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Active Track "Fly Away" of $400 Spark - Not Happy
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3015 110 2017-12-19
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RepK
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Well after looking at threads here on this forum I can see I have just experience an "Active Track Fly Away" that cost me $400.
  
  
Had the Spark open for about a week.  I must say I love it.
  
  
I have the log showing where I was "active tracking" on an historic building when it seems to start to move away from the building.  Not knowing what was going on... I see from the log that I something started happening about 2:45 seconds into the flight.  I didn't notice what was going on (I thought it just lost active track).  Then when it reguired it started circling (because I was on active track and pushing the joystick to go sideways.
  
  
If you watch the joystick controls... I slowingly start pushing forward cause when I looked a video feed I could sense that it was fading away from building (I want to stay close to building and in line-of-sight.  Finally at 4:08 into flight I stop pushing on joysticks and the thing backs away at 28mph (WAS NOT IN SPORT MODE) until I lose connection.
  
  
I watched $400 fly away just like that.
  
  
This is obviously an issue with DJI...  AND A BAD ONE with the DJI Spark.  I just purchased on Black Friday 2017 and had less than 3 weeks (only one week out of the box).
  
  
Is it worth asking DJI to replace Spark if I have log showing the 'fly away'??


Here is a link to the video...  I speed it up to 8x during the first few minutes... then slow down when things start happening.  Notice the joysticks when it backs up at high speed.  Especially right at end when it goes bye-bye...


2017-12-19
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Bright Spark
First Officer
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It looks like there's a gale blowing from top left of screen. What do estimate wind speed at?
2017-12-19
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Wachtberger
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First of all I am sorry for your loss, certainly a shock for you! You should definitely open a support case with DJI: https://www.dji.com/support
If you wish so, you may also upload your flightrecord here and share the link with us for analysis: http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
You'll find the flightrecord on your mobile device in the DJI subfolder called \flightrecords.
And may I ask what you have been active tracking at about 160 feet altitude with high wind velocity warning?

2017-12-19
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LouisP
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It does not look like it lost GPS or went into ATTI mode.. It started moving away real fast and you didn't even put in any stick input to fly it back???  Assuming that it held GPS after you lost contact with it and the recording stoped, it should have tried to return to home.  Those high wind warnings are a concern.. maybe the wind at that altitude was too much for the spark to fight.
2017-12-19
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Bright Spark
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Well except in sport mode, top speed of around 20 mph can easily be dwarfed by wind speed, even though it might seem calm at ground level. You seem to holding your own at best with right input.
2017-12-19
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OneMatt
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Definitly open a case, if nothing else a repair is usually cheaper than a new drone.

In the future, DO NOT ignore those high wind warnings! They are letting you know that the drone is reaching its safe limit for being able to compensate and remain in control.
2017-12-19
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RepKK
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I called support and they were very helpful.  I opened a case.  It was a little windy but not bac.  I was tracking the historic clock tower on the building.   I was up at 160ft feet so that I wouldn't be interferring with any buildings.  I was in line-of-site until it started trying to back away (again I didn't even realize I was pushing 100% forward (just instinct) and they when i let off - boom! it was gone!!

I synced my log with them and the gentleman has already sent me email with all my information on the case.

Let's see how they handle this.  I really like this drone.  It is awesome.  I see where everyone else is having this issue during active track.  I wish mine wasn't at 160ft when it happened.
2017-12-19
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Wachtberger
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RepKK Posted at 2017-12-19 13:34
I called support and they were very helpful.  I opened a case.  It was a little windy but not bac.  I was tracking the historic clock tower on the building.   I was up at 160ft feet so that I wouldn't be interferring with any buildings.  I was in line-of-site until it started trying to back away (again I didn't even realize I was pushing 100% forward (just instinct) and they when i let off - boom! it was gone!!

I synced my log with them and the gentleman has already sent me email with all my information on the case.

Good to hear that you got so quick assistance!
2017-12-19
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RepK
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Bright Spark Posted at 2017-12-19 12:40
It looks like there's a gale blowing from top left of screen. What do estimate wind speed at?

Actually, at 3:52 into flight I believe the Spark was attempting to fly away (while active tracking to the right)... if you watch my joystick (I didn't realize it at the time but) I am increasing the forward motion on the Spark to keep it from moving backward).  I was looking at the screen and thinking "Am I moving backward?".  I keep pushing forward until at 100% (this is not the wind).  At 4:07, I make the mistake of letting off the joysticks because I realize something odd is happening and the Spark is moving out of line-of-site despite my full intention of keeping it close.  That is when it shoots backward at 28+mph.  Then it was gone!!!
2017-12-19
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RepK
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OneMatt Posted at 2017-12-19 13:27
Definitly open a case, if nothing else a repair is usually cheaper than a new drone.

In the future, DO NOT ignore those high wind warnings! They are letting you know that the drone is reaching its safe limit for being able to compensate and remain in control.

I understand.  Although it was doing fine and I really love this little thing because it really holds itself in the wind.  In my first test flights over the past week.  I have had it out in pretty good winds and I am so impressed with out well it does over my farm in the country.  Today I was at 160 which was well above any buildings.
2017-12-19
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RepK
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Bright Spark Posted at 2017-12-19 13:19
Well except in sport mode, top speed of around 20 mph can easily be dwarfed by wind speed, even though it might seem calm at ground level. You seem to holding your own at best with right input.

I believe on these "Active Track Flyways" (that I can tell)... the active track keeps trying even as it backs up.  I believe because I was tracking right... it was keeping the Spark from going straight backward.  If you notice it never loses GPS.  There is no reason, that I can see, this little guy should have been doing 28mph backwards (without me touching the controls).

It wasn't until I started searching "fly away" on the internet that I realized these were flying away during active tracks.

I am hoping they will replace.  I will not be doing Active Tracks at 160 feet anymore until DJI says they fix what many folks are experiencing on this forum.

Again, I can't state this enough... I love this product!!!
2017-12-19
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Wachtberger
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RepK Posted at 2017-12-19 15:19
I believe on these "Active Track Flyways" (that I can tell)... the active track keeps trying even as it backs up.  I believe because I was tracking right... it was keeping the Spark from going straight backward.  If you notice it never loses GPS.  There is no reason, that I can see, this little guy should have been doing 28mph backwards (without me touching the controls).

It wasn't until I started searching "fly away" on the internet that I realized these were flying away during active tracks.

If you upload your flightlog to phantomhelp as suggested earlier, some experienced users here might be able to provide some more explanations. But I fully agree with you, I absolutely love this "product" too :-)
2017-12-19
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Kloo Gee
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RepK Posted at 2017-12-19 15:14
I understand.  Although it was doing fine and I really love this little thing because it really holds itself in the wind.  In my first test flights over the past week.  I have had it out in pretty good winds and I am so impressed with out well it does over my farm in the country.  Today I was at 160 which was well above any buildings.

This is a very interesting case.  Would it be possible for you to upload your FlightRecords from your phone/tablet  like Wachtberger requested so that the group as a whole can try to learn more from your unfortunate experience?

To do so, go to the following URL, follow the directions, and then post the resulting URL here so that we can dive into them.

http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/

Thanks in advance!
2017-12-19
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RepK
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Kloo Gee Posted at 2017-12-19 15:26
This is a very interesting case.  Would it be possible for you to upload your FlightRecords from your phone/tablet  like Wachtberger requested so that the group as a whole can try to learn more from your unfortunate experience?

To do so, go to the following URL, follow the directions, and then post the resulting URL here so that we can dive into them.

First of all... thank you for all the youtube videos that you provide.  Before unboxing the Spark I watched a number of videos on Youtube (including yours).  They are very good.  Thanks for putting them up and helping us new folks.

I will look into uploading the log for this flight.  I figured the youtube video of the actual flight provided more information.  I will look at the directions you sent.
2017-12-19
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RepK
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Kloo Gee Posted at 2017-12-19 15:26
This is a very interesting case.  Would it be possible for you to upload your FlightRecords from your phone/tablet  like Wachtberger requested so that the group as a whole can try to learn more from your unfortunate experience?

To do so, go to the following URL, follow the directions, and then post the resulting URL here so that we can dive into them.

Concerning  Log... working on it.  I have an iPhone that I hate hooking up to iTunes (because I hate iTunes - I think it is a drag on computers CPU)... so I am working to get it from the "hidden" area that is it stored at on the phone.
2017-12-19
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RepKK
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Alright guys in the midst of being "blown away" that my Spark "flew away"... I got onto this forum and set up an account not realizing that I had set one up automatically when I registered my DJI GO 4 app.  So I will will be posting from here (RepKK) for the rest of this thread (put up by RepK) since it has my hours and other stuff from my actual account.  Sorry.  

But can I ask if it is possible to upload the log to this forum right from the DJI GO 4 app since they are linked?
2017-12-19
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Todd in Chicago
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RepK Posted at 2017-12-19 15:55
Concerning  Log... working on it.  I have an iPhone that I hate hooking up to iTunes (because I hate iTunes - I think it is a drag on computers CPU)... so I am working to get it from the "hidden" area that is it stored at on the phone.

I don't use iphone, but all you need to do is copy the flight record off the phone to your computer and then upload to the Phantom help site.  That is always the first thing this community will ask for to try to help folks.  Maybe with Apple you need iTunes to do that?  With Android you just plug it into your computer and copy the files.  Additionally, for folks who have a subscription to AirData, when you upload the flight log it will provide a wealth of info such as windspeed at your altitude, etc.

Sorry to hear about the problem.  :-(

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago
2017-12-19
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Gunship9
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Weather at that location for today was forecast to have winds of 15mph from the west south west with gusts to 26mph.  The Spark was reporting gusts to 28mph.  Not sure how strongly a spark will GPS hold in those winds.  Does it use full sport mode power?

Saturday was even windier while Sunday and Monday seemed calm.
2017-12-19
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RepKK
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I am not sure if I did this right... but here you go...

http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/N4IGKXQ2IFB6INAS4CZK/#
2017-12-19
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RepKK
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Gunship9 Posted at 2017-12-19 17:14
Weather at that location for today was forecast to have winds of 15mph from the west south west with gusts to 26mph.  The Spark was reporting gusts to 28mph.  Not sure how strongly a spark will GPS hold in those winds.  Does it use full sport mode power?

Saturday was even windier while Sunday and Monday seemed calm.

I am curious where you are seeing the Spark report wind of 28mph?  I am trying to find that kind of information and don't see that listed anywhere in the log or on the log screen.
2017-12-19
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RepKK
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Kloo Gee Posted at 2017-12-19 15:26
This is a very interesting case.  Would it be possible for you to upload your FlightRecords from your phone/tablet  like Wachtberger requested so that the group as a whole can try to learn more from your unfortunate experience?

To do so, go to the following URL, follow the directions, and then post the resulting URL here so that we can dive into them.

http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/N4IGKXQ2IFB6INAS4CZK/#
2017-12-19
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RepKK
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Gunship9 Posted at 2017-12-19 17:14
Weather at that location for today was forecast to have winds of 15mph from the west south west with gusts to 26mph.  The Spark was reporting gusts to 28mph.  Not sure how strongly a spark will GPS hold in those winds.  Does it use full sport mode power?

Saturday was even windier while Sunday and Monday seemed calm.

I believe the 28mph that you are seeing is the horizontal speed of the Spark (not the wind).  Again, maybe I am missing something but, that is not the speed of the wind.

Just like at 1:04 in the flight time I put the AC in sport mode and flew it close to 30mph to get it to the end of the building (then turned off Sport Mode as indicated at the top of the screen).

I could be wrong of course... but where are seeing the 28mph wind reported by the Spark?
2017-12-19
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LouisP
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RepKK Posted at 2017-12-19 17:47
I am curious where you are seeing the Spark report wind of 28mph?  I am trying to find that kind of information and don't see that listed anywhere in the log or on the log screen.

I don't know how to do it but others do.. you can calculate the wind by looking at the log files and comparing the drones speed to the pitch roll and yaw angles.  Weather sations in that area were reporting the wind direction as the same as that direction the drone flew away in but not strong gusts.  But, as others have said 15 or 20 mph wind on the ground could mean much stronger winds at 160 feet up.  Hopefuly someone who knows how to do those calculations will take a look at this log and see what the drone was fighting.
2017-12-19
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Gunship9
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LouisP Posted at 2017-12-19 18:08
I don't know how to do it but others do.. you can calculate the wind by looking at the log files and comparing the drones speed to the pitch roll and yaw angles.  Weather sations in that area were reporting the wind direction as the same as that direction the drone flew away in but not strong gusts.  But, as others have said 15 or 20 mph wind on the ground could mean much stronger winds at 160 feet up.  Hopefuly someone who knows how to do those calculations will take a look at this log and see what the drone was fighting.

Accuweather had it with 15mph winds and 26mph gusts.  I am sure the winds were interesting over that flat faced building positioned across the winds.  I figure the drone was tracking but losing to the winds over that building.  I don't think it tracks targets at a very high speed.  It would just fall further and further behind (fluid air it was flying in versus the target).  

Then its attempts at RTH when signal was lost would be at a low speed while fighting a fast wind.

You would need sport mode or to ground it where it was in that situation.  Maybe the Spark was just running from the avatar of a guy barrel racing
2017-12-19
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sparkguygc
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Curious to see how this thread pans out...
Makes me nervous using ActiveTrack...
Wonder why it would even fly away? If it lost the tracked object, doesn't it just stop and hover?
Still had GPS whole time so wasn't trying to return home? Even if Wind pushed it, it would still try and correct and come back? If wind is too great, then of course it wouldn't move... doesn't sound like wind was too great though...
WHERE WAS IT GOING!?!?!?! :-)
2017-12-19
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Gunship9
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sparkguygc Posted at 2017-12-19 19:42
Curious to see how this thread pans out...
Makes me nervous using ActiveTrack...
Wonder why it would even fly away? If it lost the tracked object, doesn't it just stop and hover?

It tracks very slowly when obstacle avoidance is on.  I think the winds were beating it but it was still tracking a nice image so no problem as far as it is concerned.  I have had it fall behind while tracking me, while I was riding at 10mph and less.

The pilot would have had to realize the target was fading too much and switch to sport mode.  Drop under the winds and punch it.

The 28mph speed it left the area is odd but it could have been the winds blowing very hard since gusts were expected to be up to 26mph (if he flew today).
2017-12-19
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Lyons90
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Looking at your logs, it appears the spark responded to rc inputs correctly.
A combination of the Spark being in ActiveTrack mode, and the wind looks to have pushed it away.

Your unit only registered gusts between 15 an 18mph, however, because of the inputs and sideways movement towards the end, it would not have been able to measure at that point.

Wind speed is reported from an application called Airdata, at least in my version of the log review.
2017-12-19
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Lyons90
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And my guess of where the drone landed, is into the side of this building and onto the first roof.

Capture.PNG
2017-12-19
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RepKK
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Lyons90 Posted at 2017-12-19 20:33
And my guess of where the drone landed, is into the side of this building and onto the first roof.

At noon I went out on that picnic area with the business on the 10th floor... I stood next to those two picnic tables on that deck with the staff.  It was nowhere to be seen.
And believe me... I had no intention to go anywhere near those building.  I was circling an historic building a block away.
2017-12-19
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RepKK
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Wachtberger Posted at 2017-12-19 12:42
First of all I am sorry for your loss, certainly a shock for you! You should definitely open a support case with DJI: https://www.dji.com/support
If you wish so, you may also upload your flightrecord here and share the link with us for analysis: http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
You'll find the flightrecord on your mobile device in the DJI subfolder called \flightrecords.



This is what I was tracking at 160ft.... I went around this clock tower once with absolutely no problem.  Staying hirer than any other buildings.   Again... no problem.  The second time around things seemed to go terribly wrong.  Everyone keeps mentioning the wind.  While I understand wind gust were forecasted.  They were not that bad during this time.

I have flown this on my 18 acre farm and I have yet to fly when it didn't give a warning about wind.   Anytime I go above 100ft the Spark gives me a warning about wind.  But it has never gone in reverse direction in warp speed without touching the joystick.
2017-12-19
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Bright Spark
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Well practice and evaluating the prevailing conditions is common to all flying.
If you put it in sport mode, and slowly yaw, because the Gimbal locks in fpv mode, YouCan see the angle at the horizon  the spark requires to counter the prevailing winds. Quite an instructive manouevre.
2017-12-19
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xfirf_
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I would also wait for the response of the support-team.

But the wind should never be underestimated, especially when the drones are up more then 20meters because there are less buildings, tree and other things that reduce the speed of the wind, especially gusts of wind. Spark is really light and so much more affected by this.
2017-12-19
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Gunship9
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Bright Spark Posted at 2017-12-19 22:12
Well practice and evaluating the prevailing conditions is common to all flying.
If you put it in sport mode, and slowly yaw, because the Gimbal locks in fpv mode, YouCan see the angle at the horizon  the spark requires to counter the prevailing winds. Quite an instructive manouevre.

I compare this thread to one of the latest Mavic forum threads where the wind took it while the owner pressed full forward.  Flight looks the similar to this thread's.  Looking at the included Mavic flight log video at 1:55, imagine what would have happened to the drone if the pilot quit pushing forward on the right stick?  The wind was actually moving the drone backwards while full forward was selected (normal mode).

He eventually switches to sport mode and comes home at full throttle but only has a 6mph ground speed.  How fast is a Mavic?  40mph with large props and a big battery?  

Thread: https://forum.dji.com/thread-124668-1-1.html
2017-12-19
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Bright Spark
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There's much more to it than that. Where an average say 10 mph wind is blowing, between any buildings it is compressed to much higher speeds.
Higher up with skyscrapers it could easily be 40 mph. Worse still, it will be going up to get over a building, and down the other side. Easily enough to slam real planes into the ground. Gliders ride the updraft on hills, but it is drummed into you that just behind the lift is a lethal downdraft.
All of t his is way beyond the spark's ability to manage. It can descend at a max of a few mph, so it is no surprise that full down still sees it climbing.
2017-12-19
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DJI Elektra
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RepKK Posted at 2017-12-19 13:34
I called support and they were very helpful.  I opened a case.  It was a little windy but not bac.  I was tracking the historic clock tower on the building.   I was up at 160ft feet so that I wouldn't be interferring with any buildings.  I was in line-of-site until it started trying to back away (again I didn't even realize I was pushing 100% forward (just instinct) and they when i let off - boom! it was gone!!

I synced my log with them and the gentleman has already sent me email with all my information on the case.

Hi, Rep. If you have any doubt with your case. Please inform us, I would help you look into it. Hope it can solve soon. Thanks for your patience.
2017-12-19
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Spenkelini
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Were the prop guards mounted on the Spark?
2017-12-20
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JJBspark
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Interesting flight record to analyze. What i do not understand is the Controller max right input for long period in active track mode.All input should be zero because its a automated flight, isn`t it ?
analysis.png
2017-12-20
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Paul Lee
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My theory having watched the video and looked at your log.... Although I am no expert on either it that it looks like none of the usual GPS, Compass or Yaw  problems were encountered, however it seemed to just Fly away when you were in the vicinity of the City Hall. Maybe it is just a coincidence or would a civic building like that have any type of geofencing/interfering signals.
2017-12-20
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Bright Spark
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Anyone know what is the height of city Hall?
That's where event occurs.
2017-12-20
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Wachtberger
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RepKK Posted at 2017-12-19 20:53
[view_image]

This is what I was tracking at 160ft.... I went around this clock tower once with absolutely no problem.  Staying hirer than any other buildings.   Again... no problem.  The second time around things seemed to go terribly wrong.  Everyone keeps mentioning the wind.  While I understand wind gust were forecasted.  They were not that bad during this time.

Wind dynamics between and above buildings (especially high buildings) are very different from wind in plain areas and are unpredictable. And one advice, the actrive track mode is made for following moving subjects/objects closer to the ground and not for fixed buildings. For this tower a circle or helix would have been suitable. But that has nothing to do with what has happened to your Spark I believe.
2017-12-20
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