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Close Call - IMU and Compass Error
405 2 2017-10-20
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Flight distance : 1661591 ft
United States

I was following a kayaker over a river about 3m above the water.
Approached a very large bridge with power lines next to it.

I turned around maybe 5m from the power lines and immediately after
these messages popped up and I lost control and drifted (away from the bridge and power lines)
wildly in the 5-10 km/h wind.

After I few seconds I told it to ascend and it stablized and I was able to regain control, return and land.
Fortunately I was in the middle of a fairly large river and didn't hit any trees.
I think ascending helped it regain GPS.

I think getting so close to the bridge may have blocked some of the GPS satellites.
I've been fairly close (unwittingly) to high voltage power lines before but above them.
I think there must be much stronger interference when the drone is between the power lines
and the ground.

I'm certainly going to avoid power lines (and power substations) much more carefully now.

Also the "please switch to atti mode" message seems incorrect.
There is no way to manually switch into or out of Atti mode on a Spark, is there?
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Kloo Gee
Flight distance : 11937382 ft
  • >>>
United States

As a direct answer to your question at the very end, you are correct, the message is misleading as there is no option for this on the Spark.  

I think your problem wasn't GPS at all, it was the very large metal bridge causing a compass error.  For some reason, DJI has decided when there is a compass error to shut down the GPS system and go into ATTI mode and let you float with the wind.  There has been lots of debate on this topic in this forum.  I for one argue that DJI shouldn't just dump out of GPS mode if there is a compass error.  Others disagree.  But that is for another thread!  

Sounds like you took the appropriate action to gain some altitude and get away from the interfering objects which allowed the Spark to get its wits about itself again and allow for a normal function after that.

Good job with your reactions and saving your Spark!
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DJI Elektra

You are lucky that your spark regain GPS finally. Since you fly near high voltage power lines, it would have a bad interference on the RC and compass. Please double check the place you fly and avoid flying with interference.
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