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My drone lost automatic landing over water
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2780 48 2018-6-10
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JAH9
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I want to share with you my experience so you can avoid losing your drone. Afer 62 flights testing my mavic air in all sort of conditions and situations and havng 0 accidents or risk incidents,I felt really comfortable and secure with it.
So I made a trip crossing a river to see the other coast in the delta area. After making the flight and with 52 % of battery left I started my return back to be sure I had no risk. The wind was less than 10 km/h but against the direction, the drone was flying and I started to notice returning that the battery was going down pretty fast. In the middle of the return the automatic return went on and I let it go sure I will safely recover my drone.
By my surprise with 10 % of battery left the auto landing went on over water at 170 meters from home point, were I was. I tried to cancel it but I couldn't (the support staff of DJI) could not explain to me why although all the flight was recorded.
It was really very sad for me to lose my drone completely since in that part of the river there is a depth of 6 m
So be extremely careful with battery life DONT CONSIDER THE LAST 10 % THEY ARE USELESS.
The overall time of my flight was 13:11 minutes  travelled distance 5947 meters
2018-6-10
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hallmark007
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Sorry to hear that, I expect flying into the wind didn’t help with battery life, and in critical battery you can’t avoid landing.
You would still have been able to both lower aircraft and fly it forward, also sport mode was an option that could have helped, but it’s to late for that now.
Maybe dji might do a deal for aircraft on its own I’ve seen them give 30/15 % discount if that might help.

Hope something good happens for you. Good luck.
2018-6-10
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HedgeTrimmer
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How far away was drone from shore (your side) when you started return against 10 km/h wind with 52% of battery left?

With 52% left, and 10% is critical point for landing.  You had only 42% battery left to fly home on or 42% of possible flight time.

With maximum flight time of 21 minutes, you only had about 8 minutes 49 seconds of flying left.
With maximum speed of 28.8 km/h in P-mode and going against 10 km/h**, drones progress was down to 18.8 km/h.
18.8 km/h = 5.2 meters per second
8.82 minutes = 529 seconds
Maximum flight distance would be around 2,763 meters or 2.76 km before forced landing due to 10%.

** Guessing wind was 10 km/h (or more) at drone altitude vs. measured at ground.


(My math may be off.  I didn't stay at Holiday Inn Express last night!)


2018-6-10
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JAH9
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-6-10 15:16
How far away was drone from shore (your side) when you started return against 10 km/h wind with 52% of battery left?

With 52% left, and 10% is critical point for landing.  You had only 42% battery left to fly home on or 42% of possible flight time.

Looking back at the exact numbers when I started to return I had 54 % of battery and I was 2007 m away from home point.
2018-6-10
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JAH9
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hallmark007 Posted at 2018-6-10 14:49
Sorry to hear that, I expect flying into the wind didn’t help with battery life, and in critical battery you can’t avoid landing.
You would still have been able to both lower aircraft and fly it forward, also sport mode was an option that could have helped, but it’s to late for that now.
Maybe dji might do a deal for aircraft on its own I’ve seen them give 30/15 % discount if that might help.

Thanks, I was flying in sport mode maybe the error was returning at 30 m altitude.  I tried to get a replacement but I got only as answer I could get a 15 % discount but only if the delivery ws at the US and I am now at home in Argentina so it was useless.
I think the hard learning I want to share is DONTE EXPECT MORE THAN 15 MINUTES FLIGH AND RETURN WITH AT LEAST 60 5 BATTERY.
2018-6-10
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davidmartingraf
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Flying over water requires being extremely careful with how keeping above a certain height, not pushing the drone beyond its limits, while especially keeping extra careful ahead of low battery levels.
2018-6-10
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hallmark007
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JAH9 Posted at 2018-6-10 16:04
Thanks, I was flying in sport mode maybe the error was returning at 30 m altitude.  I tried to get a replacement but I got only as answer I could get a 15 % discount but only if the delivery ws at the US and I am now at home in Argentina so it was useless.
I think the hard learning I want to share is DONTE EXPECT MORE THAN 15 MINUTES FLIGH AND RETURN WITH AT LEAST 60 5 BATTERY.

Well in the wind 15/16 minutes is about right, hopefully something happens for you soon. Good luck.
2018-6-10
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SparksBird
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JAH9 Posted at 2018-6-10 16:04
Thanks, I was flying in sport mode maybe the error was returning at 30 m altitude.  I tried to get a replacement but I got only as answer I could get a 15 % discount but only if the delivery ws at the US and I am now at home in Argentina so it was useless.
I think the hard learning I want to share is DONTE EXPECT MORE THAN 15 MINUTES FLIGH AND RETURN WITH AT LEAST 60 5 BATTERY.

The main indication is how high the rpm is.  The higher the rpm the more battery drain and when flying against the wind will be considerably higher than with the wind or no wind at all.  This is why it is best to check the wind and I find UAV Forecast is really good at this to give me an idea.  
2018-6-10
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SparksBird
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JAH9 Posted at 2018-6-10 15:58
Looking back at the exact numbers when I started to return I had 54 % of battery and I was 2007 m away from home point.

And also need to take into consideration the gusts of wind makes it even harder. And the wind gets considerably faster the higher you go even 50ft higher can make a huge difference
2018-6-10
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SeanGalbraith
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Been there, done that unfortunately. I feel your pain.
2018-6-10
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LesDroneGuy
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Canada
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Glad you shared this post with us - really sorry to hear that about your Air though
2018-6-10
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HedgeTrimmer
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SparksBird Posted at 2018-6-10 16:20
And also need to take into consideration the gusts of wind makes it even harder. And the wind gets considerably faster the higher you go even 50ft higher can make a huge difference

Last time I was out flying, wind about 15 foot up, was 7-mph.  No problems flying around at 20 to 30 feet.  Climbed up to 300 feet, and continued flying around, first was Yellow warning about Wind speed, then Red warning about Wind speed.  Drop down to about 130 feet and no wind warnings.
2018-6-10
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Optimus Prime-Mavic Air
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Sorry for your lost, I usually back home everytime the (H) icon overlapped with time remaining on the status bar. Once the wind was too strong so i have to put it into sport mode and safely land at 2% left. You can try to keep flying when landing mode kick in around 10% battery left but must be very very careful and gentle. Hope you get other one soon and back to fly
2018-6-10
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Gaijin
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Sorry to hear about your drone. I know hindsight is 20/20 but you can change your low battery warning in the settings, that could have squeezed some extra time out of the device. Also 62 flights are quite substantial, my guess is the wear and tear on the battery had a big affect on what happened to you. Personally, I keep a battery in reserve, I label it  "water" and I ONLY use that battery when crossing rivers etc. Ideally keep a new / barely used battery for your more risky flights. Best of luck in the future.
2018-6-10
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SparksBird
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-6-10 19:18
Last time I was out flying, wind about 15 foot up, was 7-mph.  No problems flying around at 20 to 30 feet.  Climbed up to 300 feet, and continued flying around, first was Yellow warning about Wind speed, then Red warning about Wind speed.  Drop down to about 130 feet and no wind warnings.

Yeah in fact tonight just doing some casual flying at my local park it was all good about 10mph or less 100 feet or lower and rose to about 300 feet then quickly got the red warning so lowered again to about 150 feet and was all good but just shows how quickly just a little rise in elevation can change things.  And it is not always the constant wind speed but the gusts that can greatly range that can be catastrophic.  
2018-6-10
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SparksBird
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Gaijin Posted at 2018-6-10 20:59
Sorry to hear about your drone. I know hindsight is 20/20 but you can change your low battery warning in the settings, that could have squeezed some extra time out of the device. Also 62 flights are quite substantial, my guess is the wear and tear on the battery had a big affect on what happened to you. Personally, I keep a battery in reserve, I label it  "water" and I ONLY use that battery when crossing rivers etc. Ideally keep a new / barely used battery for your more risky flights. Best of luck in the future.

Regardless of what you set the low battery warning I have found that about 13% or less it starts to descend and try to land.  Yes you can control to a point and ascend a bit but at a point no matter what you do it starts lowering.  I have tested this a few times and it does this anywhere between 13% to 10% and tells you it is getting ready to land.  Once you hit 10% you had better be somewhere safe to land because you have really no choice at that point.  
2018-6-10
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Wachtberger
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I am very sorry for your loss! The explanations have been given already.
2018-6-10
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GrahamG
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When I was learning to dive I was taught to swim away from the boat into the current so when tired and low on air I could come back with the current. I believe this translates to flying drones, position yourself so you can fly into the wind to your target and back to you with the wind. Can prevent nasty surprises...and losses.
2018-6-10
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GDL
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Fly long range is always risky as you may not have enough power to return. If no aware the wind speed and direction you are in trouble. Start with tail wind you will use less power and go further. This give you false impression. Like only use 25% to the target and return in 50% looks more than enough. But return on head wind can use more power than you think!
2018-6-10
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Merced69
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Based upon how DJI frames their time estimate on the MA, they suggest the best time is flying at a relaxed 15kmph, therefore, when faced with a dying battery, should we not fly back at this speed to get the best efficiency?  I have not fully tested this yet, but I know flipping to sports mode, and flying fast, drains the battery fast.  I had a situation like this where I believed I had more than enough, flipped back to sports mode, and next thing I know it was auto landing.  I was lucky I was over land.  
2018-6-12
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DJI Thor
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JAH9 Posted at 2018-6-10 16:04
Thanks, I was flying in sport mode maybe the error was returning at 30 m altitude.  I tried to get a replacement but I got only as answer I could get a 15 % discount but only if the delivery ws at the US and I am now at home in Argentina so it was useless.
I think the hard learning I want to share is DONTE EXPECT MORE THAN 15 MINUTES FLIGH AND RETURN WITH AT LEAST 60 5 BATTERY.

I am sorry to hear about your loss. Since you had contacted our support, if there is any further help needed, you can also let us know, we will try the best to help.
2018-6-15
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Free2be
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15% off, are no option to buy outside the EU, you have to pay 21% tax and even import ducty..You lose all that bonus and even more.
2018-6-15
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GDL
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I did use sport mode to go for longer distance. P mode is too slow and in some cases and waste too much time on the travel. I can get longer fly time in spot mode. However, I won’t push the stick all way down on spot mode for top speed. Normally around 70% and up to 90%.

Anyway it’s risky to go too far away regardless which mode you fly.
2018-6-15
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AndrewUK
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I think JAH9 has a good point about the last 10%.  The way it is currently implemented is VERY misleading to users, new and experienced.  We have ascertained that the last 10% is absolutely inaccessible because the MA uncontrollably lands itself between 10% - 13%.  What is going on under the covers of ACTUAL battery life left is a) somewhat subjective and b) completely irrelevant to the user if they cannot use it.  So the user interface should show 0% at the point the drone forcibly lands itself.  As far as the user is concerned, that is the point at which they can continue no more, not when it says 10% or 13%!

Feedback for DJI: The current implementation actually encourages the user to make bad calculations, as in this case.  The difference of flying away then turning around at 54%, but actually 54% - (10% unusable) = 44% is hugely significant and meant this guy lost his drone in water.  A far better UI design would be to recalibrate the battery percentage scale so the drone force lands when the UI shows 0%.  This would be completely idiomatic and stamp out these nasty surprises. I can continue using my mobile phone until it reaches 0% so why not the same with this?  The more I think about it, using 10% to mean 0% in a critical application such as this is absolutely crazy!

I look forward to your response.
2018-6-15
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GDL
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I will land at 30% for safety and keep battery life longer. For me the last 20% should never be use.

However, if DJI design the battery UI in this way you will be far away from the fly time they claim. So they show you the actual battery power range from 100 to 0%. But as a pilot you know you can only use up to 20% and not less than that. Like the real pilot will never empty their fuel tank.
2018-6-15
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AndrewUK
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GDL Posted at 2018-6-15 01:24
I will land at 30% for safety and keep battery life longer. For me the last 20% should never be use.

However, if DJI design the battery UI in this way you will be far away from the fly time they claim. So they show you the actual battery power range from 100 to 0%. But as a pilot you know you can only use up to 20% and not less than that. Like the real pilot will never empty their fuel tank.


Yes this is a good safety margin and good practice to minimise the risk of issue.

Having a battery scale where 0% of use remaining is indicated as 13% is the same as having a faulty fuel gauge that over reads by 13%.  Whatever way you look at it, this eats into your safety margin if you are not aware of it.  It only takes a bit of headwind on return or loss of signal and you're out of luck sooner than you anticipated.
2018-6-15
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A CW
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SparksBird Posted at 2018-6-10 16:12
The main indication is how high the rpm is.  The higher the rpm the more battery drain and when flying against the wind will be considerably higher than with the wind or no wind at all.  This is why it is best to check the wind and I find UAV Forecast is really good at this to give me an idea.

Great advice mate
2018-6-15
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cspain
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AndrewUK Posted at 2018-6-15 01:10
I think JAH9 has a good point about the last 10%.  The way it is currently implemented is VERY misleading to users, new and experienced.  We have ascertained that the last 10% is absolutely inaccessible because the MA uncontrollably lands itself between 10% - 13%.  What is going on under the covers of ACTUAL battery life left is a) somewhat subjective and b) completely irrelevant to the user if they cannot use it.  So the user interface should show 0% at the point the drone forcibly lands itself.  As far as the user is concerned, that is the point at which they can continue no more, not when it says 10% or 13%!

Feedback for DJI: The current implementation actually encourages the user to make bad calculations, as in this case.  The difference of flying away then turning around at 54%, but actually 54% - (10% unusable) = 44% is hugely significant and meant this guy lost his drone in water.  A far better UI design would be to recalibrate the battery percentage scale so the drone force lands when the UI shows 0%.  This would be completely idiomatic and stamp out these nasty surprises. I can continue using my mobile phone until it reaches 0% so why not the same with this?  The more I think about it, using 10% to mean 0% in a critical application such as this is absolutely crazy!

I think they should let you use the last 10%. The calculations are not precise and they want a safety margin for landing so it does not fall out of the sky from 400 feet, so that is why they choose 10%. However, it would be great if they implemented something where if the drone is below, say 8 feet AGL, you can use more of the battery in an emergency situation to fly forward before emergency landing happens.

That might have saved this guy from a dip in the water.
2018-6-15
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AndrewUK
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cspain Posted at 2018-6-15 04:56
I think they should let you use the last 10%. The calculations are not precise and they want a safety margin for landing so it does not fall out of the sky from 400 feet, so that is why they choose 10%. However, it would be great if they implemented something where if the drone is below, say 8 feet AGL, you can use more of the battery in an emergency situation to fly forward before emergency landing happens.

That might have saved this guy from a dip in the water.


Absolutely with a little more implementation effort than what I suggested.  At 13% force descending at max rate until the IR altitude sensor can see a few meters while allowing to continue horizontal movement as per user input.  At 0% force land.  0% on the screen should mean under the covers ~5% of actual battery life.  This approach is safe, idiomatic and means no nasty surprises.  Heck, for relatively little engineering effort they'd even get maybe a couple more minutes of flight time possible to make their marketing folk happy!

The simple approach is just rescale the UI percentage scale so 13% becomes 0% as I suggest.  When the user see's 0% the drone has enough power left to descend from any altitude in a controlled manor and land safely.
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hallmark007
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AndrewUK Posted at 2018-6-15 05:10
Absolutely with a little more implementation effort than what I suggested.  At 13% force descending at max rate until the IR altitude sensor can see a few meters while allowing to continue horizontal movement as per user input.  At 0% force land.  0% on the screen should mean under the covers ~5% of actual battery life.  This approach is safe, idiomatic and means no nasty surprises.  Heck, for relatively little engineering effort they'd even get maybe a couple more minutes of flight time possible to make their marketing folk happy!

The simple approach is just rescale the UI percentage scale so 13% becomes 0% as I suggest.  When the user see's 0% the drone has enough power left to descend from any altitude in a controlled manor and land safely.

No matter how you configure it there will always some who have problems, wind is also a factor and missions particularly long should always be flown into the wind, you can still fly MavAir when you reach critical battery 10% just push forward your aircraft will move forward, it is possible to halt landing until you find a safe place to land.
We all know before we set out the parameters of out battery, we should be able to calculate what we need to get home, set your RTH at 30% you will get plenty of warning and good pilots won’t get into these situations if they are careful.
2018-6-15
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JAH9
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Free2be Posted at 2018-6-15 00:42
15% off, are no option to buy outside the EU, you have to pay 21% tax and even import ducty..You lose all that bonus and even more.

I agree last week I had a job trip to Malaysia and I bought a new Mavic air for 750 US$ end of the story
2018-6-15
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JAH9
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cspain Posted at 2018-6-15 04:56
I think they should let you use the last 10%. The calculations are not precise and they want a safety margin for landing so it does not fall out of the sky from 400 feet, so that is why they choose 10%. However, it would be great if they implemented something where if the drone is below, say 8 feet AGL, you can use more of the battery in an emergency situation to fly forward before emergency landing happens.

That might have saved this guy from a dip in the water.

I completely agree in the manual it says you can cancell ther emergency landing I tried but it didn t work and I had no explanation from them
2018-6-15
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JAH9
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AndrewUK Posted at 2018-6-15 01:10
I think JAH9 has a good point about the last 10%.  The way it is currently implemented is VERY misleading to users, new and experienced.  We have ascertained that the last 10% is absolutely inaccessible because the MA uncontrollably lands itself between 10% - 13%.  What is going on under the covers of ACTUAL battery life left is a) somewhat subjective and b) completely irrelevant to the user if they cannot use it.  So the user interface should show 0% at the point the drone forcibly lands itself.  As far as the user is concerned, that is the point at which they can continue no more, not when it says 10% or 13%!

Feedback for DJI: The current implementation actually encourages the user to make bad calculations, as in this case.  The difference of flying away then turning around at 54%, but actually 54% - (10% unusable) = 44% is hugely significant and meant this guy lost his drone in water.  A far better UI design would be to recalibrate the battery percentage scale so the drone force lands when the UI shows 0%.  This would be completely idiomatic and stamp out these nasty surprises. I can continue using my mobile phone until it reaches 0% so why not the same with this?  The more I think about it, using 10% to mean 0% in a critical application such as this is absolutely crazy!

You made an excellent point here. Rescaling would represent real flight conditions. You can not imagine my anger since it was only 170 meters from home and maybe with that last percentage, I would have reached home. Another way they could improve this is making the software calculate remaining flight and battery consumption and alert you that you will probably not going to make it. In such case, for example, I would change my destination and land in the other side of the river safely on the ground.
2018-6-15
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Koelkop
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Are the Mavic Air different to the Mavic pro with regards to auto landing? On the pro all you do if it get to 10% is to keep the left stick up. it stops decending and keeps its altitude. and you can still fly forward while maintaining altitude
2018-6-15
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Dirty Bird
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This is sad as your Air was needlessly lost.  Even when auto-land commences you can continue to fly & keep the drone aloft all the way until the point the battery shuts down.

I don't make a habit of it, but I have saved my drone this way several times returning from long flights.  If you watch my P4 Ultimate Battery Test video you can see i kept the drone airborne below 0% until it shut down.

Sorry for you loss...  
2018-6-15
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hallmark007
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JAH9 Posted at 2018-6-15 08:53
I completely agree in the manual it says you can cancell ther emergency landing I tried but it didn t work and I had no explanation from them

I’m not to sure where cspain got his information but you can’t cancel critical battery landing as dirtybird said you can still fly forward.
2018-6-15
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LoSBoL
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Edit; Ignore this post
2018-6-15
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LoSBoL
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AndrewUK Posted at 2018-6-15 01:10
I think JAH9 has a good point about the last 10%.  The way it is currently implemented is VERY misleading to users, new and experienced.  We have ascertained that the last 10% is absolutely inaccessible because the MA uncontrollably lands itself between 10% - 13%.  What is going on under the covers of ACTUAL battery life left is a) somewhat subjective and b) completely irrelevant to the user if they cannot use it.  So the user interface should show 0% at the point the drone forcibly lands itself.  As far as the user is concerned, that is the point at which they can continue no more, not when it says 10% or 13%!

Feedback for DJI: The current implementation actually encourages the user to make bad calculations, as in this case.  The difference of flying away then turning around at 54%, but actually 54% - (10% unusable) = 44% is hugely significant and meant this guy lost his drone in water.  A far better UI design would be to recalibrate the battery percentage scale so the drone force lands when the UI shows 0%.  This would be completely idiomatic and stamp out these nasty surprises. I can continue using my mobile phone until it reaches 0% so why not the same with this?  The more I think about it, using 10% to mean 0% in a critical application such as this is absolutely crazy!

I think your post has merrit, although I don't really agee with the stance you should be able to fly untill 0% before a critical batterylanding is initiated and have a hidden reserve for a couple of reasons;
*Even when critical landing is initiated, I would like to know when my drone would drop out of the sky, I don't when it simply says 0%
*The by DJI chosen 10%, or better said 'red bar' (because its dynamic, and with very high elevations, it will change to a higher percentage) is a safety margin because DJI does not want to be responsible for drones dropping out of the sky at terminal velocity. At 120 meters high, and with a descent rate of 1,5m/s in P-mode, it will take 80 seconds to come down.
*If the critical battery landing would be dynamicly alter to lower values then 10%, it will cut down your own ability to fly to a good landing spot.
*If DJI used 0% instead of 10%, you could still get surprised if you fly your drone to high altitudes, because it could drop from 10% left to 0% left instantly due to cirtical batterylevel needed is a dynamic range.
*The critical landing procedure, the red bar and the flight control procedures you still have when a critical landing initiates are very well discribed in the manual.

You could however argue that the 'flight time left' displayed in the app should be 'time left' untill the red bar (critical landing) instead of including the red bar, and that it resets to whatever time left till depleted when you hit citical battery landing. I think that could help in estimating 'viable' flight time during your whole flight. But maybe that would just be an invitation to fly irresponsibly for some people.
Maybe it is like Hallmark suggests, whatever procedure DJI would chose, there are going to be problems.
2018-6-15
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hallmark007
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Koelkop Posted at 2018-6-15 09:28
Are the Mavic Air different to the Mavic pro with regards to auto landing? On the pro all you do if it get to 10% is to keep the left stick up. it stops decending and keeps its altitude. and you can still fly forward while maintaining altitude

Yes they are the same, you can push left stick up to hover and use right stick to navigate to a safe landing.
2018-6-15
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cspain
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hallmark007 Posted at 2018-6-15 10:04
I’m not to sure where cspain got his information but you can’t cancel critical battery landing as dirtybird said you can still fly forward.
[view_image]

Eh, that's not my quote! Good information though!
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