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Lost my Bird!! I am a crap pilot :(
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1459 46 2018-9-2
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13ringinheat
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Hello guys,


I wanted to post this  sequence of events and my flight record on here to get a better  understanding of what went wrong. This incident occurred July 3rd 2018. I  am leaning towards this being my stupidity, more than the mavics, and  my inexperience in dealing with really bad interference.


A  lil back story.........the mavic pro was my first drone,  I purchased  my mavic pro as soon as it was released and got it around January 2017  time frame. Since then i have flown it all over my home city as well as  out of the country. Never once did i have any issues with this drone and  it has always been rock solid for me. I have also flown it a handful of  times at night so i was fairly confident in my abilities to fly my  mavic, when this incident took place.


As i  mentioned before, it was July 3rd around 8pm, I decided to fly my mavic  from a near by gas station to check out the fireworks show that was  taking place across the way. The area is really isolated and i am  surrounded by open fields and golf courses so the thought of  interference did not even occur to me. As soon as i flew my drone, i  started encountering massive interference and i kept having my mavic  disconnect from the go app and the phone. The darkness of the night,  coupled with the small camera sensor and lack of any real landmark or  street lights did not aid me in trying to figure out where i was, and  each time i would locate something that seemed like a landmark, i would  lose connection. I hit return to home in the hopes that the drone would  come back but it did not. Then i think i made the biggest blunder by  updating the home point to the drone's location........panic moment and  not thinking straight. Realizing what i did i also tried to change it  back to the remote controller location but that did not register. While  this is going on, i am desperately trying to get my drone to connect to  the go app and my phone but to no avail. I saw that the RTH was  activated and it was landing and i was praying that it landed in a golf  field but instead it landed smack dab in the middle of the woods.


The  next morning i tried to retrieve my drone since the go app tells you  where the drone might be if you lose it. Given i am in Florida, the  woods was a marsh land with knee deep water and the fear of alligators  and water moccasins.......nevertheless i braved it and i was in the  middle for an hour and a half looking for the darn thing. The GPS signal  started bouncing around (i was not aware that thick trees mess up GPS  like that) and i just had to take this L and walk away.


I  am good with being ridiculed....it was my dumbness and bravado that got  me in this situation. I want to learn from my mistake and get a better  understanding of what to do if i encounter this situation next time and  also try to figure out what could have caused this drone to go haywire  like that.


A thing to note is that there  was a helicopter that showed up minutes after i took flight which is  when i started to bring my drone back. The helicopter might have been a  local news heli cuz it kept on circling around. I was wondering whether  that might have led to the interference i was getting.........

Flight record:
http://www.phantomhelp.com/logviewer/GU2KCNB5B5WABCVWW2JO/



2018-9-2
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StarFishUK
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Flight distance : 4252 ft
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Interesting to read what happened. It's also really refreshing to hear someone just own up and accept it was their fault - and explain what they did wrong. Respect to you sir.

I hope you find your drone. Having had a quick squiz on Google earth, I wouldn't go wading through that woodland for the crown jewels, never mind a Mavic...
2018-9-2
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CA Mavic Pro
First Officer
Flight distance : 639652 ft
Lebanon
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Sorry for your drone.

I understand you kept getting interference (you were flying a bit too far and a bit too low alt 120ft, home distance 1,500ft). Updating the RTH was a crucial error,otherwise at a certain point during RTH you would have regained control and could have navigated using only the maps without having to rely on the video feed.

Flying at night is a little bit tricky with more parameters coming into play.
2018-9-3
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JJBspark
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Flight distance : 2469734 ft
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Hi,

Really sorry for your loss. What a story to tell, compliments for sharing your story.

If i read your flightrecord and your story i think you did only loose video signal, still in control that time.
Guess you tried to RTH in the GoApp wich did not work. MP remains in GPS mode. if i read your story correct this was before resetting the homepoint.
Resetting the HP did work (420 meters away from you), after that you had 4x a disconnect (4, 15,11 and 46 seconds).
RTH initiated by you and MP did so (to the new HP ofcourse). You did cancel the autolanding, trying to get it back to you.
The second RTH initiated by battery (that`s strange at 61%, i will check further on this **) was completed and MP did an autolanding.See the LatLon in the chart, must have landed there in that position.

EDIT ** Oops, a new info error in the log named "OutOfControlGoHome", wich initiate a GoHome. Don`t you yet what that means.

If only the video link is lost the little compass in the app still works! Possible to use that to fly craft manually back home. Works if your mobile device has GPS enabled, as you reset the HP (using mobile device position) your compass on the app must show your MP in the compass.

For me that little compass is a live safer! if that works then you can always fly back your drone, even when not in sight. I practise this a lot.

cheers
JJB
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2018-9-3
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Sky Donkey
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Sorry for your loss. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.. I lost my phantom 4 weeks ago after 18 months. It feels like someone has kidnapped your child. Put it down to experience and buy yourself a new bird. A lesson learnt. Carry on enjoying the hobby ...
2018-9-3
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HedgeTrimmer
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JJBspark Posted at 2018-9-3 00:37
Hi,

Really sorry for your loss. What a story to tell, compliments for sharing your story.

For me that little compass is a live safer! if that works then you can always fly back your drone, even when not in sight. I practise this a lot.

Again, Thanks JJBspark for analysis of OPs FlightLog files.

I agree little compass is a life saver, when its working.  Based on couple of recent Remote Control to SmartDevice disconnects, I would like to see DJI add FW to Remote Controls with LCD screens to show a Compass degree heading.  No need for fancy rotating triangle or arrow.  Simply direction the drone's nose is heading in degrees.

2018-9-3
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HedgeTrimmer
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CA Mavic Pro Posted at 2018-9-3 00:35
Sorry for your drone.

I understand you kept getting interference (you were flying a bit too far and a bit too low alt 120ft, home distance 1,500ft). Updating the RTH was a crucial error,otherwise at a certain point during RTH you would have regained control and could have navigated using only the maps without having to rely on the video feed.

(you were flying a bit too far and a bit too low alt 120ft...)

I was wondering about that too.  Whether weak signal (interference was term OP used) problem would have been solved by simply increasing altitude.

Leading to question for OP:  Could OP see drone when weak signal (or interference) messages started popping up?  


2018-9-3
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JJBspark
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-9-3 00:48
For me that little compass is a live safer! if that works then you can always fly back your drone, even when not in sight. I practise this a lot.

Again, Thanks JJBspark for analysis of OPs FlightLog files.

Thanks, GoApp software can be better, i agree.

Compass info in the app is from your mobile device so if there is no connection device<>RC than no info on a RC display. Works when the RC has its own GPS/compass receiver built in.

So in the meantime ; if i plan to fly little bit further than my +1 spectacles can see....compass in the app must be aligned and working! BTW if not aligned due to compass misalignment device, steering back to the middle is always good.

Second good thing about that little compass screen ; if you align your craft at the white top arrow you know where to look in the sky for your drone (+better antennas direction)

cheers
JJB
2018-9-3
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thehippoz
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I have a button set in litchie to hold c2 - set rth to drone location. I also hand launch and catch. On launch I fly over the area I want to set rth and set it. I can be anywhere then sitting under a tree, ect. Make sure the rth height is set too. It will always come back like that. Waypoints you can fly outside of rc range, long as the end point is within range.
2018-9-3
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Alex Batalov
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Spain
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Sorry for your loss. I know how you feel.
I also lost my first spark in the woods.
Better luck next time,you will learn from this as have I.
For example, buy an independent gps tracker that works all the time and tells you the exact position of the drone. ( I use tk102, cheap and it works)

Fly safe.
Alex.
2018-9-3
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DJKOR
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JJBspark Posted at 2018-9-3 00:37
Hi,

Really sorry for your loss. What a story to tell, compliments for sharing your story.

That little compass is my way of sending it back. Point the arrow to home and let rip. Haha.
2018-9-3
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HedgeTrimmer
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JJBspark Posted at 2018-9-3 00:57
Thanks, GoApp software can be better, i agree.

Compass info in the app is from your mobile device so if there is no connection deviceRC than no info on a RC display. Works when the RC has its own GPS/compass receiver built in.

I was thinking about heading of drone itself.  I generally know which was is N/S/E/W, and which direction drone currently is (or was).
Essentially I was looking for drone's compass degrees to be displayed on RC, forget the Mobile device compass info.


With drone's compass heading (data being relayed from drone to RC), a pilot could tell what direction to spin drone to start bringing it back.  Couple that with distance information (should be decreasing if heading correct direction for return), and you got a good chance of flying drone back to you.

2018-9-3
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BumblerBee
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JJBspark Posted at 2018-9-3 00:37
Hi,

Really sorry for your loss. What a story to tell, compliments for sharing your story.

An excellent analysis, JJB! My I ask which program you used to analyse those logs?

The little compass in the app is something that I now realise I must practice using!

A couple of comments:
- the logs show deviation in the battery cell charges. Looks like the battery was due to be replaced.
- I've had a few app/RC disconencts and video loss instances myself. All of those went away after I switched to using the center USB port and DJI's short angled ligtning cable that they use with Inspire.

When/if the app disconnects and you only have the RC data to go by, pay attantion to the distance to aircraft reading on the RC LCD screen. Make a slow circle until you see the distance decreasing at the highest rate (a small note here: you don't need to orient the AC with the left stick - only use the right stick to find the direction that is "towards you"). Fly in that general direction. If the distance stops decreasing, adjust the heading until the distance is decreasing again. Fly so until the distance is roughly equal to the altitude - the AC is then right above you and you can land. I used this technique on one of the app disconnects.

And whatever you do... DON'T PANIC as it equals to giving up! Look up the TDODAR methodology that the pilots use
2018-9-3
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Mike-the-cat
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Sorry to hear about your loss.
As you said, the critical thing is not to panic. Unlike a fixed wing aircraft, a quad will stay in hover over a location if there is no input. This is the part that is very counter-intuitive . I have encountered signal loss several times now and with GPS lock at lift off, you can be assured the craft will RTH unless instructed not to. It does, period and after many times, I've learned to suppress the palpitations and sweating. Any stick input simply elevates risk.
Flying at night without visual contact is a safety hazard. I hope you recognise that and luckily nobody was hurt.
Well, we live and learn. Thanks for sharing.
2018-9-3
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JJBspark
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BumblerBee Posted at 2018-9-3 01:20
An excellent analysis, JJB! My I ask which program you used to analyse those logs?

The little compass in the app is something that I now realise I must practice using!

Hi BumblerBee,

see this > https://forum.dji.com/thread-144696-1-1.html

When i practise i just turn left or right yaw (choose the shortest way) and bring the arrow to the center.
Fully fwd and check distance decreasing.

I use for my MA the center USB port always. (never used the other one so no comparison for me)

Program used is FRAP, see  https://forum.dji.com/thread-145649-1-1.html

cheers
JJB
2018-9-3
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Mark_One
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Sorry for your loss, massive respect for taking some accountability. More often than not dji is automatically to blame.
2018-9-3
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msinger
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I don't see any signs of the Mavic going haywire in your log. The weak signal messages were most likely due to flying low over top of the trees that were blocking your line of sight. To prevent that from occurring, you'll want to make sure the path is always clear between the Mavic and remote controller.




For the future, it would be a good idea to learn how the attitude indicator works in DJI GO. You can use it to manually guide the Mavic back to you even when you cannot see it. Here are a few videos that explain how the attitude indicator works:






As shown in the first video above, you could also follow the flight path on the map to manually guide the Mavic back to the original home point.
2018-9-3
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jacksonnai
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Sorry to read that mate
2018-9-3
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DJI Wanda
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Hi. We sincerely apologize for the unfortunate event happened. We highly suggest to contact our support +1 (818) 235 0789 Mon-Fri 7:00AM - 5:00PM (PST) to start up a case and let our engineers help you investigate on what happened.
2018-9-3
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Dirty Bird
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I haven't read through the entire thread & I am sure others have already commented, but a few things come to mind:

First is, when you start to lose signal or receive interference warnings, INCREASE ALTITUDE.  This is especially important if you are flying around trees, buildings, or other obstacles that can limit direct line-of-sight between the RC & the aircraft.  Altitude can help you regain signal.

Secondly, it is a good idea to learn to fly using the map & radar displays.  Often you will lose or receive garbled FPV, but the aircraft telemetry is still functional.  You can use this, along with the map & radar views, to fly home even without video.

Third, DON'T PANIC!  I know.  Your heart is pounding, you have no signal, & your $1000 aircraft is out there somewhere.  But you have to take a breath and remain calm lest you make a critical error like resetting the Home Point to the aircraft's current location.  This mistake doomed your flight.

I am sorry for this incident & hope you are able to recover your aircraft.  If you have a friend who owns a drone perhaps you can have him do some aerial reconnaissance of the GPS coordinates where she went down in hopes you can spot her from the air?  Good luck.
2018-9-3
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HereForTheBeer
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the biggest universal drone killer: Panic and you panicked.  

the build in screen on the controller can help too!  but only if you set home point to yourself or close by where you are, not on drone's location 500 meters away.     if you still had HP set to you or near you you could have used the built in screen even without the app functioning correctly, and blind as a bat..   pull height up to 250-300 feet to clear everything or higher if needed... then fly around in a bit of a circle until the distance drops remote's screen then follow that path and tighten it up , you should start to hear it and see the blinking lights..    its saved my several times using built in screen, having app issues and a bad usb cable, i was blind and over a mile away on rapidly fading light...  
2018-9-3
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13ringinheat
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JJBspark Posted at 2018-9-3 00:37
Hi,

Really sorry for your loss. What a story to tell, compliments for sharing your story.

I really appreciate your feedback and analysis.

I agree i need to practice some more with just using the remote's info and not rely on the go app and phone. I will be practicing this more often on my new drone from now on so that i can avoid this situation.

What messed me up was the constant loss of connection and in my mind i was thinking the connection lost also meant GPS failure as it failed to update the home point to my location when i corrected from my initial blunder.
2018-9-3
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13ringinheat
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Sky Donkey Posted at 2018-9-3 00:43
Sorry for your loss. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.. I lost my phantom 4 weeks ago after 18 months. It feels like someone has kidnapped your child. Put it down to experience and buy yourself a new bird. A lesson learnt. Carry on enjoying the hobby ...

Thank you all for your posts. I still love this hobby and i got myself the new mavic 2 pro to replace my older drone.

I posted this so i can learn from my mistakes and correct what i did for next time, also to help anyone who can take something from my loss and potentially prevent a loss themselves.
2018-9-3
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13ringinheat
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-9-3 00:53
(you were flying a bit too far and a bit too low alt 120ft...)

I was wondering about that too.  Whether weak signal (interference was term OP used) problem would have been solved by simply increasing altitude.

I could not....the drone was not that far from me but it was hidden behind trees and given that the area does not have much ambient light, i was not able to see it at all.
2018-9-3
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13ringinheat
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Alex Batalov Posted at 2018-9-3 01:13
Sorry for your loss. I know how you feel.
I also lost my first spark in the woods.
Better luck next time,you will learn from this as have I.

Thank you for this.....i was leaning towards Marco Polo. Better to have it and not need it than....
2018-9-3
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13ringinheat
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BumblerBee Posted at 2018-9-3 01:20
An excellent analysis, JJB! My I ask which program you used to analyse those logs?

The little compass in the app is something that I now realise I must practice using!

Thank you for this advice......i should have kept my cool in that situation.....i think between the helicopter showing up and getting disoriented added an additional layer of stress....also the stress of losing $1000 doesnt help either....LOL.
2018-9-3
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13ringinheat
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msinger Posted at 2018-9-3 03:27
I don't see any signs of the Mavic going haywire in your log. The weak signal messages were most likely due to flying low over top of the trees that were blocking your line of sight. To prevent that from occurring, you'll want to make sure the path is always clear between the Mavic and remote controller.

[view_image]

Thank you much for your information and the videos. I will definitely check it out!!

I am glad i posted my experience and i appreciate everyone that replied back. I have lots of homework to do for sure to not make this mistake again with my new bird.
2018-9-3
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13ringinheat
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Just a follow up on this story.........with a pic.

Below is the pic of what the woods look like from the ground when i tried to retrieve it the next morning....what it doesn't show is the amount of water as soon as you enter in there....Knee deep murky water.


2018-9-3
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HedgeTrimmer
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13ringinheat Posted at 2018-9-3 10:46
Just a follow up on this story.........with a pic.

Below is the pic of what the woods look like from the ground when i tried to retrieve it the next morning....what it doesn't show is the amount of water as soon as you enter in there....Knee deep murky water.

Enough foliage that your drone may be up in canopy vs. at bottom of knee deep murky water.

Probably need a fearless buddy to go along with you, and wear snake garters up to your neck.  
As for alligators;  eh, the drone is a goner.
2018-9-3
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rolling56
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Sorry to hear about your bird. I had a box in my garage a friend of mine brought me that he had for 40 years and returned it to me. Someone stole it while i was unloading groceries. Both my Mavic Pros we sitting close to it and they left them a lone. I ALWAYS close my garage when i am unloading it and it was just to hot that day. I am in awe so i can imagine how you feel/felt. Makes me sick these thieves are so brazen and quick. So keep an eye out people for bird thieves!
2018-9-3
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HedgeTrimmer
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13ringinheat Posted at 2018-9-3 10:27
I could not....the drone was not that far from me but it was hidden behind trees and given that the area does not have much ambient light, i was not able to see it at all.

I believe the trees (dense foliage) is what caused weak signal (interference).  I have seen similar problem when lowering drone down into small forest opening to do a picture taking inspection.  

Was able to do it when there were no leaves on trees.  Months later, trees all leafed out and after a rain, signal was to weak to lower drone down.
2018-9-3
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NomadRT
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It's a blind trust thing.   I've lost signal before and then the signal started going in and out.   I just had to trust that the drone would go into RTH mode and come back.   I could see it but couldn't communicate with it.  
2018-9-3
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13ringinheat
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HedgeTrimmer Posted at 2018-9-3 11:09
I believe the trees (dense foliage) is what caused weak signal (interference).  I have seen similar problem when lowering drone down into small forest opening to do a picture taking inspection.  

Was able to do it when there were no leaves on trees.  Months later, trees all leafed out and after a rain, signal was to weak to lower drone down.

Yea this is perhaps the case....i was just blown away by how bad that interference was.........thanks to the feedback from this post, i am much more aware and hopefully be more prepared if this happens again!
2018-9-3
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Gimpy
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You aren't a crap pilot; you just made a mistake, which we've all done.

A real crap pilot would never say "I am a crap pilot"; they'd say, "I lost my Mavic and it's all DJI's fault!"
2018-9-3
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S.D. Pilot
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Glad you owned up to the pilot error but it looks like you've also learned a very valuable lesson indeed.
2018-9-3
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HedgeTrimmer
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Cases like this got me to thinking about old Scuba rule - You always dive with a buddy.  
When flying drones in areas where it is difficult to locate a downed drone, having a Wing man/woman would pay off for narrowing search area.


2018-9-3
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Fly74
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That sucks. I am wanting to get the original Mavic Pro or Platinum and the thought of it getting away/lost/broken for whatever reason is scary.  I'm not normally one for insurance on electronics, but none can fly like this.  Is the full replacement policies good from 3rd party companies?  About how much each year for full coverage 100% replacement?  
2018-10-28
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AG0N-Gary
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13ringinheat Posted at 2018-9-3 10:27
I could not....the drone was not that far from me but it was hidden behind trees and given that the area does not have much ambient light, i was not able to see it at all.

Do remember that VEGETATION is a signal attenuator.  That's why you should try to always keep your drone in LINE OF SIGHT, even if you can't see it.  That means don't let anything come between you and the drone except air.  Also always keep your antennas properly oriented toward the drone.

As others have said, you panicked.  I've done it too.  I almost lost my Mavic recently while demonstrating to a non-drone person.  The wind was blowing a little, but not hard enough that it caused any problem.  I got to altitude and started losing positional control.  Thinking I must have gotten up into stronger wind, I pulled the stick down trying to bring it back down.  It kept "drifting" away from me.  I could see it was getting further and further away from me.  Finally I went hands off and regathered my senses.  In reality, I had been pulling down on the wrong stick when trying to bring it down.  It was backing further and further away from me because I told it to (it was facing me).  After figuring out that I had been erroneously controlling it, I brought it back home.  There wasn't a thing wrong with the drone, controller, or wind.  It was all me.

Something others haven't brought up to you may be worth keeping in the back of your mind.  As others have said, don't mess with resetting the home point.  It is stored at takeoff and you never know when you'll need it.  Leave it alone.  If you think you truly have lost control or connection with the drone, turn the remote control OFF.  When the drone loses signal, it should return to the takeoff location (as in RTH).  Always be sure that your RTH altitude it set at a sensible number, so that no matter where you go in general area where you are flying, you'll always clear all obstacles when it has to come home and land.

Don't panic.  When it looks like things are going wrong, take hands off of the controller and take a couple of deep breaths.  Then think about what you're doing and correct the situation.  You may have (most likely would have) regained full control and video just by pushing the altitude up to clear the vegetation and get back to line of sight.  As others have said, you more than likely still had full control.  You just lost the video feed (it's the first to fail with weak signal).

Gary - AG0N
2018-10-28
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13ringinheat
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Fly74 Posted at 2018-10-28 13:38
That sucks. I am wanting to get the original Mavic Pro or Platinum and the thought of it getting away/lost/broken for whatever reason is scary.  I'm not normally one for insurance on electronics, but none can fly like this.  Is the full replacement policies good from 3rd party companies?  About how much each year for full coverage 100% replacement?

You got to pay to play my friend. Don't let my story discourage you from getting a drone. It is a really rewarding hobby and it adds another layer to your video edits that can not be beat. I got my drone insurance through state farm and they were legit. No hassle and check was in the mail. I pay $70 a year in Florida and for me, this is worth every penny.
2018-10-28
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13ringinheat
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AG0N-Gary Posted at 2018-10-28 14:43
Do remember that VEGETATION is a signal attenuator.  That's why you should try to always keep your drone in LINE OF SIGHT, even if you can't see it.  That means don't let anything come between you and the drone except air.  Also always keep your antennas properly oriented toward the drone.

As others have said, you panicked.  I've done it too.  I almost lost my Mavic recently while demonstrating to a non-drone person.  The wind was blowing a little, but not hard enough that it caused any problem.  I got to altitude and started losing positional control.  Thinking I must have gotten up into stronger wind, I pulled the stick down trying to bring it back down.  It kept "drifting" away from me.  I could see it was getting further and further away from me.  Finally I went hands off and regathered my senses.  In reality, I had been pulling down on the wrong stick when trying to bring it down.  It was backing further and further away from me because I told it to (it was facing me).  After figuring out that I had been erroneously controlling it, I brought it back home.  There wasn't a thing wrong with the drone, controller, or wind.  It was all me.

Thanks, its a lesson learned for sure. Its funny, i have read dozens of lost drone posts and watched dozens of youtube videos to educate myself but it was all out the door once panic kicked in.

I have been practicing more with just the RC screen and no visuals and trying different things to better prepare myself if this happens again. Also i am much more strict about my pre flight check and also no more flying at night. Dusk is the darkest i am willing to go now.
2018-10-28
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