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Mavic 3 Pro dropped from the sky after 211 flights, 59.8 hours fl...
1829 31 2-24 20:14
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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How long should I expect a drone to fly before it will have a mechanical failure or need other repairs?
I bought my Mavic 3 Pro about 6 months ago and thought it would last for a year or two but a few days ago it fell out of a clear blue sky on top of a snowy mountain. This was my second flight for the day with a fully charged battery. The drone was in cruise control about 100 feet off of the ground.  After 3 minutes I noticed it was descending slowly as it flew. I pressed on the left controller to raise the altitude and got no responce. The control signal was near full white bars.  No orange bars.  12 seconds later the screen went blank with no warning.  I disengaged the cruise control while still trying to gain altitude. I expected to get a RTH message but still nothing. After 10 minutes of waiting it appeared the drone was not coming back. I rebooted the RC Pro controller hoping to reconnect but nothing.  I walked up a nearby hill (slowly, I was wearing snowshoes) but was unable to reconnect. This drone has never had a crash, never had a hard landing, never been dropped. When not in use I store it in a hard crushproof camera equipment case with the storage cover on the drone. The times in the past when it went out of range RTH has always worked like a charm.  Usually if I lose the connection I can regain it by simply flying higher but this time it didn't work.

The location where it was lost is near the top of a mountain at about 8000 feet. This was the sixth time I had flown there this year. The area is open with few trees and no obstacles. There isn't even any cell phone reception there. I had to snowshoe about 1/2 mile to get there. So far this winter they have had 287 inches of snow up there.  The last signal from the drone was across 1/2 mile of deep snow from my launch position so a overland hike at the time it was lost was out of the question. I had given up and was heading out when a snowmobiler came by, the first and only one I would see for the day. He offered to give me a ride to the last known location of the drone. After arriving there I found that the drone had gone down on a steep hillside covered with pine trees(Find My Drone). I snowshoed towards the drones location but wasn't able to get closer than about 200 feet from it. The snow was deep powder and even with the snowshoes I was sinking almost up to my knees on the steep hillside. I appears it had fallen down almost directly from the last known connection location.  I was able to reconnect to the drone but the screen was dark (black?) and there was a message saying the drone could not take off because it was sitting at too steep of a angle. After falling down in the snow multiple times I decided it was a little dangerous and backtracked out the way I had come in. The snowmobile came back a half hour later and took me back to the starting location. I have DJI Care Refresh so it wasn't a total loss but it still costs quite a bit for a replacement. I really don't want to have to get a replacement every six months if this is all the longer the drone is going to last.

I ran the flight log file through Flight Reader and it shows the drone altitude was varying oddly just before it went down.

The paved road up on the mountain opens around the first of July so I plan to do a field trip to recover the drone at that time.

So the same question: How long should I expect a drone to fly before it will have a mechanical failure or need other repairs?

Total flight details for my (lost) drone:

211 flights
59.8 hours
1062 km (660 miles)




2-24 20:14
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Labroides
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How long should I expect a drone to fly before it will have a mechanical failure or need other repairs?
It could/should last several years and fly thousands of kilometres.
How long you get to fly incident-free  can vary with your flying technique and luck.

I bought my Mavic 3 Pro about 6 months ago and thought it would last for a year or two but a few days ago it fell out of a clear blue sky on top of a snowy mountain.

Without seeing the data, no-one will be able to make any meaningful comment on your incident.
But if you can post your flight data, it might help reveal the cause of your incident.
2-24 20:58
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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https://drive.google.com/file/d/ ... Pt8Qq-5XqLTekV/view
zip file with flight log & other info
2-24 21:29
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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https://drive.google.com/file/d/ ... Pt8Qq-5XqLTekV/view
2-24 21:33
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DJI Gamora
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Hello, there. We are sorry to read about the incident. Please rest assured that as long as the unit is within the service guarantee period, data analysis can be provided to determine the cause of the incident and possible warranty coverage based on your flight records. If the aircraft is lost, you may file a flyaway report via this link. Kindly know that your case will be handled accordingly. Thank you for your cooperation.
2-24 22:09
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JJB*
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Hi,

Your google drive is locked for others.

As you could reconnect, no power faillure in flight, so most likely lost height for some reason.Black screen after reconnect, complete black screen or just the camera image black?

cheers
JJB

2-25 00:37
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Sean-bumble-bee
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb Posted at 2-24 21:33
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EtDwuhteN9WcW0bpkmPt8Qq-5XqLTekV/view

The log pages require a sign in ...... or they do on this tablet.
2-25 03:30
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DAFlys
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I had over 5000km on a Mini 3 pro when the front legs started to get a little loose,  DJI wouldn't fix that under warranty but charged me so little I couldn't have bought the parts,    the replacement is at 4600km and going strong.  
2-25 06:05
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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DAFlys Posted at 2-25 06:05
I had over 5000km on a Mini 3 pro when the front legs started to get a little loose,  DJI wouldn't fix that under warranty but charged me so little I couldn't have bought the parts,    the replacement is at 4600km and going strong.

Thanks for the info.
2-25 06:37
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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DJI Gamora Posted at 2-24 22:09
Hello, there. We are sorry to read about the incident. Please rest assured that as long as the unit is within the service guarantee period, data analysis can be provided to determine the cause of the incident and possible warranty coverage based on your flight records. If the aircraft is lost, you may file a flyaway report via this link. Kindly know that your case will be handled accordingly. Thank you for your cooperation.

I've already filed a report and have a case number if you would like to look into it for me.
2-25 06:39
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DAFlys
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You're very welcome.
2-25 06:40
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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JJB* Posted at 2-25 00:37
Hi,

Your google drive is locked for others.

I'm new to this. I think the google drive is unlocked now if you want to test it for me. The screen was dark like the camera was broken or it was face down in the snow. I didn't spend much time looking at it because I was hanging on a tree with one hand to keep from sliding downhill in the snow.
2-25 06:44
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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Dirty Bird Posted at 2-25 05:59
Interesting.  As you were able to reconnect the drone still had power.  You said you only saw a black screen.  Was the telemetry visible or was it totally black?  The former could mean the camera was damaged/detached in the fall, or it is deep in the snow with the camera facing down.  The latter would indicate a more serious failure.  I will be interested in seeing the log reviews from this flight.  Glad you have Care Refresh!  Hope you can recover the drone at some point.

The screen was dark like the camera was broken or it was face down in the snow. I didn't spend much time looking at it because I was hanging on a tree with one hand to keep from sliding downhill in the snow.
2-25 06:46
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 2-25 03:30
The log pages require a sign in ...... or they do on this tablet.

I think the google drive is unlocked now if you want to look at the files.
2-25 06:49
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JJB*
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Hi,

Had a look at your flightlog.

Indeed an uncontrollled down....look at the data in the chart.
Baro height line in red = uncontrolled down
Vertical speed indicates positive climb, no that`s why no up movement, as it thinks it is climbing.
Looks like your drone had a serious internal errror!

Google map chart ,  looks mayby at the end there was no direct line of sight to your drone.
Draw straight line start to high peak...does it reach your drone at 125 meter baro height ?

cheers
JJB    [ Charts by FRAP ; the 'best' software for data and visual flightlog analysis (www.jjbfrap.eu) ]
Analysis1.png
Analysis4.png
2-25 07:05
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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JJB* Posted at 2-25 07:05
Hi,

Had a look at your flightlog.

Thank you. Thank you. I thought that at the end the drone was dropping below line of sight. I was a little anxious when it wouldn't respond to the controls. I've had the drone drop below a hill a few times in the past and RTH has always helped me out but this time no luck.  When I made the report to DJI they did not mention anything about my warranty nor did they comment on the flightlog file I sent to them. All they did was give me the bill for a replacement drone. Do you think this info would make any difference to them?  
2-25 08:16
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Chicago SkyCam
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb Posted at 2-25 08:16
Thank you. Thank you. I thought that at the end the drone was dropping below line of sight. I was a little anxious when it wouldn't respond to the controls. I've had the drone drop below a hill a few times in the past and RTH has always helped me out but this time no luck.  When I made the report to DJI they did not mention anything about my warranty nor did they comment on the flightlog file I sent to them. All they did was give me the bill for a replacement drone. Do you think this info would make any difference to them?

You can always keep trying, it can't hurt.  I take it you did not have DJI Care.
2-25 08:48
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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Chicago SkyCam Posted at 2-25 08:48
You can always keep trying, it can't hurt.  I take it you did not have DJI Care.

I do have DJI Care and they said they would replace the drone for a small fee.  The small fee for the Mavic 3 Pro is $739.
2-25 10:46
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JJB*
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb Posted at 2-25 08:16
Thank you. Thank you. I thought that at the end the drone was dropping below line of sight. I was a little anxious when it wouldn't respond to the controls. I've had the drone drop below a hill a few times in the past and RTH has always helped me out but this time no luck.  When I made the report to DJI they did not mention anything about my warranty nor did they comment on the flightlog file I sent to them. All they did was give me the bill for a replacement drone. Do you think this info would make any difference to them?

Hi,

I think yes, RC up stick + vertical speed up and height descending is not normal.
So if the drone is still in warranty i would give them this info.

cheers
JJB
2-25 11:22
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TonyPHX
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A brilliant example of where the log file does indeed show an actual failure of equipment!  Love it!
2-25 15:20
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Labroides
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb Posted at 2-25 08:16
Thank you. Thank you. I thought that at the end the drone was dropping below line of sight. I was a little anxious when it wouldn't respond to the controls. I've had the drone drop below a hill a few times in the past and RTH has always helped me out but this time no luck.  When I made the report to DJI they did not mention anything about my warranty nor did they comment on the flightlog file I sent to them. All they did was give me the bill for a replacement drone. Do you think this info would make any difference to them?

You were in cruise control the whole time from 1:47.6.
That explains why the drone didn't respond to your rudder inputs

I haven't used that feature to know the details of how it works, but you have to wonder if you had cancelled cruise control, if the drone would have responded to your throttle inputs too?
2-25 16:02
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb
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Labroides Posted at 2-25 16:02
You were in cruise control the whole time from 1:47.6.
That explains why the drone didn't respond to your rudder inputs

You can use rudder inputs while the Mavic 3 Pro is in cruise control. I often set the speed at about 12 mph and fly all around the landscape without having to worry about the controlling the speed. It makes it real easy to do smooth video. You then only have to concentrate on direction and altitude.  I don't know for sure about other models.
2-25 18:34
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Labroides
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb Posted at 2-25 18:34
You can use rudder inputs while the Mavic 3 Pro is in cruise control. I often set the speed at about 12 mph and fly all around the landscape without having to worry about the controlling the speed. It makes it real easy to do smooth video. You then only have to concentrate on direction and altitude.  I don't know for sure about other models.

You were working the rudder from 2:20.5 to 2:30.0 and again from 3:06.4 till 3:10.6.
It made no difference to the drone's heading and it kept flying in the same direction, because cruise control was doing the flying.
You were concerned that your drone wasn't responding to your control inputs, but never cancelled crusie control to take over.
It's not clear what caused the descent to start but you let cruise control continue to fly the drone and did nothing at all to stop it.

I disengaged the cruise control while still trying to gain altitude.
If you did, it wasn't until the last second of the recorded flight data before signal was lost.
You made no joystick inputs after the last second of data.
Any control inputs after that couldn't have reached the drone.

2-25 19:14
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Mobilehomer
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Labroides Posted at 2-25 19:14
You were working the rudder from 2:20.5 to 2:30.0.
It made no difference to the drone's heading and it kept flying in the same direction, because cruise control was doing the flying.
You were concerned that your drone wasn't responding to your control inputs, but never cancelled crusie control to take over.

From personal experience, Cruise Control does NOT prevent heading or altitude changes. I do it often. My first thought was prop icing, given the altitude and conditions mentioned in the OP.
2-25 19:32
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Labroides
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Mobilehomer Posted at 2-25 19:32
From personal experience, Cruise Control does NOT prevent heading or altitude changes. I do it often. My first thought was prop icing, given the altitude and conditions mentioned in the OP.

Cruise control + prop icing would fit the data perfectly.
It looks like operator error caused the loss of the drone.
2-25 20:06
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GRH
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Mobilehomer Posted at 2-25 19:32
From personal experience, Cruise Control does NOT prevent heading or altitude changes. I do it often. My first thought was prop icing, given the altitude and conditions mentioned in the OP.

Thanks for your comment. I did have prop icing once on a previous trip to the same location but it was foggy that day and the temperatures were in the teens. It is pretty surprising to have a drone return with ice on the props. Before this accident happened I had just completed 30 min. of video and there was no ice on the props at that time. The temperature was near 30 degrees, sunny with no fog and I was even using the controller without even any gloves. At the beginning of the flight log file the drone is stationary above me for about 11/2 minutes.  This is because I had to stop and remove one of my jackets because I was getting warm.
2-25 20:18
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Labroides
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GRH Posted at 2-25 20:18
Thanks for your comment. I did have prop icing once on a previous trip to the same location but it was foggy that day and the temperatures were in the teens. It is pretty surprising to have a drone return with ice on the props. Before this accident happened I had just completed 30 min. of video and there was no ice on the props at that time. The temperature was near 30 degrees, sunny with no fog and I was even using the controller without even any gloves. At the beginning of the flight log file the drone is stationary above me for about 11/2 minutes.  This is because I had to stop and remove one of my jackets because I was getting warm.

Prop icing would explain an uncontrolled descent.
To explain it any other way would be difficult.
2-25 20:31
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Labroides Posted at 2-25 16:02
You were in cruise control the whole time from 1:47.6.
That explains why the drone didn't respond to your rudder inputs

Hi,
Not sure about MAVIC 3, but on a MINI4pro and AIR3 you can use the sticks in CC and drone will follow stick commands.
With sticks in new position and update via C1 new setting is saved.

Sometime you need to counter input to overrule settings, flying with speed fixed and slow left yaw fixed, to stop the left turn you need to input right yaw to stop yawing left. This can be tricky as with yaw right to stabilize heading straight and press C1....yaw right is in the CC memory...

Only way to stop CC completely is all sticks neutral and press C1.

cheers
JJB
2-26 01:26
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JJB*
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GRH Posted at 2-25 20:18
Thanks for your comment. I did have prop icing once on a previous trip to the same location but it was foggy that day and the temperatures were in the teens. It is pretty surprising to have a drone return with ice on the props. Before this accident happened I had just completed 30 min. of video and there was no ice on the props at that time. The temperature was near 30 degrees, sunny with no fog and I was even using the controller without even any gloves. At the beginning of the flight log file the drone is stationary above me for about 11/2 minutes.  This is because I had to stop and remove one of my jackets because I was getting warm.

HI,

Prop icing does not make the vertical speed in the log goes wrong.

With enough prop icing drone will descend, vertical speed and baro height shows both descending, motors revving up to try to keep height, amps goes high, voltage drops.

In your log only voltages recorded, end of  flight during uncontrolled descend all the 4 cell values show higher values.


cheers
JJB

2-26 01:30
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GRH
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New Information: I found a cached video copy of the last minutes of the doomed flight buried in a folder on my RC Pro controller.  This is what I saw on the controller screen before the drone disappeared.





2-26 15:39
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djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb Posted at 2-25 06:39
I've already filed a report and have a case number if you would like to look into it for me.

Hi, djiuser_SUWivj6eInbb. The case update will be sent via email but if you haven't received any update yet, I'll be happy to check it for you. You may send it to me via PM.
2-28 07:23
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LucasYL
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GRH Posted at 2-26 15:39
New Information: I found a cached video copy of the last minutes of the doomed flight buried in a folder on my RC Pro controller.  This is what I saw on the controller screen before the drone disappeared.

That looks like Tahoe area.
3-11 08:48
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