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Crashed indoors, this is what I did wrong
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7666 46 2016-11-23
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Wind Junkie
Second Officer
Flight distance : 116165 ft
United States
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Hello everyone,
I've been intimidated of flying my Mavic indoors but after watching enough folks on YouTube fly it like a charm inside, I went ahead and gave it a go in my family room earlier tonight.

Preflight everything looked good, no warnings or prompts other than weak GPS signal hence atti mode. I launched to a hover at 4 feet, looked down at my phone screen, then looked up a moment later and saw the drone drifting slowly backwards toward a wall. I panicked and flicked the left stick up which ascended the Mavic another foot, but by the time I moved the right stick forward (in effort to steer the drone forward and away from the wall), the rear props struck the wall and ran the drone into a table. In checking the logs post-flight, I can confirm there was no joystick input other than what I did to ascend. No damage to the drone or gimbal took place thankfully, but the rear two props took some chips and scuffs (luckily the factory box comes with two spares, thank you DJI!)

I read in the user manual looking for information as to why this may have occured and believe I came to an accurate conclusion - the downward vision system was unable to fly the drone stable in place, causing the slow drift to occur. Page 25 clearly states, "Operate the aircraft with great caution in the following situations" ...read down the list... "Flying over extremely dark surfaces (lux < 10)." The only light in the room was a dim lamp 15 feet away. I actually downloaded a lux measurement tool to my iPhone and it didn't measure ANY lux over the surface where I launched and the drifting occurred.

In summary, if you are going to fly indoors, make sure there is very good light. Otherwise, be prepared to handle drifting. If I would have been more prepared, I could have been ready to steer the mavic as the drift was relatviely slow. I just wasn't prepared plain and simple. I got away with this bonehead move, but hope everyone can learn from my mistake.



2016-11-23
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mavicophile
lvl.1

United States
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I experienced this too.  Great tip.  Thanks for those spare blades.  
2016-11-23
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Mooney
lvl.4

United States
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Having surfaces with definitive markings help in low light.

I find when it's a solid color, like a tan floor it's ability to make a lock is diminished.  However checkered tile in my garage is very effective.
2016-11-23
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fans38737c2c
lvl.4
Flight distance : 2078563 ft
France
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Hi,

I got the same situation with an Inspire 1 into an indoor parking where the light was off after 30s, even with the emergency light the ground was not enough different to help the Inspire to know where he is and after a small drift i hit the wall...
My Inspire was recording :

Be careful indoor flight to check that ground is not too much regular and uniform if you want to avoid drift...
2016-11-23
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rick39
Second Officer
Flight distance : 38615 ft
United Kingdom
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What a refreshing post to admit your mistake and warn others to the dangers of flying indoors, and not blaming DJI !!
2016-11-24
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Wind Junkie
Second Officer
Flight distance : 116165 ft
United States
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fans38737c2c Posted at 2016-11-24 01:21
Hi,

I got the same situation with an Inspire 1 into an indoor parking where the light was off after ...

Thank you for posting! This proves that insufficient light will cause drifting due to the DVS being unable to properly identify the ground, precisely what happened to me. Thank again
2016-11-24
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yoengel
First Officer
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You should be able to check the vision sensors, did it warn you about the low light?
2016-11-24
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HellFire77
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yoengel Posted at 2016-11-25 14:00
You should be able to check the vision sensors, did it warn you about the low light?

Wow thanks for the post,

I had the same thing happen to me, everything was fine, so I took off only to have the Drone drift backwards and hit a chair but no damage thankfully. I thought it was because of the compass wasn't reading properly. However after what you said about the low light I know the light seemed ok to my eyes, but a camera often isn't as good as human eyes.
2016-11-24
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lignow
Second Officer
Canada
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Thanks for this
2016-11-25
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Draxel
lvl.2

Norway
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I know you already sort of explained this, but just so we have it in plain text:

When the Mavic does not have contact with GPS it will select between two different modes - ATTI and OPTI.
If the lighting around the Mavic is sufficient, it will enter OPTI mode which will make it use the downward-facing sensors to keep the aircraft stable.
If the lighting around the Mavic is NOT sufficient, it will enter ATTI mode which means the aircraft has no kind of positional hold in the horizontal plane - it only relies on the onboard gyroscope & barometer.

So just be very cautious when you see ATTI on the controller.  
2016-11-25
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Adanggas
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Canada
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Draxel Posted at 2016-11-26 01:46
I know you already sort of explained this, but just so we have it in plain text:

When the Mavic doe ...

I have to admit I did the very same thing the first night I got my mavic. By the time I had it all updated and setup it was dark out. I knew it was not a good idea but I wanted to see the thing hover. It went up and drifted left and I corrected right. And before is landed it skipped off the drywall right before landing. It landed softly just two props hit the wall. The paint and drywall cleaned off the props and there was no damage to them desides some light scratches. Do you guys think the props are ok? There's no cracks or anything like that. I learned my lesson though, no more indoor flights. Not I have to fill and touch up my walls....
2016-11-25
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Gray Volk
lvl.3
United States
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Rule number 1 in RC flying: NEVER take your eyes off the bird.

And the second, advise: get yourself a small drone and practice. Something like Eachine H8 will do, it's about $12 on banggod. The reason is you need to develop recovery reflexes. Usually in critical situations noobs don't think strait and just "do something", often wrong.
2016-11-25
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Omniblast
lvl.2
Flight distance : 29370 ft
United States
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This happened to me as well, it drifted backwards and into the wall. However after joystick calibration it started behaving more normally and stayed put after take off. I had multiple dark patterns at a hotel conference room when this happened. It was odd that after calibration there was no drift.
2016-12-13
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Bullseye
lvl.3
Flight distance : 154423 ft
United States
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Yep got me too.   Its raining here so I just had to fly indoors.   5 or 6 very short flights in a well lit kitchen, VPS worked great.  Tried in the dimly lit living room, drifted backwards into the wall.  DOH!
2016-12-13
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BuzzCut
Second Officer

United States
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Gray Volk Posted at 2016-11-25 12:52
Rule number 1 in RC flying: NEVER take your eyes off the bird.

And the second, advise: get yourself a small drone and practice. Something like Eachine H8 will do, it's about $12 on banggod. The reason is you need to develop recovery reflexes. Usually in critical situations noobs don't think strait and just "do something", often wrong.

This is the one area where my Parrot AR has probably helped me.

Indoors it hovers like a drunk butterfly.  You learn to watch it like a hawk and need to constantly correct it.  I guess I was getting a free training course the whole time.
2016-12-13
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QuanthonyTrang
First Officer
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You guys must all have the refresh care pack.
I would never fly a drone indoors unless it was a stadium or basketball court.
2016-12-13
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RichJ53
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Before you fly indoors...  you need to   practice... practice.... practice....   first.

DJI has made flying drones to easy and people forget or do not take the time to learn how to control the aircraft when GPS is not helping by holding it into position.

Rich
2016-12-13
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zach5150
lvl.3
Flight distance : 225148 ft
United States
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I need to let my wife read this thread so she know's I'm not the only bonehead. lol.

Thanks for posting this. I'm part of the club too. The good news is I've had several successful outdoor flights! lol

My aircraft and gimbal are OK. I think the battery is OK, but that's the one thing that I'm a little worried about. I wonder how likely it is the cells could get damaged in a low speed crash like that?
2016-12-13
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Maverikster
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Flight distance : 24672 ft
Netherlands
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Ha, had the same experience. I flew my cheap drone indoors many, many times, flying away happily from kitchen to living room to upstairs without issues. Hard to control, but learned that along the way.

Tried the same with the Mavic and it started drifting to the back right away. Dark floor, not enough light etc. Never again (snappy controls and mind of his own prevent easy recovery like with the cheap drone ...
2016-12-14
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MikeQView
Second Officer
United Kingdom
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Greatest respect to you for sharing !   there are many many crashes reported that were pilot error and we arent man enough to admit, this goes the magical one step further and actually spells out what went wrong,   thank you so much for posting !
2016-12-14
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fans3836f4a9
lvl.1

United States
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Same here, except my Mavic ended up damaging our shutters and it crashed to the floor and scratched our wood floors, wife went off on me, lol

I have flown it indoors indoors since then with good lighting and did not have an issue, regardless, I have purchased propeller guards as I will be flying indoor a lot. I do hope DJI adds a feature to turn off GPS indoors as I have had some issues with a GPS signal that comes in and out indoors

Getting ready for a trip to Africa on a medical mission so should be interesting. I live in the Washington DC area so not too many areas to fly legally
2017-1-20
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thehippoz
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Flight distance : 23 ft
United States
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QuanthonyTrang Posted at 2016-12-13 19:55
You guys must all have the refresh care pack.
I would never fly a drone indoors unless it was a stadium or basketball court.

No refresh. I've taken her full speed in the house before. She was full bank into the living room! Sunlight though windows is enough but at night you need a flashlight or two on the floor.

In atti, the thing noticed is it drifts backwards. If they allowed you to trim that, you could fly in atti mode without compensating so much. Indoors is great, even use the modes. Put a flashlight on the ground if it's too dark.

The only thing I find wrong with the mavic so far is on fast flights sideways, the horizon tilts a bit and compensation (c2 + exposure dial) doesn't work well while in poi or waypoint mission. But that's another topic.
2017-1-20
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BentonJoyce
Second Officer
Flight distance : 234318 ft
United States
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Also happened to me unfortunately had to send it in :/ been without my mavic for a week now...makes me sad
2017-1-20
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QuanthonyTrang
First Officer
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For future reference...
Before sending it in, try the ol' static balloon trick. Blow up balloon and rub it on your hair. Place balloon near camera and see if it moves the dust particle to the side of camera.
2017-2-2
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EMPIREURN
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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So... just to check - there's no way to guarantee safe indoor flying? I am reading that bright light is the only way (to keep the downward vision sensors locked in the same place and tracking movement)? Even if you have GPS so are in OPTI mode, the moment you go under r oof beam or something, you might lose it - and the Mavic switches to ATTI  - and starts drifting .... It drifts when hovering - does it drift when being actively flown (eg in Tripod mode)? Having had 2 drifts and wall crashes (thankfully just damaged rotors), I am wary of further trials!
2017-3-10
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Jdwyier
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United States
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EMPIREURN Posted at 2017-3-10 03:46
So... just to check - there's no way to guarantee safe indoor flying? I am reading that bright light is the only way (to keep the downward vision sensors locked in the same place and tracking movement)? Even if you have GPS so are in OPTI mode, the moment you go under r oof beam or something, you might lose it - and the Mavic switches to ATTI  - and starts drifting .... It drifts when hovering - does it drift when being actively flown (eg in Tripod mode)? Having had 2 drifts and wall crashes (thankfully just damaged rotors), I am wary of further trials!

Safe indoor flying is possible but ill advised and requires the pilot to be an actual pilot.

GPS, visioning system, barometer, IMU, and to a lesser degree compass, are the advanced systems that assist the pilot in keeping the drone stable and under control outside. When these systems are active all one has to do is let go of the sticks and the drone will stop whatever it was doing and hover in place.

Inside is a completely different enviroment. The IMU and Barometer are the only systems that will be largely unaffected indoors and neither will prevent drift or shifts in altitude.  Once the drone starts heading in a direction it will continue on that path until the motion is actively counter-acted by the pilot.

The modern drones are so good under most conditions that many users/owners are accustomed to just "Letting go" of the sticks when the unexpected happens. They are totally unprepared to actually have to fly the the drone to keep it under control. Tough to develop those skills with no manual ATTI switch... A weakness of the Mavic that DJI chose to go with, I suspect because they knew a lot of folks that would enjoy using a Mavic would just get into trouble in ATTI.

In other words: The pilot has to FLY the craft in ATTI mode and there is no get out of jail free card by letting go of the sticks.
2017-3-10
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M Stuart K
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Thanks for this; yet I have one step of confusion to add to this issue.  I was flying indoors once and the aircraft stated drifting forward and when I tried to move it backwards away from a table it would not respond to the stick commands.  I had obstacle avoidance turned off but of course it still alerted me of the closeness of the table.  IMO it would not respond to the stick command because of the obstacle even though avoidance was turned off-it kept drifting forward until the props made contact with the table, which thankfully deflected it backwards.  Could non activated obstacle avoidance cause a lag in stick inputs?
2017-3-10
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Eyesaround
lvl.2
Flight distance : 271010 ft
United States
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I am seeing that many crashes and drifts are caused by pilots assuming that mavic is omnipotent. As any piece of technology has its limitations and is very important to read the manual!
2017-3-10
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fansdb6ff1f7
Second Officer
Flight distance : 1998786 ft
United Kingdom
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M Stuart K Posted at 2017-3-10 06:25
Thanks for this; yet I have one step of confusion to add to this issue.  I was flying indoors once and the aircraft stated drifting forward and when I tried to move it backwards away from a table it would not respond to the stick commands.  I had obstacle avoidance turned off but of course it still alerted me of the closeness of the table.  IMO it would not respond to the stick command because of the obstacle even though avoidance was turned off-it kept drifting forward until the props made contact with the table, which thankfully deflected it backwards.  Could non activated obstacle avoidance cause a lag in stick inputs?

I've experienced precisely the same thing. I used to fly RC helis and fixed wings so I'm familiar with stick control only. When mine started to drift it would not respond to any inputs. Fortunately I managed to get it down before it hit a wall. Now I'm very wary of indoor flight. Particularly in clients' properties.  
2017-3-12
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Rusty Iron
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Australia
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Exact same thing here. Thought I had done evrything right, double checked. My carpet is a very dark grey. Instead of drifitng away from me, however it drifted right into my leg. See my avatar...
2017-3-13
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SirTimid
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It seems many of us have this experience. Luckily I only have damaged my props as most of you. This shows how durable the Mavic is. As I'm flying quite a lot indoors I have bought the prop gards. To day I flew around to test it out how it behaves in different lightning. I flew from a room that had daylight into a room only lit up by one lamp as soon as I entered the room the Mavic emediately drifted back to the lighted room. I had to force the Mavic to continue into the room. After doing so it had a hard time to stabilise in the room laterally and vertically. Thanks for the propgards there was no damage to it.
2017-4-4
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DJI-Ken
DJI team
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SirTimid Posted at 2017-4-4 05:39
It seems many of us have this experience. Luckily I only have damaged my props as most of you. This shows how durable the Mavic is. As I'm flying quite a lot indoors I have bought the prop gards. To day I flew around to test it out how it behaves in different lightning. I flew from a room that had daylight into a room only lit up by one lamp as soon as I entered the room the Mavic emediately drifted back to the lighted room. I had to force the Mavic to continue into the room. After doing so it had a hard time to stabilise in the room laterally and vertically. Thanks for the propgards there was no damage to it.

For anyone that's new to flying drones, I would never suggest flying indoors until you are a 100% proficient pilot.
A new flyer really should only be flying outdoors in a wide open space until they are totally confident with their flying skills.
Thanks to the OP who started this thread admitting pilot error and quoting part of the manual.The manual really needs to be read cover to cover and fully understanding it, especially the aircraft limitations.
2017-4-4
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djiuser_nDBCG9G
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Philippines
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Hi thanks on this! Just happened to me twice just an hour ago.

I thought there's something wrong with our drone (DJI Phantom 4 Advanced) when I flew since it moves sideways even if I'm already pressing down in the stick. Luckily only the profeller was damage which can be replaced and few scratches on the stand of the drone.

It's weird though as I did calibrated both drone and remote control before flying it and it behaves like this. After the incident, we tested flying it again on an open space and it moves flawlessly even though it's dark. Good thing I read this as the reason why it happened to us because a week before I tried flying in the same area but it's afternoon that time and it didn't behave like this one before. Wew. Charged to experience.
2017-9-25
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lannes
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If your flying indoors always use prop guards, they allow you to bounce off walls and maybe save the AC
2017-9-25
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sparky1981
lvl.2
Flight distance : 22927 ft
Netherlands
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That is a really good tip.
I experienced the same thing with my pre owned drone.
The first 30 seconds it works perfectly but after that it drifted and crashed. No damage luckily.
Indeed it was dark so Will try it again outside with better light
2017-10-23
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DJI Thor
Administrator
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sparky1981 Posted at 2017-10-23 13:08
That is a really good tip.
I experienced the same thing with my pre owned drone.
The first 30 seconds it works perfectly but after that it drifted and crashed. No damage luckily.

It's good that the drone didn't get damaged from the crash. Please check if the drone performs well now. And we recommend flying the drone in an open wide place.
2017-10-24
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M.C. Pilot
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Flying a MP indoors is like trying driving with blinders on  - impossible.  
2017-10-24
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sparky1981
lvl.2
Flight distance : 22927 ft
Netherlands
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I tried it outdoors today
It works great now!

I love it
2017-10-24
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ro_flyer
Captain
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Brazil
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Mooney Posted at 2016-11-23 22:10
Having surfaces with definitive markings help in low light.

I find when it's a solid color, like a tan floor it's ability to make a lock is diminished.  However checkered tile in my garage is very effective.

That's why in DJI events inside their flight test cages the floor is full of markings...
2017-10-24
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Tyredecals.com
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ro_flyer Posted at 2017-10-24 15:51
That's why in DJI events inside their flight test cages the floor is full of markings...

Bike lights on rear legs. Best for indoor flights. It helps with the VPS esp in low light conditions.
2017-10-24
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