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Inspire 1 - Mid Air Failure Over Remote Bush
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3116 45 2017-1-8
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joelfen
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Yesterday I was flying my Inspire 1 Pro at Blue Mountains in Australia. When returning back to the launch position, while climbing out of the valley. I received an error - 'Motor Overloaded. Aircraft will decelerate to ensure safety'. I backed off the throttle slightly but continued to climb. 13 seconds later I received 'Cannot detect camera lens'. Video feed was still coming through and it continued to climb. One second later I lost connection and could no longer see the drone. It should have continued to climb to the Return-to-home altitude but did not and did not return. At last contact it had 42% battery and battery was fully charged at launch. All cells appeared normal from the logs. There was no chance of being a prop failure as it just flew for 6mins prior at much high speeds.
  
  
Currently the Inspire sits (I assume) crashed off the edge of a cliff approx. 400m down, in inaccessible land. Very disappointing as it was only about a year old. The other thing I can imagine that happened was the system had a software issue and crashed. At the time of the crash it was 200m above ground level. Even if I could get the drone back the damage was be extensive.

I was a big fan of the Phantom, Inspire and OSMO but after this, words cannot describe how disappointed I am.

Screenshots attached. All logs have been download. Not sure what the best course of action now is.
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2017-1-8
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RichJ53
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Very sorry for your loss and hope you can locate your Inspire again soon.  

Rich
2017-1-8
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Mike-the-cat
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Sorry to hear about this but anytime we fly in very hilly terrain, we are taking a risk. The I1 series doesn't have obstacle avoidance so its likely when you lost signal because of a local obstruction, the craft bumped into something on its RTH path.  
I recently did something similar except it was uphill. Broke the gimbal but the bird was intact. The Inspire 1 is a very reliable aircraft so I won't bash it if I were you. I strongly recommend you try retrieve the bird. You may be surprised by how intact it may be.
2017-1-8
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DJI Mindy
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I'm sorry for your loss, joelfen.
Did you get in touch with our tech support at support@dji.com?
Please sync the flight records from DJI GO app and send an email to our tech support with your DJI account email and the date this occurred.
They can analyze the data and let you know what could have caused the issue.
2017-1-9
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solarscar
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What was the RTH height? You went always down hill out of site. It may have climb the RTH height and went forward into hill. Sorry, hope you find it.
2017-1-9
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solarscar
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I also wonder if something smacked your camera really hard. Only thing I can think of for not detecting the camera
2017-1-9
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Mike-the-cat
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-10 03:50
The RTH was set at 100m, the drone didnt attempt to return to home at all. If it did it would have continued its climb to 100m. Before flying to the take off location

How do you know this for sure? Did you have sight of the craft? If you lost telemetry at the point of issuance of a 'move forward command'. The craft would have done that and crashed before RTH initiation.

This happened to me when I was going around a high hill. I knew the risks and I paid for my crash. Just before the crash, there was an issue of a turn off video record. That command was complied with together with a pull back (unfortunately too close to the hill and there was high wind too) command.

The only way to be positive about your case is to retrieve the craft and to get hold of its onboard 'black box'. IMO DJI doesn't deserve 99% of the criticisms posted on these pages. The engineering is largely fine (not perfect) and most crashes are due to pilot error.

That said, I hope you get back into the air again soon.
2017-1-10
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Aeromirage
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I keep seeing threads like this reinforcing my firm belief to never fly out of LOS.
2017-1-10
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Donnie Stugots
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Sorry for the crash , if you do recover it or get a new one I highly would advise getting a 'Trackimo " device , they work great and are fairly priced.  I paid about 100 use dollars for the Device and then one year of tracing was free, then the cell fee is 5 dollars us a month. so it runs me about 120 dollars yearly for the peace of mind .

good luck

donnie
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2017-1-10
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Mike-the-cat
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-11 23:03
Not sure where you got the idea that I was out of line of sight came from. I could clearly see the craft at the time. I was at a high point looking down. I actually flew my Phantom 4 to the exact same position (as per log files) and tested the RTH set at 100m and it flew back perfectly. I know it was set at 100m because I have a screen shot.

Hmm. In that case, it would be interesting to retrieve the craft to see what the cause of the failure was. Mid air motor or ESC failure is very rare and your situation did not sound like a battery failure. Control electronics don't fail suddenly. What do you have in mind for a 'software failure' - run into bush when signal is lost?
2017-1-12
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Mikey.C
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Did you update to the latest firmware? FM V10.01.40 by any chance?
2017-1-16
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Insieme Agency
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What FW was on the AirCraft ????
2017-1-17
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joelfen
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Insieme Agency Posted at 2017-1-17 06:26
What FW was on the AirCraft ????

It was running the latest - Firmware v1.10.1.40
2017-1-17
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joelfen
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Mikey.C Posted at 2017-1-16 02:07
Did you update to the latest firmware? FM V10.01.40 by any chance?

Yes, It was running the latest - Firmware v1.10.1.40
2017-1-17
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Mike-the-cat
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-17 14:37
I agree, retrieving the craft would be very interesting, unfortunately the location it is in a virtually un-accessible. It is approx. 7hour walk one-way into the bush. With no trails nearby. Would need to take a machete to cut the thick bush and a personal emergency beacon. We are currently in mid summer and due to the high risk of bush fire, it would VERY VERY risky to attempt a recovery mission. All logs show no major call outs. However exactly 1 second before failure - there was a error 'lens not detected'. Which is strange as the video was not affected at this stage all, video was normal. This is why I believe their might have been a software failure - possibly a sensor reading a value out of range then causing the system to crash completely (similar to blue screen of death). Or a process in the background that was looping as a result of the camera lens error. Just my guess.

Sorry to hear. You could try flying another craft down to the location, air recce and then decide on a further course of action.

A non-conspiracy theory explanation for what happened is that when you were having troubles, you inadvertently pitched up your controller (or yawed it) causing a loss of transmission at the time the craft was traveling forward. It then hit the bush, lost the camera (gimbal disconnect) in the process, issued a final message about the lens before losing contact altogether.

The Inspire has logged millions of hours worldwide and 'software failure' is not a plausible explanation.

I think you have to accept that whenever we fly in conditions such as those you describe, we risk losing a craft.

The new gen aircraft with collision avoidance turned on might have fared better in the situation you described but until you retrieve the craft....

The solid state memory chips containing the flight data can survive harsh conditions for months / year as evidenced by recovered action cameras. So if you really want to know, I wouldn't give up trying....

2017-1-17
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eggbeater
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Bird strike?  Are there birds of prey nesting in the cliff faces?
2017-1-17
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Aeromirage
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-11 23:01
Not sure where the idea that I was out of line of site came from. I could clearly see the craft at the time.

My mistake. I saw 3968.4 M flight distance and took that to be distance from home point and not total distance traveled.
2017-1-17
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SkyHigh UAV
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eggbeater Posted at 2017-1-17 16:39
Bird strike?  Are there birds of prey nesting in the cliff faces?

Plenty of birds around that area that would take a swipe at the drone. Flown around that place recently and had to make a few sudden climbs to get the message to my eagle friend.
2017-1-18
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eggbeater
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I was using Drone Deploy last year in the country side and I disturbed a flock of seagulls that were residing near a fish hatchery and they started taking a lot of interest before I pushed the home button.  Purchased a self deploying parachute system so I'd have a chance at recovery from a disabling bird strike.  Improved my confidence tremendously.
2017-1-18
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DJI-Jamie
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-17 14:37
I agree, retrieving the craft would be very interesting, unfortunately the location it is in a virtually un-accessible. It is approx. 7hour walk one-way into the bush. With no trails nearby. Would need to take a machete to cut the thick bush and a personal emergency beacon. We are currently in mid summer and due to the high risk of bush fire, it would VERY VERY risky to attempt a recovery mission. All logs show no major call outs. However exactly 1 second before failure - there was a error 'lens not detected'. Which is strange as the video was not affected at this stage all, video was normal. This is why I believe their might have been a software failure - possibly a sensor reading a value out of range then causing the system to crash completely (similar to blue screen of death). Or a process in the background that was looping as a result of the camera lens error. Just my guess.

I'm sorry for your loss. Have you contacted the Support team in order to submit your Go app logs, per Mindy's advice?
2017-1-18
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ROGAT
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Hi, real bummer you have lost the bird very painful experience, just an aside for you, did you have a permit to fly there? Wentworth Falls is National Park and all Drone flight are banned without a Permit from Parks, whether Commercial or leisure, just a word of warning as they get fairly antsy about it and I'm sure you weren't aware as a lot of people aren't unfortunately, ignorance is not a defense and I think we have to all stick together in sharing information to keep us on the right side of the authorities and so as not to make it any harder for people that follow

Cheers D
2017-1-19
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joelfen
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DJI-Jamie Posted at 2017-1-18 15:03
I'm sorry for your loss. Have you contacted the Support team in order to submit your Go app logs, per Mindy's advice?

Hi Jamie,

Yes I have contacted DJI support (#388372 and CAS-401582-K3J7P3). I have been ordered a 30% discount on the equipment I have lost. However this is far from suitable compensation. The Inspire was 10 months old and the battery was less then 6 months old. DJI support found the cause of the failure to be 'unknown'.
2017-1-19
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joelfen
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SkyHigh UAV Posted at 2017-1-18 02:18
Plenty of birds around that area that would take a swipe at the drone. Flown around that place recently and had to make a few sudden climbs to get the message to my eagle friend.

At the time of the failure it was approx. 200m from the cliff face. I also had video in the cache which showed no violent movement. The video just cuts out.
2017-1-19
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joelfen
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Mike-the-cat Posted at 2017-1-17 15:49
Sorry to hear. You could try flying another craft down to the location, air recce and then decide on a further course of action.

A non-conspiracy theory explanation for what happened is that when you were having troubles, you inadvertently pitched up your controller (or yawed it) causing a loss of transmission at the time the craft was traveling forward. It then hit the bush, lost the camera (gimbal disconnect) in the process, issued a final message about the lens before losing contact altogether.

Hi Mike,

Obviously it's hard to get a idea of the location of the failure with out seeing pictures/video. I've uploaded the video of the video from the cache.

Have a look and see what you think. Keep in mind I was standing on the rocks at the very end of the video. Keep in mind this video is unedited and just cuts off. This video lines up with the flight logs (approx.).

In my opinion there was nothing even remotely risky about this flight. I have flown my Phantom over the same location but couldnt see the craft. The bush is far too thick as you will see.
2017-1-19
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Mike-the-cat
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-19 15:42
Hi Mike,

Obviously it's hard to get a idea of the location of the failure with out seeing pictures/video. I've uploaded the video of the video from the cache.

Hi Joe,

This video shows you were clear of trees, no birds in sight either.

I still maintain software does not cause this type of crash. Its also highly unlikely motor /ESC failure.
occurred as the craft would have tumbled before crashing and you'd capture this.

This leaves a cold solder failure as an option. That would be a manufacturing defect but unlike the old phantom series, most of the electrical junctions on this bird are super clean. So....that's also unlikely.

The Inspire is very tough and will survive a fall to ground through trees very easily. The X5 repair will be around USD 250 and the craft repair probably another 250. The dry conditions in your area will keep the electronics fine. I've retrieved an old P2 this way back in the day when nav systems and batteries were less sophisticated. Took me two weeks (the craft was not where I thought it'd be). and the P2 survived rain. It still flies.  Another time, in Thailand, I went round a headland and an Inspire RTH'ed into a tree on a hill. Crashed down from 10m, broke one arm and that was it.

Don't even bother with a ground search until you have confirmed location from the air. (you may be pleasantly surprised at how this can work). Fly a systematic grid after the initial LOS route and review the footage carefully on a large screen monitor. Look really carefully. I'm sure you'll locate the craft. If the bush is as thick as you say it is, it will likely get caught in branches rather than fall to the ground.

Looks like you might have to be airlifted down to the valley floor to make your way up to retrieve the craft given the steep bluffs but hey its an adventure.  Keep us posted! We'll be cheering you on.
2017-1-19
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DJI-Jamie
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-19 15:15
Hi Jamie,

Yes I have contacted DJI support (#388372 and CAS-401582-K3J7P3). I have been ordered a 30% discount on the equipment I have lost. However this is far from suitable compensation. The Inspire was 10 months old and the battery was less then 6 months old. DJI support found the cause of the failure to be 'unknown'.

Based on what was provided, the flight records that were pulled could not provide any difinitive answer. There were no apparent drops in voltage, motor failure or anything that would have stuck out as to why the records or video feed would cease prior to it losing communication with the Go app. Because of that and that the craft is not available to further evaluate the situation, they could not apply the warranty completely and wanted to provide you a way to get you back in the air again by providing a discount.
2017-1-20
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joelfen
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DJI-Jamie Posted at 2017-1-20 15:02
Based on what was provided, the flight records that were pulled could not provide any difinitive answer. There were no apparent drops in voltage, motor failure or anything that would have stuck out as to why the records or video feed would cease prior to it losing communication with the Go app. Because of that and that the craft is not available to further evaluate the situation, they could not apply the warranty completely and wanted to provide you a way to get you back in the air again by providing a discount.

Hi DJI-Jamie,

There was a warning message exactly 1 second before loss of communication saying 'could not detect lens' this is the indication of a system failure. The Inspire was flying with out issue for 6 minutes before the warning message. This was using the standard 15mm DJI lens. These is correlation between the warning message and the failure of the Inspire. It is highly unlikely there is no connect between the warning message and the failure.
2017-1-20
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SkyHigh UAV
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-20 23:05
Hi DJI-Jamie,

There was a warning message exactly 1 second before loss of communication saying 'could not detect lens' this is the indication of a system failure. The Inspire was flying with out issue for 6 minutes before the warning message. This was using the standard 15mm DJI lens. These is correlation between the warning message and the failure of the Inspire. It is highly unlikely there is no connect between the warning message and the failure.

Can you upload your flight log to HealthyDrones would be interesting to see the KML overlay on Google earth Pro.
2017-1-21
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SkyHigh UAV
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-22 20:04
Sure thing, link below to the KML file from Healthy Drone. Hosted on Google Drive

I'm going to be posting a video soon with all the flight data, and and the response so far from DJI.

That cant be right Home point Altitude:2816 feet, have you got the actual healthy drones link. Not Kml
2017-1-22
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Mario A.
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I had a very similar case, flying under a bridge last year. Battery was fine with 78 %, suddenly i get the "Propulsion Output Limited"-Message, what seems to be very normal when flying the Inspire 1 Pro with X5-Camera attached. Approx 1:20 into the flight the Drone was falling into the river, without power - no control, no lights. After recovering it from the river my only chance was the video the Drone was recording - the file was corrupted, because of the power loss.

Before the recovery of the X5 DJI Germany told me first that the drone would have crashed, because of the bridge, it was in RTH (i told them that my failsafe high is about 50 M and the drone was on 54 climbing), after that they told me again that is was in RTH - i asked them why the landing gear is up when this is true. Then they said, that i raised it manuelly and all this stuff.

After getting the broken video-file reviewed i get a new Inspire 1 Pro with X5 and a new spare battery. I think DJI knows exaktly why the I2 have 2 batterys right now and more reducancy. But the major problem is still, that it´s a quad. You lose one Prop / ESC you lose the drone.
2017-1-23
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DJI-Jamie
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-20 23:05
Hi DJI-Jamie,

There was a warning message exactly 1 second before loss of communication saying 'could not detect lens' this is the indication of a system failure. The Inspire was flying with out issue for 6 minutes before the warning message. This was using the standard 15mm DJI lens. These is correlation between the warning message and the failure of the Inspire. It is highly unlikely there is no connect between the warning message and the failure.

Not being able to detect the camera lens would indicate a camera issue, and it's not known to be a precurser to a power or overall system failure. As others have mentioned, other warning messages regarding the tuned propulsion or the battery have had some correlation to some crashes, and the data from those flight logs have been able to record a drastic change such as a sudden drop in voltage, extreme fluctuations in the motor etc. to back it up. With your case, nothing stands out other than that the flight log had stopped while ascending. Because the unit is not available for further evaluation,  they are not able to apply the warranty fully, but want to try and work with you. Unfortunately, the discount percentage was the best that they could do in this case. If you are somehow able to finally recover the aircraft, a sencond evaluation can be done to try and apply the full warranty to that unit.
2017-1-23
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Jacques
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Aloha, I can tel you that DJI know that when you stop power to the inspire 1 x5 the message " can not detect camera lens" show up. From late December the X5 camera can't recognize any lenses profile and I believe it's A fact that when you stop or lose power the message above will display. I'm not sure why but I can't find anyone to get info on this bug. Every time I stop the power to my x5 this message show up  kind a wired I hope they find a quick solution to this bug. With out recognizing this lens the photos are not displayed correctly also in the final photo and in the fly log kind a weird .... mahalo
2017-1-23
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Mark Guille
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Hi Joel,

Real sorry about you loss dude. Could you post the video of the flight from the DJI app (the on-screen-display). I'm not 100% sure how you do this, I guess you would have to replay the flight in the app and use another app to record your screen whilst it plays. I believe I know why your bird dropped like it did.

Mark G.
2017-2-3
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Mark Guille
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Also, how long before this flight did you charge the battery? I appreciate this was a while ago but could be useful if you can remember.

Mark G.
2017-2-3
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Mike-the-cat
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This was informative...

Within 15s of takeoff, you are already at the max rated speed of this craft 72 kph or 20m/s. You actually exceed the 20m/s electronically governed speed limit which tells me you are going with the wind on the outbound flight.. Did you know that that brings on very significant current drain which stresses the battery?

You go absolutely, whole hog full throttle for two solid minutes, covering 2 km - take some footage while at about eye level and then dip 330m or a thousand feet with full down stick and and then 100% forward throttle. You are going against a pretty stiff wind because normally, descending at the max rate the aircraft is allowed to descend, you airspeed will hit max easily with less throttle At around -330m elevation you go up full blast. Battery is diminishing to around 40+%. Critical failure hit at around -115m.

You had a motors overloaded warning with dropping battery levels and were still about 150M below home and you were still cranking it (the correct thing to have done was to gently push the throttle to recover as much height gradually as you can) To compound this, you had a headwind to deal with. In short you were banging the I1 +X5 for all it was worth the entire flight except for the short period you took two photos.

What do you think happened? Battery failure, very likely. but I would not peg it down to a manufacturing defect. I think this is a great example of why DJI limited aggressive flying a few FW versions back much to the chagrin of some flyers. As you said dude, its an expensive craft. This was a really painful way to learn about battery load effects. I have no doubt it would be argued that the battery calculator failed here. It is designed to operate with average loads, not the insane loads you put the battery through. This is congruent with the high battery temperature you hit just before telemetry failed.

Sorry man, expensive lesson. My advice is to take Jamies offer up and go away wiser.
2017-2-6
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Mark Guille
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Mike has hit the nail on the head there. The "cannot detect lens" message will pop up when the battery dies and that is exactly what happened. When amps are aggressively drained from a battery like this it has a similar effect to, pretty much halving the capacity. Unfortunately the algorithms used to calculate battery percentage are somewhat vague at the best of times and to make matters worse, they don't seem to take the effects of heavy amp drain into account properly (if indeed, that is actually possible). Having learned a little about batteries from flying RC over the years, I was cringing when I watched your bird descending into that valley. That thing was never going to make it back.
If you have little or no knowledge of how batteries perform under load, you would naturally believe starting your return journey at around 70% would be a safe bet. I believe that had the terrain been flat, you would have made it back, even against the wind but having descended over 300m,  you may just as well have flown out another 2000m. I also believe that you were not to know that this was going to happen.
There was no fault with that machine or battery and it pains me to say it but this was a case of pilot error,  albeit due to lack of knowledge. Knowledge, you could argue that DJI should supply in their manual.

Heart goes out to you dude. I hope DJI will do the descent thing. Good luck man.

Mark G.   
2017-2-6
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DJI-Jamie
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joelfen Posted at 2017-2-6 01:44
Hi DJI-Jamie,

I have looked further into the log files, immediately before last contact the battery temperature hit over 56 degrees Celsius. From forums posts I've seen, others have had similar failures when battery temps are over 55 degrees Celsius. Apparently this is common with LiPo batteries. If the battery had a complete failure (i.e. stopped outputting power) there would be no log files or warnings. This battery only had 6 cycles on it, so it was basically brand new. It would seem very possible this battery had a manufacturing defect and once temperatures raised it caused a component inside the battery to fail.

From what I see, it has been escalated within the Support team based on the last correspondence you received. i don't know whether the outcome will change, but I'll follow up.
2017-2-6
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Mike-the-cat
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joelfen Posted at 2017-2-6 15:19
Hi Mike, Thanks for the analyses. You raise some good points. You seem very experienced and knowledgeable with quad-copters and other UAVs from your comments. I don't disagree with any of your points specifically. The only comment I challenge is the mention of wind, the wind was relatively low and by all means within DJI specs. See attached screenshot from HealthyDrones. Also found similar wind reading from a nearby weather station. You are correct, the outbound flight was with the wind. What my issue with the situation is this is not a hobby quadcopter, I didn't build it myself. It is a 'smart' quadcopter. It has been engineered and is designed for to meet certain specifications. It is also advertised claiming these specifications and abilities. The Inspire 1 limits the output of the motors to ensure the aircraft doesn't go over speed or over output (hence the warning messages). This is in contrast to a racing drone capable of flying upside down etc.
Final battery readings below, would this indicate the battery was exhausted?  The legal question is, did the Inspire 1 meet what DJI advertised it is capable of? No, I did not push it past what DJI advertised it can do. I don't doubt this was a harder flight than most. However, on paper there was only approx. 200m of climb before the inspire failed and 3900m - both not outside the specs for the Inspire.
To put it simply, the Inspire 1 Pro failure to perform what it was advertised being capable of. Not at anytime did I operate it outside of the specifcations or guidelines/manual.

Joe,

Mark and I both feel that this matter is case closed.  I suggest you read https://rogershobbycenter.com/lipoguide/ as a guide on how to treat lipo's. (section on discharge ratings)

A simple analogy is this: Say you are Usain Bolt  and you are racing. You can expect Usain to maintain top speed for about 20 sec, after that he can't. He can't keep up 100m speed for 1km, no physiological system can. Same for battery chemistry. You were pushing that battery way too hard all the flight.

When a manufacturer specs its devices, they mean - 'up to' and they expect that to mean burst speed and not sustained speed. ANY flyer including Pros will attest to that.

The speed delta on the inbound journey is congruent with your wind data. There was a very substantial 30kph delta in speed  inbound. Generally, you should keep high current draw activities short and to the outbound flight. Now, mind you, gusts of 13.3ms are nothing to sniff at. This is not 'gentle breeze'.
Your batteries were labouring and the last push ascent gave your bird a heart attack. Posting your battery data just nailed shut the coffin. Those voltages would barely be enough to sustain altitude much less climbing another 100m

I apologise for sounding harsh but if you think you can get a lawyer to fight your case, think again.

Again, best advice is to take up Jamie's offer.
2017-2-6
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DJI-Jamie
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joelfen Posted at 2017-2-6 20:48
Hi Mike,

I appreciate your comments, however we have very different consumer protection laws when compared to Singapore (location from your profile). Ironically, I am actually in my 3rd year of a Bachelor of Laws (if the law textbooks weren't already sending me bankrupt, drones will). From my research I believe I have a strong case (under Australian Consumer Law). I wouldn't be still posting about it otherwise. Obviously at the end of the day it's up to the court to decide (or in Australia the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal initially). At this point I have nothing to lose other then approx. $100 in fees. Thank you for the legal advice anyway...

Even with a re-evaluation, they still could not apply the warranty to this case due to not enough reasonable data in order to validate a fault with the craft. The Support team has tried to help you out with a courtesy 50% discount to get you back in the air. This was the final offer on the subject and from what's been stated thus far, you're moving forward with your next possible 'favorable' outcome attempt.
I'm sorry that a positive resolution could not have been met. What you choose to do from here is ultimately up to you.
2017-2-9
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joelfen Posted at 2017-1-20 23:05
Hi DJI-Jamie,

There was a warning message exactly 1 second before loss of communication saying 'could not detect lens' this is the indication of a system failure. The Inspire was flying with out issue for 6 minutes before the warning message. This was using the standard 15mm DJI lens. These is correlation between the warning message and the failure of the Inspire. It is highly unlikely there is no connect between the warning message and the failure.

I always get the same message one second before the battery switches off after pushing the power button.
2017-2-10
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