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Bird on the wing or ghost in the machine?
467 15 2019-1-6
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Skeeter Honey
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United States
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I had a harrowing flight today.  I gently flew across the road my house is on and over some houses to a large farm field on the other side.  Upon my return I got a single strong interference warning and the Mavic Air began to behave erratically.  Since I was afraid of signal loss and it was not responding to my controls, I hit RTH.  Soon after it commenced, it behaved abnormally again before returning to its takeoff point.

The movement could be a glitch, but it also looks as though it was a bird attack.  Earlier in the video you can see lots of birds below, but none ever appear close at the level of the MA.  Also, the behavior began immediately after getting the interference warning and the log even recorded this at the same time.
Upon its return there was absolutely no evidence of any bird.  Props like new, body clean, not a scratch.  I have never crashed or hit anything with it after about 40 miles of flight.

Here's the log:
https://app.airdata.com/flight/4 ... ca6a3aa51f5/SENSORS

It could have been a wifi bubble, as there were houses between me and the drone, but this behavior seems odd for that.

So is this a glitch or an avian interloper trying to harsh my buzz?



Trouble begins at 3:55 and is over by 4:50


2019-1-6
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HH1
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Was that RTH that landed your craft?  Smooth - if it was.  I have to agree with you on the bird-strike, because, just after the hit, you can see little bits of what looks like feathers clinging to the camera.  Hope you and the neighbors you flew over are friendly
2019-1-6
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Skeeter Honey
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HH1 Posted at 1-6 18:45
Was that RTH that landed your craft?  Smooth - if it was.  I have to agree with you on the bird-strike, because, just after the hit, you can see little bits of what looks like feathers clinging to the camera.  Hope you and the neighbors you flew over are friendly

Yes, it was RTH that landed.  I've been very impressed with the precision of precision takeoff.

I initiated RTH because I was afraid of losing signal.  It is my assumption (which I'd like to have confirmed) that once it's initiated it doesn't really matter if you lose signal.  It just seems safer in a moment of trouble.

At what time do you see the feather?  I've been looking for visual evidence and I'm not seeing it.
2019-1-6
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HH1
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Skeeter Honey Posted at 1-6 18:51
Yes, it was RTH that landed.  I've been very impressed with the precision of precision takeoff.

I initiated RTH because I was afraid of losing signal.  It is my assumption (which I'd like to have confirmed) that once it's initiated it doesn't really matter if you lose signal.  It just seems safer in a moment of trouble.

I think it is when you make the left turn over the house and head back, between there and just before you get to the trees going back.  Look in lower left corner small fluffy grayish white thing and one near the middle of the lens, and another a bit up and to the right of that.  Hope that helps.
2019-1-6
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Skeeter Honey
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HH1 Posted at 1-6 19:14
I think it is when you make the left turn over the house and head back, between there and just before you get to the trees going back.  Look in lower left corner small fluffy grayish white thing and one near the middle of the lens, and another a bit up and to the right of that.  Hope that helps.

That's sunglare.
2019-1-6
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HereForTheBeer
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dont think that was a bird strike for 2 main reasons..

1. no broken props, feathers on the drone, or visual indications of such... when it landed..

2. amount of time and lack of angular deflection..

3. bonus reason.... i have seen my mavic pro i used to own do this a few times... to me it appears as if some of the onboard computers may have initiated a mini reboot.... as it does a little wiggle as if the motors being checked, camera resets on live view is more scarely looking looks like about to free fall, and while doing this the aircraft is drifting as if the positioning lock system is still booting, around but controlable.. then it comes back and seems like normal..  takes about 10-15 seconds looks about same as your mavic air.

only issue i have with my mavic air maybe similar to this...drifting.  my mavic air will suddenly drop positioning (still shows position mode/ GPS mode on the app) no failures or alerts pop up either, but my aircraft will just wander around several feet in the sky or above the ground..  i admit dont look same as your's but it could be similar issue.    it will suddenly stops itself either if bit of wind it detects it wakes up whatever line of code locks it in place same thing if its using VPS hovering a few feet above the ground..  like positioning system gone to sleep and cant be bothered.  not every time i fly it does this and fairly inconsistent like no pattern to it,  but when it does it its weird. the drifting is like same sorta drifting happens when flying at night..but mine is during broad daylight no errors.
2019-1-6
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Skeeter Honey
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HereForTheBeer Posted at 1-6 20:28
dont think that was a bird strike for 2 main reasons..

1. no broken props, feathers on the drone, or visual indications of such... when it landed..

Well...  Urgh.

That's my gut too.  I had good IMU, good compass, great signal, no water, virtually no wind...and this happened.  

Is this common?  it's extremely disconcerting.  Did you send DJI your flight logs when it happened?  I think you're right.  The slight bump in minor signal error seems to have occurred just as trouble began.  Since there was absolutely no indication of any kinetic interference when it came home, I'm inclined to think the onboard computer spazed out for a minute.

2019-1-6
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HereForTheBeer
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Skeeter Honey Posted at 1-6 20:39
Well...  Urgh.

That's my gut too.  I had good IMU, good compass, great signal, no water, virtually no wind...and this happened.  

no i dont really trust DJi to help me out beyond replacements, they seem clueless about so many things.  i do what you are doing and ask the community if its beyond my understanding.

my suggest, try refreshing your firmware either with dji assistant on your PC with usb cable plugged into ur drone and it turned on click on Mavic air bubble pops up and on firmware tab click .500 and click refresh.. or using the DJi go app on your phone with it connected like normal..  tape dji go logo to pull back into drone selection and hold 3 bars in upper right corner for 5 or so seconds then u should get firmware option overlay, click refresh for .500

the mavic air  .500 update is pretty bad update, compass errors, yaw drift, my VPS/positioning system is screwy im sure someone else has a screwy positioning system too, general signal issues, no Signal RTH inconsistency issues (mine stimes half fails just sits mid air for longest time facing my direction not moving..like wtf) and now it appears maybe also a spazzy control system issue.
2019-1-6
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Montfrooij
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Might be a bird indeed.
2019-1-6
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HH1
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Hey, could be anything, however - at 4:40 you can see a little thing on the left third of the frame, about two  thirds of the way down, and it looks TO ME, that it is fluttering a little.  Yes, I am wearing my glasses
2019-1-9
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HereForTheBeer
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HH1 Posted at 1-9 16:20
Hey, could be anything, however - at 4:40 you can see a little thing on the left third of the frame, about two  thirds of the way down, and it looks TO ME, that it is fluttering a little.  Yes, I am wearing my glasses

lot of sun flare which can easily look like something else sometimes..  hard to tell or even see much with that much flare.. could be but i think if a bird hit the drone it would been much harder on the mavic air, not a little crabbing like shimmy..  a mavic 2 pro mavic pro, phantom..sure a small bird may only shimmy it.. the mavic air is so little and it has a 90 degree tilt limit before the motors shut off, if a bird slammed into it i expect alot more then some shimmying..
2019-1-9
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HH1
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That's why traffic policemen have such a tough time, the witnesses give THEIR impression  But, know what you meen about a "little shimmy," if it were more than just that nudge, with what we have to go on it would have to be a bird, perhaps a giant Bumble-Bee  Truly sorry couldn't come up with a better description.
2019-1-9
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Skeeter Honey
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HereForTheBeer Posted at 1-9 16:25
lot of sun flare which can easily look like something else sometimes..  hard to tell or even see much with that much flare.. could be but i think if a bird hit the drone it would been much harder on the mavic air, not a little crabbing like shimmy..  a mavic 2 pro mavic pro, phantom..sure a small bird may only shimmy it.. the mavic air is so little and it has a 90 degree tilt limit before the motors shut off, if a bird slammed into it i expect alot more then some shimmying..

Indeed.

Also, given the low profile of the MA and the props forming a slicing shield of sorts on top, I don't really see a bird being able to hit it without throwing some evidence of such into frame on the camera.

I reported this to DJI and I got the usual calibrate, firmware, etc. (which I expected), followed by a"if this doesn't work then send it in."

Well...ok.  But do they review then share the results of their flight log analysis or should I just expect to send in my (probably) completely unscathed, babied, and new drone in for a refurb?
2019-1-10
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Skeeter Honey
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One more thing--I've made 7-9 flights since then, all completely uneventful (in a good way).  So if this is a ghost in the machine the likelihood is that it's software/firmware and it doesn't matter which serial number I'm flying since it'll be susceptible to the same.

Not to mention I'd prefer not to have to register a drone with the FAA every time the firmware burps.
2019-1-10
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HereForTheBeer
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Skeeter Honey Posted at 1-10 17:14
One more thing--I've made 7-9 flights since then, all completely uneventful (in a good way).  So if this is a ghost in the machine the likelihood is that it's software/firmware and it doesn't matter which serial number I'm flying since it'll be susceptible to the same.

Not to mention I'd prefer not to have to register a drone with the FAA every time the firmware burps.
You can try the old trick of refreshing the firmware a few times in a row just to update any modules maybe improperly updated before or just didn’t update right.  

You can do that in app.  Connect drone as if about to fly, in camera view tap DJI logo in top corner to get drone selection screen then 3 bars at the top right corner press and hold that button for 5 seconds and should get Firmware utility to pop up then you can refresh it will redowoad the firmware from DJI and refresh it on the drone and controller.  So your device will need a connection, you can do this on WiFi inside the house..
2019-1-10
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Skeeter Honey
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HereForTheBeer Posted at 1-10 20:24
You can try the old trick of refreshing the firmware a few times in a row just to update any modules maybe improperly updated before or just didn’t update right.  

You can do that in app.  Connect drone as if about to fly, in camera view tap DJI logo in top corner to get drone selection screen then 3 bars at the top right corner press and hold that button for 5 seconds and should get Firmware utility to pop up then you can refresh it will redowoad the firmware from DJI and refresh it on the drone and controller.  So your device will need a connection, you can do this on WiFi inside the house..

I'm doing that this weekend.  We'll see.  Hopefully the weather permits an FCF.
2019-1-11
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