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Mavic Air Landing Close Call - Lesson Learned!
876 7 2018-3-8
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Spaceman_66
Second Officer
Flight distance : 81575 ft
United States
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All, I learned a super valuable lesson this past weekend. Fortunately my Mavic Air survived its first (minor) crash completely unscathed other than props.

It was late in the golden hour on Saturday 03 March, approaching twilight on the ground but the sunset sky was still on fire. As I often do for these shots, I simply launched from my front driveway, probably a good 10 feet or more away from my house. Then by limiting myself to ONLY left stick inputs, I can get to the desired altitude and pan / rudder around slowly to get a nice cinematic video. Then, since I haven't translated at all, I can confidently just bring her straight down pretty much right back where she took off and get a nice landing shot in the process.

Unfortunately, I did it to myself this time. Because I have some fine motor control challenges in my left fingers (long story), I often find it convenient when trying to hold a constant small yaw rate, to reach around the controller and just use my right hand fingers for better fine control. So I was doing that but inadvertently (didn't realize it until I played back the flight record and there it was plain as day) had at one point barely nudged the right stick backwards just a tad, which had the effect of moving me a bit such that I was now directly over the corner of my house / garage.

I didn't realize it (focused on getting the shot...) and so when I brought her down (falsely confident as to where she would put down) I didn't do either of 2 things that could have EASILY avoided what happened.  First, had I just visually looked up before starting the descent I would almost certainly have realized the drone was not where I thought it was. Second, had I taken a moment to pitch the camera straight down before committing to the descent I would also have immediately seen where I was and adjusted my position accordingly.

Anyway, I carelessly did neither; that's the lesson. All was well until she suddently clipped the rain gutter and started to tip, then sorta sucked herself to the closed garage door and slid down (fortunately I had the PolarPro landing leg extensions on, so only they made contact with the door). Then she started to flop over, and I THINK went past 90 degrees and the motors shut down. She flopped down on her back on the top of my shoe.

I just plain got lucky. She could have been destroyed. She could have hit & injured me. Scared the crap out of me, as she made strange noises and fluttered down practically on top of me "out of the blue."

Lesson learned; I certainly may make others, but won't ever make that particular mistake again. Fortunately, after a thorough inspection there is not a scratch on her. Two propeller tips got shaved down & one of them was cracked as well. Another prop had some surface scuffing only. The fourth prop is unscathed. I replaced all 4 to be safe and she flew just fine the next day. No issues whatsoever.

Here's a frame grab from mid-fall. You can see the garage door and one exterior coach light. From what I worked out pretty much had to be the geometry of the fall, I think she was tipped over near 90 degrees in right yaw, and the gimbal was doing its very best to compensate and remain horizontal.

I'm looking forward to pulling the flight records / black box data to see just what got captured during the event.

Fly safe, everyone!

Mavic Air (Mild) Crash Landing

Mavic Air (Mild) Crash Landing
2018-3-8
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Spaceman_66
Second Officer
Flight distance : 81575 ft
United States
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...sorry, should have said right ROLL, not yaw...
2018-3-8
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ghostrdr
First Officer
Flight distance : 1272723 ft
Canada
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I always "look' my Mavic to the ground.
2018-3-8
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Spaceman_66
Second Officer
Flight distance : 81575 ft
United States
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ghostrdr Posted at 2018-3-8 10:41
I always "look' my Mavic to the ground.

I used to faithfully; have new religion now!

But I do very much miss the gimbal down/forward toggle option the Spark had for custom RC button assignments. The MA does at least have a fwd toggle, but you still have to drive it down manually with either the wheel or the on-screen drag thing.
2018-3-8
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hallmark007
Captain
Flight distance : 6284636 ft
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Ireland
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Good save, the importance of VLOS, we all get careless and most of us end up lucky , glad everything is ok and your still flying.
2018-3-8
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 2016040 ft
Netherlands
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Thanks for sharing your experience!
2018-3-8
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Acenspades
lvl.4
United States
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ghostrdr Posted at 2018-3-8 10:41
I always "look' my Mavic to the ground.

Same.
But TBH, when i activate RTH, i wait until the Air is right over me.  Then i cancel RTH and manually land it.  
2018-3-8
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StanfordWebbie
Captain
Flight distance : 178018 ft
United States
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Thanks for telling this story.  Helps us all to learn.
2018-3-8
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