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Help lost P4!!!
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NickB1970
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Been having issues with drone controller (beeping constantly) and after several internet searches  which indicated this to be  a stick, not centring (removed my stick tensioner attachments) then I  had issues with the camera not displaying thought  I had fixed the problems as the drone was ok at home without props on (no beeping and camera working) etcSo I took it to my local field to do a test flight to run through the controls
So after doing all my preflight checks and recalibrating the compass as requested by the app I took off, no issue at first.
Then I had a magnetic error show up at an altitude of 216ft and distance of 184ft  flicked over to the atti mode  to bring the drone back down but none of the controls were responding correctly  I would gain control then it would go again and the P4 just kept going higher and further away and no matter what I did the drone just would not respond

In the end, it took off like a banshee before  I lost visual sight of it and I eventually lost connection with the controller
I've reported it to the Police just to be on the safe side,  plus I also gave them details of my PLI just as a matter of precaution
If someone can help me upload the log details  so we can work out what went wrong
Thanks in advance
Nick
Note I'm not a novice pilot


2018-6-1
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Labroides
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after doing all my preflight checks and recalibrating the compass as requested by the app
I suspect that's the cause of your problem.
The app didn't ask for you to recalibrate the compass (it never does).
DJI's error message wording is very poor.
It says Move Aircraft or Calibrate Compass.
But most people don't ever see the first part of the message.
The correct action is always to move the aircraft away from the magnetic problem that your compass is warning you about.
Recalibrating won't do anything to solve the problem.

To get the recorded flight data which might help, go to http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
Follow the instructions there to upload your flight record from your phone or tablet.
Come back and post a link to the report it gives you.

It will only have data up to the point contact was lost but perhaps it will help narrow down the likely search area?

2018-6-1
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NickB1970
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Hope I've done this flight log
2018-6-1
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Geebax
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 16:18
Hope I've done this flight log

What surface was the aircraft on when you started it up?
2018-6-1
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NickB1970
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Geebax Posted at 2018-6-1 16:30
What surface was the aircraft on when you started it up?

was on a concrete path
2018-6-1
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Labroides
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 16:18
Hope I've done this flight log

Unfortunately that's not going to help much to find the lost Phantom.
It confirms that you had a yaw error situation which fits with what you described.
The Phantom took off with it's compass giving wrong heading data so the Phantom has trouble doing anything normally.  It can't fly straight and can't RTH.
It's going to be somewhere further to the E-NE but it's not possible to tell where.
2018-6-1
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NickB1970
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Labroides Posted at 2018-6-1 16:33
Unfortunately that's not going to help much to find the lost Phantom.
It confirms that you had a yaw error situation which fits with what you described.
The Phantom took off with it's compass giving wrong heading data so the Phantom has trouble doing anything normally.  It can't fly straight and can't RTH.

Do you think it was pilot error or malfunction error
2018-6-1
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Hellsgate
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 16:18
Hope I've done this flight log

What whent wrong was you calibrated your compass.
You obviously took off from an area that had some form of magnetic interference. A contrete slab or near a fence or car.
This issue has been discussed in many threads.
If the app asks you to do a compass calibration prior to flight DONT DO IT.
what you should have done is shut everything down move to another location then try again if you still get this error then move even further away and try again.
Im very sorry for your loss but this simply comes down to user error unfortunatly.
2018-6-1
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Geebax
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 16:31
was on a concrete path

Aha. That was most probably the cause. The concrete probably had steel reinforcing in it, which would cause a bad compass initialisation when you powered the aircraft on.
2018-6-1
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Labroides
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Hellsgate Posted at 2018-6-1 16:36
What whent wrong was you calibrated your compass.
You obviously took off from an area that had some form of magnetic interference. A contrete slab or near a fence or car.
This issue has been discussed in many threads.

If you have travelled a long distance many hundreds or thousands of kilometers away then you maybe justified to calibrate the compass.
Not even then.
Compass calibration has nothing to do with geographic location or magnetic declination or distance from anywhere.
It only helps the flight controller work out what magnetic fields belong to the Phantom so it can ignore them.
2018-6-1
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NickB1970
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Geebax Posted at 2018-6-1 16:37
Aha. That was most probably the cause. The concrete probably had steel reinforcing in it, which would cause a bad compass initialisation when you powered the aircraft on.

Never even considered the path
I've taken off from that spot on previous occasions with no issues.
Although I am querying whether there were issues beforehand with the control I'm going to look through another log from another flight to see if there are any issues as I remember I had an issue a couple flights ago as previously mentioned with the controller beeping
2018-6-1
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NickB1970
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Scrap that idea forgot I cleared  the flight logs
2018-6-1
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Geebax
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 16:44
Never even considered the path
I've taken off from that spot on previous occasions with no issues.
Although I am querying whether there were issues beforehand with the control I'm going to look through another log from another flight to see if there are any issues as I remember I had an issue a couple flights ago as previously mentioned with the controller beeping

Your entire flight had loads of compass and yaw errors. These are most often the result of having fired the aircraft up while it is close to iron or steel. And it would easily account for the p[roblems you had. Better to start the aircraft up on the grass surface.
2018-6-1
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Hellsgate
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Labroides Posted at 2018-6-1 16:42
If you have travelled a long distance many hundreds or thousands of kilometers away then you maybe justified to calibrate the compass.
Not even then.
Compass calibration has nothing to do with geographic location or magnetic declination or distance from anywhere.

Thats why i said...... maybe justified
2018-6-1
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Labroides
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 16:44
Never even considered the path
I've taken off from that spot on previous occasions with no issues.
Although I am querying whether there were issues beforehand with the control I'm going to look through another log from another flight to see if there are any issues as I remember I had an issue a couple flights ago as previously mentioned with the controller beeping

I've taken off from that spot on previous occasions with no issues.
The issue of a yaw error and the compass warning you makes it pretty clear what the cause was.
It was launching from a point where the compass was close to the magnetic field of steel reinforcing mesh in the concrete.
You could position the Phantom where the mesh is deeper or the compass is in the middle of a mesh square or right above an overlap of mesh panels or a bigger steel rod.
Sometimes you might get away with it and sometimes  there will be more steel close enough to the compass to cause a problem.
Launching from steel or reinforced concrete surfaces is asking for trouble and should always be avoided.
That's an important warning that DJI should have in all their manuals.
2018-6-1
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Labroides
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Hellsgate Posted at 2018-6-1 16:54
Thats why i said...... maybe justified

But it's not justified.
It's an old myth that's come from a complete misunderstanding of what compass calibration does.
2018-6-1
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Hellsgate
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Labroides Posted at 2018-6-1 17:02
But it's not justified.
It's an old myth that's come from a complete misunderstanding of what compass calibration does.

Ok no probs i understand
2018-6-1
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Hellsgate
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I will remove that line as to not confuse others
2018-6-1
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NickB1970
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Slight confusion on my part
I thought I would still have control over the craft in Atti mode as atti mode does not use the compass but as we can clearly see that hasn't happened I was basically fighting a losing battle.
My query is would the beeping on the controller prior to what happened, be a possible factor in the issues that unfolded is it worth sending the controller off to DJI to see if there are any issues there?
2018-6-1
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Hellsgate
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I honestly think that Dji should put more easy to read information or warnings out about this issue.
It appears that many pilots have lost or crashed their drones due to flyaways and in nearlly every case compass calibration could be the cause or appears to be the cause of these failures.
Pilots need to be made aware of this especially new pilots that are not aware of the problems caused by magnetic fields.
Concrete slabs seem to be the most common cause for many of these problems.
But how can we help these new pilots to understand the dangers involved?
2018-6-1
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Labroides
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 17:16
Slight confusion on my part
I thought I would still have control over the craft in Atti mode as atti mode does not use the compass but as we can clearly see that hasn't happened I was basically fighting a losing battle.
My query is would the beeping on the controller prior to what happened, be a possible factor in the issues that unfolded is it worth sending the controller off to DJI to see if there are any issues there?

I thought I would still have control over the craft in Atti mode as atti mode does not use the compass
Correction
Atti mode uses the compass.
The Phantom can't fly properly without a compass.
Atti mode causes the flight controller to ignore GPS position data but does nothing about the compass.
And since your compass was the issue, atti mode wouldn't make any difference.

The Phantom need s the compass to know which way the Phantom is facing.
You set yours up in a disturbed magnetic field which gave the flight controller incorrect information.
2018-6-1
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Labroides
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Hellsgate Posted at 2018-6-1 17:26
I honestly think that Dji should put more easy to read information or warnings out about this issue.
It appears that many pilots have lost or crashed their drones due to flyaways and in nearlly every case compass calibration could be the cause or appears to be the cause of these failures.
Pilots need to be made aware of this especially new pilots that are not aware of the problems caused by magnetic fields.

It appears that many pilots have lost or crashed their drones due to flyaways and in nearlly every case compass calibration could be the cause or appears to be the cause of these failures.

The calibration isn't causing a problem.
Calibrating the compass only tells the Phantom what magnetic fields are part of the Phantom.
Ignoring the real problem and launching with Phantom that was set up in a distorted magnetic field is the problem.
2018-6-1
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NickB1970
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Labroides Posted at 2018-6-1 17:26
I thought I would still have control over the craft in Atti mode as atti mode does not use the compass
Correction
Atti mode uses the compass.

Right I get you that's made things a lot clearer
My only worry now is it hasn't damaged or hurt anyone
thanks for all the help
2018-6-1
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Hellsgate
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Labroides Posted at 2018-6-1 17:29
It appears that many pilots have lost or crashed their drones due to flyaways and in nearlly every case compass calibration could be the cause or appears to be the cause of these failures.

The calibration isn't causing a problem.

Still my question remains how can we help educate new pilots of this issue?
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Hellsgate
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Would it not be possible in a future firmware update that if the drone experiences a compass error. That it  either default to hover mode or goes into an automatic landing sequence.
Surely the drone does not need the compass to hover or for vertical safe landing using the vision sensors.
2018-6-1
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Geebax
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Hellsgate Posted at 2018-6-1 17:38
Would it not be possible in a future firmware update that if the drone experiences a compass error. That it  either default to hover mode or goes into an automatic landing sequence.
Surely the drone does not need the compass to hover or for vertical safe landing using the vision sensors.

It might hover, but there will be nothing to stop it being blown away by any slight breeze. It needs working GPS and compass to provide a stable hover. And the vision sensors don't know what is under it, it could be water for all they know. The only time that can use the sensors for landing is when they recognise the spot you took off from, and the only reason they know that spot is safe is because you chose it to launch from.

I do agree with you about educating new pilots being a problem, but when I think about it, there are a whole host of issues that need to be conveyed to them that are not covered in the manuals. Where do you start?

2018-6-1
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Hellsgate
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Geebax Posted at 2018-6-1 17:53
It might hover, but there will be nothing to stop it being blown away by any slight breeze. It needs working GPS and compass to provide a stable hover. And the vision sensors don't know what is under it, it could be water for all they know. The only time that can use the sensors for landing is when they recognise the spot you took off from, and the only reason they know that spot is safe is because you chose it to launch from.

I do agree with you about educating new pilots being a problem, but when I think about it, there are a whole host of issues that need to be conveyed to them that are not covered in the manuals. Where do you start?

Wouldnt it be better tho if the drone was to slowly decend even into water or a tree rather than fly off in any direction like an unguided missile. From a safety point of view i would rather have my drone land slowely in water than posibly smash through a windscreen  or into a crowd of people.
2018-6-1
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DJI Susan
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Nick, I'm so sorry to read your post. Please kindly contact our support and start a case from here: https://www.dji.com/support If the drone is under warranty period, data analysis will be arranged to check the exact status. And we will offer you a proper solution according to the data analysis result.
2018-6-1
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Bashy
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IN the UK its very rare we will use rebar in paths, we will use it in some concrete based that need load but not always, it wasnt so much the path that was at fault in this case, it was all that metal around the aircraft , please see here

The next issue would be the Drone Code Nick, the reason for part of the Drone Code is for your issue at hand, the part that says to stay away from a congested area, you was 27m away from the nearest house, congested is any area that is primarily used by humans (The CAA's definition of congested and the dictionary are different), you must stay at least 150m away from cities, towns, villages, housing estates, industrial estates and so on. Your "Fly Away" is one of the reasons for this rule/law, prob the main reason, your aircraft  may have caused property damage and or injury to a person or persons. Your only saving grace is you PLI, lets hope no harm was done and investigations not needed cause your also broke a major rule of engagement, you was 425.9ft above the hard deck, thats 25.9ft above the 400ft limit, using the old chestnut," its not my fault" will not fly too well in court, its your aircraft, you was the pilot, its 100% your fault, you stated you are not a novice pilot, therefore you should have known about certain metals and issues arising from such and the Drone Code and the new law that came ina day or so ago regarding the 400ft limit.
2018-6-1
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Labroides
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Hellsgate Posted at 2018-6-1 17:38
Would it not be possible in a future firmware update that if the drone experiences a compass error. That it  either default to hover mode or goes into an automatic landing sequence.
Surely the drone does not need the compass to hover or for vertical safe landing using the vision sensors.

When the Phantom has a Yaw error, normal function goes out the window.
The OP didn't touch the right stick at all between 1:40.2 and 3:43.3.
His only input was the rudder and throttle which made the Phantom climb and rotate but nothing to make it move horizontally.
The Phantom was to all intents and purposes, hovering with some rotating and climbing.
But during that 2 whole minutes without any right stick input, it travelled 1768 feet at an average speed of 9.7 mph.
The actual speed was fluctuating and reached as high as 20 mph.
With a Yaw error the Phantom isn't controllable and hovering isn't going to work.

DJI really need to warn users in big print
Never launch from a steel or reinforced concrete surface.

2018-6-1
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Bashy
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What Message is "Other (9)" not seen that before?
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Bashy
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As for finding it using the info given, is near on impossible, the wind speed that day was averaging around  8mph at 10m so prob around 25mph at 120m, but we dont know how long it stayed in ATTI mode after disconnect

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Geebax
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Bashy Posted at 2018-6-1 20:51
What Message is "Other (9)" not seen that before?

It means the lazy programmers did not identify all the errors and put text explanations to them. Basically it means 'an error other than those we have text labels for, number 9'
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 16:44
Never even considered the path
I've taken off from that spot on previous occasions with no issues.
Although I am querying whether there were issues beforehand with the control I'm going to look through another log from another flight to see if there are any issues as I remember I had an issue a couple flights ago as previously mentioned with the controller beeping

''I remember I had an issue a couple flights ago as previously mentioned with the controller beeping''



It may well have been that the RC needed a calibration, I believe they beep if calibration of control sticks & left hand wheel control required.
2018-6-1
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Nigel_
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NickB1970 Posted at 2018-6-1 17:16
Slight confusion on my part
I thought I would still have control over the craft in Atti mode as atti mode does not use the compass but as we can clearly see that hasn't happened I was basically fighting a losing battle.
My query is would the beeping on the controller prior to what happened, be a possible factor in the issues that unfolded is it worth sending the controller off to DJI to see if there are any issues there?

I don't remember seeing a log before, where the stick data is all zeros until after you have taken off!  Something strange.

Switching to atti on a compass error may enable you to control it, depending on the amount of error.  If the aircraft is attempting to fly upside down because the magnetic field has reversed since calibration then there is no chance.  If you didn't calibrate but just took off in a magnetic field then very often it will be controllable in atti mode.

However you do need to know how to fly in atti mode and the log suggests that you didn't know how to.  You appear to have been constantly spinning the aircraft while drifting with the wind.

Beeping of the controller is normally the obstacle avoidance sensors...  fully expected in the house, until it gets too dark for the sensors and then you get silence...

When it lost signal it should have attempted to RTH.  Since it didn't return we have to presume the compass errors where too much for it to navigate back so it was probably flying in arcs for a while before returning to atti mode and drifting off.   Thus even a calculation of drift with wind is likely not accurate since there is no way of knowing what the aircraft did for RTH after loosing signal.

Never calibrate the compass unless the magnetic field of the aircraft has been modified, e.g. by replacement of a motor.

If it is under warrantee then do get DJI to look at the logs, even if it can't be sorted they may give you a discount on replacement.

Otherwise it is an issue for insurance, and make sure you learn the lessons.
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Bashy
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Geebax Posted at 2018-6-1 21:36
It means the lazy programmers did not identify all the errors and put text explanations to them. Basically it means 'an error other than those we have text labels for, number 9'

That i had figured out, i was just asking in case someone had come across it before

Nick

How long did you stay at the take off spot before leaving to go find the aircraft? if you legged it after it soon after you saw it doing one, there is a chance it could have come back once it got over the error and they will get over the error at some point, there was 60% batter left so it could have gone a fair bit then came back, hope someone finds it and hands it in, put some posts on your local FB pages
2018-6-2
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NickB1970
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DJI Susan Posted at 2018-6-1 18:54
Nick, I'm so sorry to read your post. Please kindly contact our support and start a case from here: https://www.dji.com/support If the drone is under warranty period, data analysis will be arranged to check the exact status. And we will offer you a proper solution according to the data analysis result.

was a secondhand drone so not under warranty
2018-6-2
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Hellsgate Posted at 2018-6-1 17:31
Still my question remains how can we help educate new pilots of this issue?

By having the app stop telling anything about the compass but simply state "unsuitable location, switch off aircraft and move to a different location".
If then the manual explain that this error mean that it could be tried to move a few meters and try again it properly would help. Important to clarify the AC must be powered off during the move.
2018-6-3
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Bashy
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KedDK Posted at 2018-6-3 06:46
By having the app stop telling anything about the compass but simply state "unsuitable location, switch off aircraft and move to a different location".
If then the manual explain that this error mean that it could be tried to move a few meters and try again it properly would help. Important to clarify the AC must be powered off during the move.


Important to clarify the AC must be powered off during the move.

Im not overly convinced by this, when i have seen a compas error, i have moved it about 10ft without turning off and error goes away....
2018-6-3
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Bashy Posted at 2018-6-3 21:17
Important to clarify the AC must be powered off during the move.

Im not overly convinced by this, when i have seen a compas error, i have moved it about 10ft without turning off and error goes away....

I only have had the compass error when out for flying once when starting up on the hood of my lawnmover this didn't clear before a power cycle was done so i would not trust it without powering down during move.
But guess there are different grades of the compass error and clearly there is some strong magnetic fields under the hood in my case but power down, move, power on would be the safe advise.

When user entering the compass calibration it should warn only to do it in case the aircraft has been modified, the big problem as Hellsgate point out is that today it tell the user there is a compass error and a compass calibration is needed.
2018-6-3
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