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Mavic Pro fly away
638 25 1-31 20:13
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SgtDannySgt
Second Officer
Flight distance : 283904 ft
Costa Rica
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Hello everyone

It is a sad day for me as  my drone flew away today in Costa Rica. It is lost in the jungle near  the Poas volcanoe. I believe there was a hardware malfunction. Long  story short, I could not bring the UAV back either in RTH mode or manual  mode. In fact the aircraft actually flew away from me without any  controls from my controller to eventually run out of battery and  disappear forever.

These are the steps I took:

I  initiated a support ticket with DJI. They replied within a few hours  and I have completed the requisite information, so now I am waiting for  their investigation.

I have uploaded the flight data to my AirData and it can be found here: https://app.airdata.com/share/pwnrqM.
I hope I shared it correctly for your input. As you can read, the following error is in the log: [url=]Not Enough Force/ESC Error (repeated 50 times).[/url]

It  certainly appears as a hardware malfunction and since my bird is still  under warranty, am hopeful that DJI will replace it. If not, then my  career as a drone pilot just came to an end. Totally bummed out...

Danny
1-31 20:13
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Woe
Captain
Flight distance : 3555682 ft
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United States
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Sorry to read this. Hope every thing works out
1-31 20:21
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Keule
Captain
Flight distance : 3332904 ft
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Germany
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Danny, can you enable 'Download original (loc)' in your sharing settings?
1-31 20:34
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 1716440 ft
Netherlands
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Ouch.
That is sad to hear.
Keep us posted!
2-1 00:19
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 1716440 ft
Netherlands
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PS, is there any way we can look at the log ourself (not the shared version)?
I can't find a 'download' button there.
2-1 00:22
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Harbourside
Captain
Flight distance : 6467 ft
United Kingdom
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Respect for posting the flight logs.
My interpretation is that the Mavic was blown away with the wind.
You had a high wind warning and told to land ASAP at 50 seconds into the flight.
The data shows the Mavic moving away from you in the direction of the wind with no stick inputs, meaning that it could not hold GPS position and was being blown away.  
What you should have done was to reduce altitude, switch to Sport mode and fly back as soon as you got the wind warning, but from the data it looks like you increased altitude and let it be blown away without any attempt to control it.
RTH would not work as the wind speed was higher than the RTH speed, which is why it shows it still flying backwards when engaged.
The ESC error and high battery temp show how hard it was working to try and maintain position.
Its always worth starting a case with DJI, but I would not be too hopeful, but at least they should offer you a discount on a new Mavic.
Good luck...
2-1 00:29
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jacksonnai
Captain
Malaysia
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Sorry to read that mate
2-1 02:52
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Bekaru MP UAV
Captain
Flight distance : 14348235 ft
South Africa
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Hi danny - sorry to hear about your loss,Looks like a fly away to me - i'd be happy to be wrong but it does look like a newbee user got caught in the wrong flight modes in too strong wind environment.
2-1 03:31
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M2Wair
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Flight distance : 1132149 ft
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Ireland
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Very sad to read, high wind took your bird and I hope you do get back into the air with a new drone asap.

Download UAV forecast, helps massively to establish wind strength and if it's good to fly. Good luck fella.
2-1 03:46
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SgtDannySgt
Second Officer
Flight distance : 283904 ft
Costa Rica
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Thanks mates for your input. I went through some of my other flight logs and have flown here in Costa Rica in stronger wind conditions and was always able to return safely. Being in the Central Valley, wind is a day to day event and if I was to refrain from flying due to the winds, I would never fly.

I do use UAV forecast, and the app showed that although the winds were high (as usual) that they weren't as bad as normal, hence the decision I made to fly.

Being an adult, I can certainly man up and acknowledge if it was my error indeed and accept the consequences. I also checked my logs to see if I had that ESC error in other flights and I don't.

I will now wait for DJI's reply but will not hold my breath. I do have the Care warranty but don't think it covers fly aways?? Although it covers pilot error??

I am here for another 2 1/2 months so will have time to make a decision if I will purchase another drone. At this point, I am still bummed out and find it difficult to justify the expense.... but that Mavic 2 sure is appealing. If I do decide to purchase another drone, am certain I will be totally gun shy using it in any wind conditions. Cheers mates.

Danny
2-1 05:44
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eYeSkYeYe
Captain

Croatia
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People are usually not aware winds are getting stronger with the altitude... so light air or gentle breeze is probably fine.
Anything above that, and I would check wind strength with specialized tools on my cell phone. There is plenty of them.
2-1 06:20
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DJI Stephen
Super Moderator

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Hello and good day Danny. I am sorry to know what happened to your DJI Mavic Pro. Please keep us posted on the said situation for us to help you further. Thank you for understanding and for your support.
2-1 09:49
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SgtDannySgt
Second Officer
Flight distance : 283904 ft
Costa Rica
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DJI Stephen Posted at 2-1 09:49
Hello and good day Danny. I am sorry to know what happened to your DJI Mavic Pro. Please keep us posted on the said situation for us to help you further. Thank you for understanding and for your support.

Hello DJI Stephen

Thanks for your message. I have been reviewing the flight log and there is alot I could have done better.

1. When I got the warning about the wind, i should have brought it in immediately but I stopped going forward as I wanted to take a quick video of the Valley, which was breathtaking. (I was able to get that video from the cache!) Instead what I did is I began video taping and did not pay attention to the controller which was showing that the drone was running away from me. In my defense, I did fly in worst wind conditions here in Costa Rica and was able to land the aircraft safely. In checking the other logs, those days of high winds, the winds weren't in a head wind configuration though like yesterday.

2. When I realized that the drone was flying away, all I focused on was bringing it back home. Seeing the battery power dwindle rapidly didn't help and fell into a tunnel vision. I should have lowered the altitude and switched to sports mode as suggested in this thread, but again, being in my tunnel vision...

3. One more thing I could have tried was to attempt to bring the aircraft back in angles instead of head on. So by pointing let's say 30 degrees to the right bring it in, then move it back 30 degrees passed the track to the left etc... I may have been able to bring it in. Am sure others would have other solutions and am always open to comments.

Lessons learned:

A. Check the !@#$%^& wind conditions immediately prior to the flight, not a couple hours before.
B. Since emergencies like this do not happen often.. actually for me it was the first time... IF I decide to purchase another drone, I will make some quick and short checklists on different scenarios, have them plasticized and kept in my flight kit for easy access and reference. These checklists would definitely get me out of my tunnel vision.

An expensive lesson learned!!

Danny
2-1 16:59
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M2Wair
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Flight distance : 1132149 ft
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Ireland
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Danny, trust me we all make mistakes. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get another drone.
2-1 17:17
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Boffin
First Officer
Australia
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Hi Danny, sorry to hear about your unfortunate loss.

Unfortunately 'tacking into the wind' only works for a yacht when the sail needs some wind. If you fly at 45° to the wind your forward speed towards home is reduced to 0.7 of  what is possible and the longer flight path depletes your battery even more due to the increased distance your Mavic has to travel.

'3. One more thing I could have tried was to attempt to bring the aircraft back in angles instead of head on. So by pointing let's say 30 degrees to the right bring it in, then move it back 30 degrees passed the track to the left etc... I may have been able to bring it in. Am sure others would have other solutions and am always open to comments.

The best way to fly home is the shortest path, directly into the wind, put it in Sport mode and fly as low as safely possible to avoid the high wind at altitude. An app such as UAV Forecast UAV Forecast is useful to check the wind speed at altitude. It's not perfect but it's better than nothing
2-1 19:09
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HedgeTrimmer
Captain
United States
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Boffin Posted at 2-1 19:09
Hi Danny, sorry to hear about your unfortunate loss.

Unfortunately 'tacking into the wind' only works for a yacht when the sail needs some wind. If you fly at 45° to the wind your forward speed towards home is reduced to 0.7 of  what is possible and the longer flight path depletes your battery even more due to the increased distance your Mavic has to travel.

Another thought...

On way back, if drone's battery pack is getting low enough drone may not make it - Watch for a landing area that is easy to recognize from ground.  Better to do a controlled landing, than drone doing an emergency low-power landing attempt in stream, tree, cliff, briar patch, etc.
2-1 20:11
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HedgeTrimmer
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United States
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SgtDannySgt Posted at 2-1 16:59
Hello DJI Stephen

Thanks for your message. I have been reviewing the flight log and there is alot I could have done better.

A. Check the !@#$%^& wind conditions immediately prior to the flight, not a couple hours before.

A+1.  You can check wind conditions right before takeoff and wind can still change to @#$%^&.
A+2.  @#$%^& wind conditions can change during flight.  From slightest breeze to gusting wind.
A+3.  Wind conditions at flying altitude, are rarely same as on ground.
A+4.  Wind conditions will vary with Flight path.  From take off in bare spot of forest, to open field, to draw through canyon, to sides and top of hill.

Be prepared to give up flying for day.  (There is always pizza & beer.)
Plan alternate flight path, one that has you flying with wind on return flight.  
Be ready to abort flight and return ASAP.  (There is always beer & pizza.)
Plan alternating landing spot(s).  

2-1 20:29
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DarthSLR
Captain
Flight distance : 689288 ft
United States
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Danny, sorry for your loss! And very much thankful for sharing your story. Thanks to you, I now have an Airdata (free) account and logged my flights into it. Really interesting to see the logs... Good luck, hope you get the next UAV soon!
2-1 23:01
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SgtDannySgt
Second Officer
Flight distance : 283904 ft
Costa Rica
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Thanks for the input mates. An alt landing site is a great idea. I assume my controller is useless now?

I did get the go-ahead from my Boss (lol) to get another drone when we return to Canada. It gives me time to give it some thought. Cheers

Danny
2-2 05:00
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maddox
Captain
Malaysia
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Sorry to read that buddy
2-2 07:22
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ghostrdr
First Officer
Flight distance : 1272723 ft
United States
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I've had that panicked feeling in the pit of my stomach before.  Best wishes!
2-2 07:29
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DJI Stephen
Super Moderator

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SgtDannySgt Posted at 2-1 16:59
Hello DJI Stephen

Thanks for your message. I have been reviewing the flight log and there is alot I could have done better.

Hello and good day Danny. Thank you for sharing this additional information and your experience as well. This will help a lot of our members to be able to prepare for there future flights. Thank you.
2-2 07:31
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Harbourside
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Flight distance : 6467 ft
United Kingdom
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SgtDannySgt Posted at 2-2 05:00
Thanks for the input mates. An alt landing site is a great idea. I assume my controller is useless now?

I did get the go-ahead from my Boss (lol) to get another drone when we return to Canada. It gives me time to give it some thought. Cheers

You should be able to buy just the Mavic from DJI, the link is for the UK store as that's where I am, but your countries store should have the same offer.
aircraft only
2-2 08:38
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SgtDannySgt
Second Officer
Flight distance : 283904 ft
Costa Rica
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These are the videos and photos I was getting when the fly away occurred. Beautiful scenery but not worth my drone. Cheers everyone.



Danny
2-2 11:17
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SgtDannySgt
Second Officer
Flight distance : 283904 ft
Costa Rica
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Hello everyone, as of right now I haven't received a final report from DJI. Still waiting. Cheers everyone

Danny
2-9 09:10
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SgtDannySgt
Second Officer
Flight distance : 283904 ft
Costa Rica
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I received this morning the result of the investigation and it is as suspected, the cause was the high winds. Live and learn as they say. Cheers everyone.

Danny
3-8 06:42
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