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Experienced Serious P4A+ Malfunction
546 2 2020-8-31
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United States

Let me start by saying I've been a remote pilot for 4 years & I've always taken excellent care of all my sUAS's. I purchased a Phantom 4 Advanced + (Has built in Screen)  2 years ago this month, always in a case, never crashed or flown in inclement weather, fly in south Florida so not big temperature changes. I purchased through B&H, used for RE Photography. It was a bright sunny day, I was shooting a property, established my home point in the front yard, ascended to around 100' took 3 images in different locations then returned to home point, powered down and moved to the rear of the property. Established my home point again and ascended to around 30' and flew out about 80' to shoot the rear of the property. I went to take a shot (Shoot in Manual) and could not adjust the camera settings, I always shoot aperture f9, iso100, then adjust shutter for proper exposure, everything was frozen on camera adjustments so I decided to bring it home and restart, it was within 3 ft of me and I started to land when I noticed at the top of the screen (In Red) Compass Error re-calibrate, I still had satellite connections. It landed on a concrete walkway surface then tipped over and propellers beating the concrete, I could not stop the motors with the stick so I reached down and picked it up by the landing skids, that's when all HELL BROKE LOOSE. The motors went to full throttle and on the screen said Return to Home was activated, I did not activate, it activated on its own. I had the controller in my left hand the drone in my right and the motors spinning at full throttle trying to ascend, had 20 mins of battery left. My option was to trust RTH and hope for the best or hang on to this thing until the battery expired, I choose the latter. Was not going to take a chance of this thing ascending to thousands of feet with 20 mins of battery time left. I put the controller on the grass and tried to shut this it off while it was in my right hand over my head and still at full throttle. On the screens left side was a 'X' with a circle around it, I tapped and a dialog box popped up asking me if I wanted to Cancel to RTH, I hit ok and still no control, still said at the top Return to Home Activated and the 'X' was back on the screen, tried multiple times and still no control. I brought the stick all the way back and still wouldn't shut down, pushed RTH on controller and still would not de-activate, tried pushing the button on the battery and still wouldn't shut down. All the while the propellers spinning at full throttle, at this point I thought if this skid breaks loose in my hand it will ascend so I now had to get my hand on the body with a firm grip. Now I was concerned that a propeller might break and I could be seriously injured, so here I was standing with my bird over my head, propellers spinning at full throttle for 20 mins. until the battery died. I was never so happy to see a dead battery in my life. I ejected the battery, it was hot as hell, the motors were so hot you couldn't touch them. I let everything cool down before packing away. When I got home 2 hrs later I turned everything on and it seemed to work as it normally does, I did not fly, propellers off, just wanted to see what the screen had to say when all was activated. At this time I think I'll pass on flying it, thought about sending it to DJI repair but that could be costly, its already 2 years old so why throw money at it when I can put it towards a new one. If anyone has had a similar issue I'd like to hear from you. If you haven't be aware, these are great tools for video and photography but they are flying toys with cameras and not made at Lockheed Martin or any other aircraft mfg. This is my 2nd DJI product, my first one had a motherboard issue during flight after 11 months of use, screen went completely black, luckily I landed without incident and was still under warranty, replacement cost was $750. I decided to upgrade when I purchased my P4A+, now I'm looking to purchasing my 3rd DJI. I did notice on a few previous flights the camera adjustment up/down would stick & stay in place then jump to where I wanted it to go, like it was stuck then unstuck itself with a jerking movement, guess this was my cue something wasn't right. My take away here is be alert & if something seems off pay attention it could be telling you something, if I trusted the RTH and was wrong this thing possibly could have ascended past the 400' altitude I programmed it for and kept going upward until the battery died out, don't even want to think about it. Just wanted to share my experience and hope it might help others. Be careful and fly safe.
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DJI Susan


Sorry to hear that you had experienced an issue with your Phantom 4 Adv +, for safety concern, you may send the drone to us for an overall inspection. The service fee will be based on the assessment.
Regarding your previous repair, would you mind providing the case number to me? I'll check the details of that case. Thanks.
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First Officer
Flight distance : 1262093 ft
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Why did not turned the drone upside down? It should trigger the Engine Off automatically.....
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