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DJI Avata Flyaway: A Stark Reality of a Drift Between Product Ex...
1358 24 2023-9-12
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HighlandAirhead
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Setting the Scene
The DJI Avata is synonymous with aerial excellence. It's a drone that promises precision, delivering cinematic shots with ease. However, my recent encounter has raised questions, not about the drone's performance, but the company's commitment to its customers.

The Incident
On a familiar turf, I let my DJI Avata take flight. A routine affair quickly turned awry when it initiated a 'Return to Home' (RTH) operation and never made it back. With a clear sky and no trees to block its path (evident from my footage), the drone's disappearance was perplexing.

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOqMVS_7VkvxdPX3-jZaOuL0BbmV4O9PhWLyv289c4woE8nApZnzm0QxyszyzC8dg/photo/AF1QipPd4lgTfUM7phGxUFEWP8ePOsGpKvbxn9lkzIti?key=dEFhajhtWEI3ZUhMN3FhWWpLdU5tTGhzQjI0OW93

The Exhaustive Hunt
Basing my search on the last known GPS coordinates, I expected a straightforward retrieval despite the failed RTH advised from my Goggles. Two days of combing the vicinity, however, led to no sign of the drone.

Reaching Out to DJI
Hoping for a swift resolution, I contacted DJI, especially since I was covered for flyaways. However, the week that followed felt more like a game of charades. Misunderstandings about the drone model and irrelevant queries plagued our conversation. A week in, I managed to direct their focus to the Avata's goggles, the primary source for my footage.

Strangely, DJI’s solution was for me to record my goggles using a mobile phone. This archaic approach was unexpected from a company at the pinnacle of drone technology.

DJI's Official Report
I received the following response from DJI:

"Greetings from DJI Support.
We have received the data analysis result for the accident. Summary:
Serial Number: 1581F4QW3232H003H04V
Flight Date: 2023-09-02 15:58:01 (UTC+8) FLY 90
1. The aircraft worked in Manual mode;
2. Flight Time T=05:12, Relative Height H=17.8 m, Distance to Home Point D=162.1 m, the aircraft tilted 33.5 degrees forward, the pilot pushed up the throttle stick and moved the roll stick to the left, the aircraft flew in a counter-clockwise direction at 10.9 m/s and descended at 4.1 m/s, then it would crash with the obstacle;
3. The incident point: 57.3668616, -3.7495951.
Conclusion: The incident was caused by the operation error of the pilot. Please pay attention to the environment."

This assessment, in stark contrast to my video footage and experience, pointed to a 'pilot error'. Their claimed crash site was one I'd inspected thoroughly. Notably, my footage clearly showcased the drone entering a ravine, losing contact, and invoking the RTH.

In Conclusion
The prowess of DJI Avata remains unquestioned. Yet, this ordeal with DJI's customer service has been eye-opening. A brand's reputation is twofold: the quality of its products and the efficacy of its support. This experience, unfortunately, has cast a shadow over the latter. The desire remains not for blame but clarity, understanding, and genuine resolution. What does concern me particularly is that I have had a 2-3 RTH incidents in that location because of the hilly terrain prior to the recent firmware update, then it literally flew away on the final RTH, despite no obstructions, perfect line of site and satellite coverage.

How_to_export_the_Flight_Records_or_Video_Cache_files_from_the_DJI_FLY.pdf

503.65 KB, Down times: 8

2023-9-12
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DJI Thor
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Hi HighlandAirhead, thank you for reaching out. We feel terribly sorry for the unpleasant experience that you came across. It is not our intention in any way to add more frustrations to our customers.
For your issue, please note that we will double-check with our relevant team. We will also keep improving our service. Thank you for your tolerance and understanding!
2023-9-12
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Depp
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Pilot error, my a**. I hope you have more luck in the "double check". If you can fly manual I'd suggest a nice sub 250 4" or a nice 5" with O3 for the future. Much more fun but of course no solution to your valid points.
2023-9-12
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Sean-bumble-bee
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Why not post the log here? That equates to, uploading the .txt flight log to
https://www.phantomhelp.com/logviewer/upload/
and posting the resulting URL here.
Others might have a look and offer a second opinion.
2023-9-13
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HighlandAirhead
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 9-13 00:14
Why not post the log here? That equates to, uploading the .txt flight log to
https://www.phantomhelp.com/logviewer/upload/
and posting the resulting URL here.

good idea, will post it later
2023-9-13
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HighlandAirhead
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Depp Posted at 9-12 22:04
Pilot error, my a**. I hope you have more luck in the "double check". If you can fly manual I'd suggest a nice sub 250 4" or a nice 5" with O3 for the future. Much more fun but of course no solution to your valid points.

Updated response :

"Our analyst has double checked your case and also discussed with senior technicians, but the results remain standing. When disconnection occurs, the screen would go black and theoretically there should be no other App notifications except signal lost one. From your flight record, we also did not find any RTH notice. Based on the current data, the drone crashed to the ground very quickly after the disconnection. "

Given that I can even see there was an RTH alert from the log this is starting to become farcial, clearly DJI have absolutely no intention of honouring Fly Away events.

2023-9-14
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Sean-bumble-bee
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Why not post the flight log?
2023-9-14
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BudWalker
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How did you conclude that RTH was initiated?

You state "the drone entering a ravine, losing contact, and invoking the RTH." But RTH couldn't have been reported if contact was lost.


The image shown in post #6 is at time 3:53 whereas the incident occurred at time 5:12. Besides offering no information about the incident an image like this really can't provide any useful info. You should post the .txt log as @sean-bumble-bee suggests.
2023-9-14
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HighlandAirhead
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BudWalker Posted at 9-14 07:18
How did you conclude that RTH was initiated?

You state "the drone entering a ravine, losing contact, and invoking the RTH." But RTH couldn't have been reported if contact was lost.

After comprehensive analysis using the invaluable resources from airdata.com, it's evident that there were two distinct Return to Home (RTH) events during my flight. While the first was accurately documented in the flight data and the camera successfully recovered, the second was only observable through my goggles and remains unrecorded. The attached screenshot and corresponding log data, presented transparently in CSV format, clearly indicate an abrupt loss of transmission mid-flight, leaving the subsequent actions of the drone undocumented despite a substantial 40% battery life.

Disturbingly, no concrete evidence from my goggles captures this second RTH event, a critical piece of the puzzle. DJI's omission to incorporate goggle data as part of the flight data log severely hampers a holistic interpretation of the flight, effectively omitting key evidence. This oversight, combined with their limited interpretation of the flight and video data and the glaring failure of the log data to capture anything post the final signal transmission, forces me to consider legal action. DJI's claims that the drone crashed, despite the challenging terrain and the noted transmission loss at a significant altitude, seem unfounded and dismissive. Given the circumstances, I am compelled to enforce my consumer rights against such negligence.
dji_avata_missing.jpg

Sep-2nd-2023-08-58AM-Flight-Airdata.zip

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flight data

2023-9-17
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BudWalker
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HighlandAirhead Posted at 9-17 03:40
After comprehensive analysis using the invaluable resources from airdata.com, it's evident that there were two distinct Return to Home (RTH) events during my flight. While the first was accurately documented in the flight data and the camera successfully recovered, the second was only observable through my goggles and remains unrecorded. The attached screenshot and corresponding log data, presented transparently in CSV format, clearly indicate an abrupt loss of transmission mid-flight, leaving the subsequent actions of the drone undocumented despite a substantial 40% battery life.

Disturbingly, no concrete evidence from my goggles captures this second RTH event, a critical piece of the puzzle. DJI's omission to incorporate goggle data as part of the flight data log severely hampers a holistic interpretation of the flight, effectively omitting key evidence. This oversight, combined with their limited interpretation of the flight and video data and the glaring failure of the log data to capture anything post the final signal transmission, forces me to consider legal action. DJI's claims that the drone crashed, despite the challenging terrain and the noted transmission loss at a significant altitude, seem unfounded and dismissive. Given the circumstances, I am compelled to enforce my consumer rights against such negligence.

Why are you refusing to provide the .txt log file? Without it I'm forced to agree with DJI's analysis since they have actually seen the data.

So far all you've provided is your interpretation of a limited data set that has been converted to a .csv. An AirData .csv is only marginally more useful than the image shown in post #6.
2023-9-17
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Sean-bumble-bee
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HighlandAirhead Posted at 9-13 04:28
good idea, will post it later

still waiting
2023-9-17
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HighlandAirhead
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The issue has been resolved, I want to reflect on this a bit more before I respond. I personally think the DJI Avata is the best drone out there, the customer service unfortunately can range from the very good to the very poor unfortunately.

If you are massively keen to get the data, please provide a link since I am quite happy to provide it if I can follow some instructions.
2023-9-19
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Sean-bumble-bee
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See post #4.
2023-9-19
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BudWalker
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HighlandAirhead Posted at 9-19 02:30
The issue has been resolved, I want to reflect on this a bit more before I respond. I personally think the DJI Avata is the best drone out there, the customer service unfortunately can range from the very good to the very poor unfortunately.

If you are massively keen to get the data, please provide a link since I am quite happy to provide it if I can follow some instructions.

You can also provide the AirData link. That will contain a link to the original .txt log file.
2023-9-19
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Sean-bumble-bee
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BudWalker's "You can also provide the AirData link" = https://app.airdata.com/wiki/Help/Creating+and+managing+Flight+Shares
2023-9-20
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BudWalker
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Although more information can be obtained from the .txt log there is enough in the AirData .csv to conclude that the Avata probably impacted the ground. The last record has the ultrasonic height sensor showing a height of 4 m, descending at 4.11 m/s with a forward velocity of 11 m/s. The video and Google Earth both show the Avata approaching the leading edge of a ravine or small canyon. The forward and downward velocities could have carried the Avata into that ravine before crashing. I know you searched the area but often crashed drones can turn up after multiple searches. I've outlined a possible search area.

   2023-09-21_6-14-44.jpg
The fact that no RTH was recorded is consistent with the Avata crashing. At time 279 secs the link was lost and RTH was successfully recorded. The last record (time 384.7 secs) has no RTH recorded, just the message "Image transmission signal lost Image transmission signal weak. Adjust antennas and make sure they are perpendicular to flight direction of aircraft". The ""Image transmission signal lost" message was also seen in the video you provided. Unknown is if the FailSafe was still RTH as it was at time 279 secs. The .txt would tell us that in addition to other helpful data.


2023-9-21
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Sean-bumble-bee
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HighlandAirhead Posted at 9-19 02:30
The issue has been resolved, I want to reflect on this a bit more before I respond. I personally think the DJI Avata is the best drone out there, the customer service unfortunately can range from the very good to the very poor unfortunately.

If you are massively keen to get the data, please provide a link since I am quite happy to provide it if I can follow some instructions.

Still waiting...
2023-9-22
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HighlandAirhead
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I shil make time this weekend since its limited during the week.
2023-9-22
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Sean-bumble-bee
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HighlandAirhead Posted at 9-22 03:00
I shil make time this weekend since its limited during the week.

2023-9-22
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Sean-bumble-bee
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HighlandAirhead Posted at 9-22 03:00
I shil make time this weekend since its limited during the week.

Sunday 00:32 and still waiting.
2023-9-23
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Sean-bumble-bee
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 9-23 15:33
Sunday 00:32 and still waiting.

It would seem we aren't going to get a flight log.
2023-9-24
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Montfrooij
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 9-24 15:17
It would seem we aren't going to get a flight log.

I tend to agree.
2023-11-11
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Sean-bumble-bee
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2023-11-11
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Montfrooij
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Especially after almost 1,5 month
2023-11-11
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VladimirTalijan
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LOL This looks like lost video signal 4 meters above the ground with 4 meters downward velocity, it took 1 seconds to crash after losing the transmission.
2023-11-15
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