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Flying when a "No Fly Zone" activates: WARNING
2822 26 2018-11-12
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TheMightyThor
lvl.4
Flight distance : 2224665 ft
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United States
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This is just a little precautionary tale to those that are flying DJI products.
I was doing some test flying on Saturday, when out of nowhere an "Auto Land" activated and the drone began to descend. I still had control of the craft, except for throttle. I wasn't too far out so I brought the Inspire back in and watched it autoland, and I was really confused for a minute. I checked the DJI map and there were no active No Fly Zones near me and I was flying in Class G airspace. The App kept saying "can not take off", so I jumped into Air Map, and sure enough there was a massive five-mile radius No Fly Zone that was active due to a football game, and I was 4.7 miles from the stadium. This was only viewable in Air Map, there was absolutely no indication of this inside the DJI GO4 App.


What really aggravates me about this is that when you are mid-flight and a No Fly Zone activates, the drone will auto-land. That's absolutely crazy that it does this and not an auto RTH. I was flying around 300ft AGL, but had I been 100ft AGL there is no way I would have been able to land the drone in a safe place near me. It would have had to autoland hundreds of feet away. I feel like this situation is rare and I've never had this happen to me in years of flying, but I feel like this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

All of that to say, this could have been avoided had I checked Air Map and looked through the warnings section and saw that a No Fly Zone was activating at 2pm. So, for everyone else out there, make sure you're checking the warnings in Air Map for your location before every flight, and be aware that if you are mid-flight when a No Fly Zone activates, your drone will NOT RTH, it will auto-land.
2018-11-12
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HyperSpectral
Second Officer
Flight distance : 839160 ft
United States
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Are you sure your settings in the app aren't set to auto-land in any circumstance?

It's strange that it happened mid-flight, did you fly into the NFZ or did it just randomly update the NFZ in the background mid-flight?
2018-11-13
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TheMightyThor
lvl.4
Flight distance : 2224665 ft
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100% certain it is not set to auto land. Everything is set to RTH. And the No Fly Zone updated mid flight. I launched at 1:53pm, then promptly at 2pm when the No Fly Zone activated, the drone initiated an Auto Land.
2018-11-13
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Caspers driver
First Officer
Flight distance : 4540515 ft
United States
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I always check sky vector and AirMap before each flight, but never thought about what might happen in a case like yours.
Thanks for heads up! Glad it turned out ok with your flight.
2018-11-13
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eggbeater
First Officer
Flight distance : 2843527 ft
United States
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Does that mean at the time of flight the App 4 was "on line" and able to receive the No Fly Zone activation via the internet?  If so perhaps having the app 4 display device in "flight" mode would prevent the app 4 from connecting to its Chinese Master to receive NFZ updates while in flight.
2018-11-13
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TheMightyThor
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Yeah, when using my iPhone for flight, I always have it in Airplane mode, so the Inspire had to be communicating with something other than a cell signal. Also, if it has the ability to monitor NFZ's in real time, it absolutely should be able to give you a warning when one is approaching. "No Fly Zone activating in five minutes in your area. Please find a safe place to land or Auto Land will proceed at X:XXpm". I could see that being a major help if that's how it was done. But autolanding you with no warning is really not the best option on their part.
2018-11-13
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HyperSpectral
Second Officer
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United States
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Not only is it not the best option, it's inherently dangerous. DJI needs to give the user two options
1) autoland/RTH
2) take manual control of the sUAS and guide it to somewhere to land safely within the next few minutes
2018-11-14
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Christine96
Second Officer
United States
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Will this issue with auto land happen during a Litchi mission?  
2018-11-18
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TheMightyThor
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Christine96 Posted at 11-18 11:42
Will this issue with auto land happen during a Litchi mission?

I can only assume so, but I've never used Litchi. I wouldn't want to test it to find out though.
2018-11-18
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mixchief
First Officer
Flight distance : 160646 ft
United States
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Christine96 Posted at 11-18 11:42
Will this issue with auto land happen during a Litchi mission?

Does Litchi support DJIs restrictions? I was under the impression that one of it's advantages was that it had no such restrictions. I've only flown in "warning zones" and unrestricted areas so have never experienced any extreme actions from either app except the warning of entering a restricted area, which I also get on my Autel Explorer app.
2018-11-18
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cloudsurf
lvl.2

United States
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You entered a TFR. Generally any national sports game at a field/stadium will initiate a TFR.
2018-12-10
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TheMightyThor
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cloudsurf Posted at 12-10 14:57
You entered a TFR. Generally any national sports game at a field/stadium will initiate a TFR.

Yes, that's not the point of the post. The point is that when you are mid flight and a TFR activates while you are in the air, your craft will auto land and give you no option to cancel which is exceptionally dangerous.
2018-12-10
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cloudsurf
lvl.2

United States
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My point is that its recommended to understand and determine if TFRs are active in the area of your flight prior to flying in the area. You can avoid flying into TFRs by performing this diligence up front.
I use Foreflight (www.foreflight.com) on mobile and web. The user interface will give you a very clear indication of both TFRs and MOAs, along with their active windows.

Indeed it is good to know what potentially will happen to our drones upon entering a TFR. The FAA can suspend licenses for pilots who enter TFRs or MOAs.
2018-12-10
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Mark Weiss
First Officer
United States
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Lucky you were not over water. And affecting a flight that's already in progress like that is dangerous and could easily result in loss of the aircraft.  I've pretty much decided not to purchase any more DJI aircraft so long as this policy of crippling the flight controls is in place. I'll build my own instead.
2018-12-11
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fansbcf92021
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United States
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Same happened to me. Mid flight it gave me a countdown until auto land would initiate. Luckily I was close enough to land it by me. All of the obstacle avoidance turned off as well. After landing I was able to fly it again after unlocking the NFZ.
2019-3-28
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djiuser_ghoqp0YNFjaG
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Flight distance : 127940 ft

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Very sad to say that this just happened to me over my hometown - have had the drone for a couple weeks after buying it from a friend. It's a very small town located close to an aerodrome, so the entire town is an NFZ :/ What's weird is that I've been flying this drone around here at low altitude with no problems. Just needing to check the authorization boxes before flight.

Now today, as I was flying over one of the busy streets, the drone just initiated a auto landing because of the geofence.... I tried my best to get it to one of the quiet roads to land. As it was coming down my controller lost visual feedback and from some people who were around, they said it hit the side of one of the buildings next to the road a flipped down.

Ran to the road and found the drone upside down with two arms flipped inward and the blades are screwed :/ Very unhappy

I agree that DJI should fix this to rather do a return to home. Initiating an auto land and completely removing control from the pilot is a safety hazard. My drone literally could of hit one of the people in the road that saw it come down...

Does anyone have any experience with this? Would it be possible for me to send my drone in and get a refurbished one? It just doesn't feel right that that actually happened.

Please let me know!
2019-5-23
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FVP
Second Officer
France
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Please DJI, can you answer to your very disappointed  clients ?
2019-5-24
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HyperSpectral
Second Officer
Flight distance : 839160 ft
United States
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FVP Posted at 5-24 05:54
Please DJI, can you answer to your very disappointed  clients ?

No, unfortunately the only solution that is proven to work is to stop giving DJI your money
2019-5-24
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ToscanaDrone
Captain
Flight distance : 9747867 ft
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Any update about this (very big) problem?

I friend of mine had an auto landing for a NFZ over a river... he took the drone on the fly before it hit the water and was lucky.

I wonder if a drone like mine (Inspire 2 with X7... little bit expensive) should have an autolanding over a river or a lake where it is not possible to reach it or in a place where there are people and cause injuries? Who is responsible?

Wouldn't it be more appropriate to force an RTH?

Please DJI and Staff can you give an official answer? This is an important question that deserves a serious answer ... are you able to answer?
2019-5-26
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FVP
Second Officer
France
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This Auto land function need to be removed.
If there is a crash with injury, DJI will be responsible because we can’t pilot our machine for a safe landing.

2019-5-31
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AntDX316
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FVP Posted at 5-31 01:43
This Auto land function need to be removed.
If there is a crash with injury, DJI will be responsible because we can’t pilot our machine for a safe landing.

This is far from comforting.  Can DJI give input to this?
2019-6-4
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AntDX316
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fansbcf92021 Posted at 3-28 13:51
Same happened to me. Mid flight it gave me a countdown until auto land would initiate. Luckily I was close enough to land it by me. All of the obstacle avoidance turned off as well. After landing I was able to fly it again after unlocking the NFZ.

How long was the count down?
2019-6-4
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avawser
lvl.1

United States
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I have recently had 2 auto land incidents with my Inspire 1.  A town nearby has an airport slapped right in the middle of it classified Surface E.  I've gone through the waiver process with FAA to fly there and it was really not that bad on that end; got the waivers within 60 days of applying.  But then I go to shoot and have to go through the whole process with the DJI Go app to prove that I am a responsible person and accept responsibility to fly there.  The drone takes off, I begin getting shots, and then it suddenly initiates the auto land sequence.  Both times have almost resulted in an accident.  The first time the drone nearly went into the river, and the second time it came down near a building.  This function is very dangerous, and I fear that Dji will do nothing about it until someone actually gets hurt.  I am boggled as to why it doesn't initiate a return to home command.  I basically have to tell my clients now that I cannot shoot in their town because my drone prevents me from flying.  The FAA seems totally cool with me flying there, but I guess Dji thinks they know better.
Has anyone tried applying beforehand to fly in restricted airspace on the DJI FLysafe website?  If I provide a PDF of my waiver from FAA will that appease them?  I doubt they have a team standing by to read these documents 24 hours prior to a flight, but I really hate to lose business in that area due to my drone thinking it knows better than I do.
2019-6-7
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FVP
Second Officer
France
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It is time to sue DJI for security breach (auto landing danger, battery,  arbitrary NFZ) and to reduce the possibilities of inspire2 (maximum speed, display of rec709 when recording in d-log, stability in stationary mode, etc.).
2019-6-7
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LaurenOE
lvl.4
Flight distance : 941909 ft
United States
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Wow...this happened to me today. Good to know I'm not crazy. I almost lost my drone in a lagoon today because of this.
2019-12-12
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CHPV Media
lvl.4
Flight distance : 1172349 ft
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Is this a US problem or has anyone in the UK had this happen to them.
Come on DJI let’s have some answers please.
90% of my flying is over water so I’m not a happy flyer
2019-12-13
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Vpm
lvl.1
Netherlands
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On the island of Bonaire I have flied in the NFZ several times for longer periods.
This time, all of a sudden a forced auto landing was initiated.
Impossible to cancel.
The drone landed in the water. I recovered the drone but it doesn’t work anymore.
Very bad that it didn’t warn me for entering the NFZ or giving me an opportunity ugh to fly back home.
8-31 12:05
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