload logs to link below and follow instructions come back here and post the link I will have a look at what happened, and you might be able to get last coordinates of where it finished.

Thanks for the offer, hallmark.

But my comment "first: I can't explain the fly away" was a hint for the OP, that I have no explanation for here fly away. My spark, till now, came always back.
Maybe a "your", instead of a "the" could have cleared that for first line readers
2017-8-19
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Spark_M
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Flight distance : 44606 ft
United Kingdom
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Thank you for your offer of help hallmark007. I found the Spark under a nearby tree, it crashed into at 32 mph. It seems like YAW error, then compass error, then IMU heading exception.

Flight records uploaded to http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/SFD9P9LVNR7ZNY6M9OUE/

Video file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/iyawe0 ... 2016.49.32.mp4?dl=0
2017-8-25
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hallmark007
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Spark_M Posted at 2017-8-25 05:28
Thank you for your offer of help hallmark007. I found the Spark under a nearby tree, it crashed into at 32 mph. It seems like YAW error, then compass error, then IMU heading exception.

Flight records uploaded to http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/SFD9P9LVNR7ZNY6M9OUE/


First off this is what occurs in your situation.

Why would a compass error disable GPS?
Orientation (compass data) and position (GPS data) are different but related.
When the Spark is moving and getting position information from the GPS that tells the Spark that it is travelling in a different direction from what it's getting from compass data, The Spark programming can't work with the data conflict.
The solution is to drop data from one source and since the Spark can't fly without a compass but can without GPS, it's the GPS data that gets dropped.

Yaw error is just magnetic interference sometimes registered as mag yaw.

There have been some compass problems with Sparks lately or your issue may have been related to something you did.
I'd be curious about when and where you calibrated it and where you launched from as these may be relevant factors.

You were having serious handling problems early on in your flight, I imagine you were getting warnings , at 1.20 you were almost on the ground, really that was the time to land, but you regained gps and started to climb, only to be faced with more compass problems and by this time AC was drifting and you were loosing control, although you were doing the right thing throttling down this was the only stick you were pushing on so drifting was also occurring, really in Atti mode you need to be continually pushing very hard on all stick movements to get proper control. Although on both occasions going into Atti mode you were doing a reasonable good job. When you see minus figure on your log and gps mismatch that's just when it crashed.

It's great that you found it , hopefully not to much damage, I'll leave you link below might help you with getting ready for flight.
Good luck..

https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... &fromuid=260008

2017-8-25
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Spark_M
lvl.1
Flight distance : 44606 ft
United Kingdom
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Thank you. Good explanation & advice.

I learned to fly with a Parrot mini - lots of drift the entire time - so can normally handle ATTI mode if it occurs.

With the spark, I did not really see a response to my down input or any of the other inputs I made. When the spark switched to ATTI mode, rapid acceleration took place, far above the wind speed.

Re calibration: good point. Probably last calibrated when prompted - over a concrete jetty near the water. reinforcement bars might have played a role.

There was no visible damage.

DJI support have asked for me to send it in as the flight was out of control.
2017-8-25
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fansa7dc5944
Second Officer
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I think I read somewhere in this forum regarding NFZ message then compass/imu error then flyaway. I guess it started from gps malfunctioning that trigger the NFZ message but the fc could not detect the gps error. GPS and compass are tied. And that error of GPS is related to compass error message. This must be in-flight malfunctioning of the navigation system. Nothing about flight environment.
2017-8-25
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hallmark007
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fansa7dc5944 Posted at 2017-8-25 07:39
I think I read somewhere in this forum regarding NFZ message then compass/imu error then flyaway. I guess it started from gps malfunctioning that trigger the NFZ message but the fc could not detect the gps error. GPS and compass are tied. And that error of GPS is related to compass error message. This must be in-flight malfunctioning of the navigation system. Nothing about flight environment.

NFZ warning has nothing to do with this problem, that's just a glitch in dji's mapping of NFZ I think there was a fix for it in new f/w , I was getting that message all the time, but since new f/w it seems to be gone.
2017-8-25
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fanse9637474
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Flight distance : 46923 ft
United Kingdom
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I had the same thing happen to me in Bali last week - took off fine, lots of GPS satellites locked in and then a host of errors (compass, no fly zone, wind) and eventually it crashed and landed somewhere.  I really don't know if I'd feel safe flying one again.
2017-8-25
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Charles Adams
Second Officer
Flight distance : 294528 ft
United States
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Most of my flight locations have been where there are few structures that may cause interference, and I've had very few of these issues that others report.  So many of the reported problems show flights in town/city terrain.  I'm not intending to criticize the flight choices of others, but I do feel (as others have stated) that judicious choice of flight location, launch location, and strong adherence to the warnings can really help prevent a lot of these difficulties.  Based on my flight experiences, I do feel it's safe to fly a spark.
2017-8-25
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