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Phantom 3 caught in the wind. Assumed Crash landing.
1093 17 2017-3-28
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robbo5899
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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First time post, wish it didnt have to be on this topic. Last night I was out flying my Phantom 3 trying to capture the sunset when the wind began to suddenly pick up. It got really windy, really fast and the drone couldn't fight against the wind to get back to where I was flying from, either manually or when the RTH feature automatically kicked in. It was shortsighted to take off with such a low battery but I don't think more battery would have helped fight the wind and get the drone home safe.

Unfortunately the drone then lost conneciton to the controller and dissapeaerd, I'm not sure if it would have landed itself or continued to attempt to fight the wind until it died and then crash landed. After a search in the dark last night and another search of the closeby region today I'm still droneless. I have seen people on here before offer some solid advice and reccommend regions to search. Its now predicted that after a few days sun the rain has to begin again tonight and I'd like to exhaust all options on where the drone could possibly be.

If any of you have any advice on where the drone could be or what it would have done given the low batter situaution I'd be forever in your debt.

I'll attach the litchi and dji logs below.

Thank you!

http://app.airdata.com/main?share=dQeFgl

http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/TNR3QGZPOZKTP6JGAV87/
2017-3-28
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Irate Retro
Second Officer
United States
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Sorry about your loss.  I know it doesn't help now, but since you did ask what could have been done:

When you realized the wind was stronger than the speed your drone was willing to fly, you should have switched it to ATTI mode and flown it home.  ATTI allows it to fly faster (tilt more).  Pressing RTH in this situation would have just made things worse for you.

Or as a last resort you could have just grounded the thing where it was, at least it would have been in a known position.
2017-3-28
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Irate Retro
Second Officer
United States
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Edit:  Sorry, I should have looked at your log before posting, not after.  I see you did use ATTI.  But that was your best chance right there.  
2017-3-28
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KM5RG-Robert
Captain
Flight distance : 2075213 ft
United States
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I have not reviewed the logs but sometimes a lower altitude can help with the wind, but yeah, could have landed in a clear area and then gone to pick it up.
I was flying in 20 mph Sunday with no real issues, it did cause some drifting and you could see the AC getting buffeted. Wonder how high your winds got?

Edited to add:  That's one of the biggest problems I see with the standard, short range. When there is a problem like yours, the last thing you need is to lose control so quickly.
2017-3-28
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Knobbynomates
First Officer
Flight distance : 14813 ft
United Kingdom
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KM5RG-Robert Posted at 2017-3-28 08:59
I have not reviewed the logs but sometimes a lower altitude can help with the wind, but yeah, could have landed in a clear area and then gone to pick it up.
I was flying in 20 mph Sunday with no real issues, it did cause some drifting and you could see the AC getting buffeted. Wonder how high your winds got?

Looking at the log I would head northwest (the way the wind was blowing) towards ASDA
2017-3-28
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robbo5899
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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Yeah landing would have probably been a much better option, at the time I wasn't 100% on what the ground was like below the drone, I know now it would have ruined the 4 props but the area is surrounded by water so landing without knowing could have got me into a rather wet situation. I guess atleast I would know where it was soaked.
2017-3-28
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blackcrusader
First Officer
Flight distance : 689774 ft
Taiwan
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Your last contact battery had 15%.  It probably hit 10% pretty quickly and auto landed.  Perhaps in that large field heading towards the first trees on the opposite side of the field.
IRFAN FILE.jpg
2017-3-28
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blackcrusader
First Officer
Flight distance : 689774 ft
Taiwan
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Hopefully it made it past that expressway / A9 motorway and landed in that field. When battery hits 10% it auto lands no matter what.

IRFAN FILE.jpg
2017-3-28
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robbo5899
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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Yeah fairly certain it made it past the main road, we drove round there pretty quick to try and regain a connection and although no connection there was no white plastic over the road either. Also no sight of the drone in the trees either side so confident that it made it past there. Will head back out tonight and look further west.
2017-3-28
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G_Sig
Captain
Flight distance : 5975574 ft
Iceland
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robbo5899 Posted at 2017-3-28 09:56
Yeah fairly certain it made it past the main road, we drove round there pretty quick to try and regain a connection and although no connection there was no white plastic over the road either. Also no sight of the drone in the trees either side so confident that it made it past there. Will head back out tonight and look further west.

It was drifting almost 3 m each second and lost 1% of battery per 10 seconds.
Have you looked near this point, in the wood.
log1.jpg
2017-3-28
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Mark The Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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I would follow the path it was taking and go looking in that general direction.  That must have been one hell of a wind - blowing you at almost 30 mph in the wrong direction during RTH.  A second drone for searching is real handy in these situations.  So is a tracking device.  Good luck.
2017-3-28
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WilliamM
First Officer
Flight distance : 904364 ft
United States
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Side issue, why did you take off with only 43% battery? It is ALWAYS advised to take off with a fully charged battery, with the only exception being you started full and landed very briefly, did a power cycle for some reason and took right off again. Starting with a cold battery at 43% is not a good thing.
2017-3-28
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WilliamM
First Officer
Flight distance : 904364 ft
United States
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When the RTH came on I'm guessing it was because of the fact you where at 18% battery at that time?  If true, you would have been a bit better to have canceled the RTH and kept fighting it back manually, as RTH is only at 2/3 power. Unless you were helping it out by pushing the right stick full forward during the RTH. And after looking at the Healthy Drones site data, I see you have the upgraded account with wind speed displayed. It says the winds were between 27 and 30 mph. While this is higher then we want to be flying in, you still should had made it back. Unless there were much higher winds that where not recorded.
2017-3-28
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Mark The Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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WilliamM Posted at 2017-3-28 11:19
Side issue, why did you take off with only 43% battery? It is ALWAYS advised to take off with a fully charged battery, with the only exception being you started full and landed very briefly, did a power cycle for some reason and took right off again. Stating with a cold battery at 43% is not a good thing.

Oh my, I missed that.  That's often a fatal error.  It's possible the AC dropped like a stone due to voltage sag which would explain why the log ended so abruptly.
2017-3-28
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blackcrusader
First Officer
Flight distance : 689774 ft
Taiwan
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Mark The Droner Posted at 2017-3-28 11:59
Oh my, I missed that.  That's often a fatal error.  It's possible the AC dropped like a stone due to voltage sag which would explain why the log ended so abruptly.

Well we should not assume he has already flown on the same battery just before this flight perhaps?
2017-3-28
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Labroides
Captain
Flight distance : 9991457 ft
Australia
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"It was shortsighted to take off with such a low battery but I don't think more battery would have helped fight the wind and get the drone home safe"

It's not just shortsighted, it's a proven way to come home drone-less.

Looking at your flight data, what's obvious is your lack of situational awareness.
You were flying in atti mode and going all over the place.
Look around the point where you gave up on atti mode around 5:02.
For a while before this the Phantom was making headway against the wind and getting closer to home.
If you had just flown it straight towards home, it could have made it.
It's chances would probably have been even better at a lower altitude with less wind to deal with.

2017-3-28
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DJI-Jamie
DJI team
Flight distance : 112405 ft
United States
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I'm sorry for your loss. Just to clarify, did the Go app give you any sort of error message prior to disconnecting from the aircraft? Did it say it was out of range or did it just abruptly lose connection without notice? That may tell you whether or not it cut out due to a voltage drop as previously mentioned in post #14. Did you notice and change in wind direction that could throw off where to expect the drone to land?

In the future, you may want to look into a GPS tracker so that it would be easier to locate an aircraft when the worse case happens like this. As previously mentioned, flying at lower altitudes or landing the aircraft immediately would be appropriate responses in situations like this. Best of luck to you in finding it.
2017-3-28
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robbo5899
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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DJI-Jamie Posted at 2017-3-28 21:05
I'm sorry for your loss. Just to clarify, did the Go app give you any sort of error message prior to disconnecting from the aircraft? Did it say it was out of range or did it just abruptly lose connection without notice? That may tell you whether or not it cut out due to a voltage drop as previously mentioned in post #14. Did you notice and change in wind direction that could throw off where to expect the drone to land?

In the future, you may want to look into a GPS tracker so that it would be easier to locate an aircraft when the worse case happens like this. As previously mentioned, flying at lower altitudes or landing the aircraft immediately would be appropriate responses in situations like this. Best of luck to you in finding it.

I didn't see any other error than the standard lost connection warning which I've seen many times before as you fly out of range before RTH kicks in and you reconnect. Only difference this time was that I never got the chance to reconnect.

I never noticed any change in wind direction, everything I had in my head is very similar to what litchi suggests on their wind tab.

As for the GPS tracker, I never even knew the existed in a size suitable for a drone until after I lost it. I will most definitely be investing in something similar should I find or replace the drone.
2017-3-29
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