Dear community any insight with this following issue would be greatly appreciated. I had an issue where upon landing the DJI Spark drone it had said “compass error” and the aircraft took off horizontally and went missing. Here is the narrative of what happened.
On November 23, 2019 I flew my DJI Spark drone over a construction site near a residential neighborhood a few towns from where I live in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. It was a normal flight and I brought it back close to the original landing point just in time for when it reached 20% battery. I initiated the return to home sequence (like I usually do to get the aircraft in the general landing area before I take over and land manually to avoid obstacles like telephone wires and tree branches). The altitude was around 170 feet and as it began to ascend it said “weak GPS signal” followed by the messages:
• Compass error exit P-GPS mode
• Abnormal compass function or GPS signal detected. Aircraft switched to ATTI mode
It then took off horizontally away from the launch site, towards the next street over. I went running after it through a parking lot that cut through the block, but lost visual on it because of the trees. I then received the following prompts:
• Weak GPS signal. Positional accuracy may be compromised. Please fly with caution
• Compass error exit P-GPS mode
• IMU heading error. Please restart the aircraft.
The battery then said it was critically low and said only had enough power to return to home. I saw an image of a house near where I launched from but the video feed was laggy so I wasn’t sure if it was a live image or a previous image.
Due to the image, I ran back to the original street I launched from thinking it was landing there, but I still had no visual and the aircraft said it disconnected at 17 feet altitude. It has been missing ever since. I have looked for it for the last two days but have not found it. I can’t comprehend what would have went wrong or where exactly it could have ended up. I rang doorbells and checked property owners’ back yards but found nothing. There are some large evergreen shrubs, about 10 feet high by about 8 feet wide, that I can barely see inside because of the density of the branches.
Aside from the mechanical error that was out of my control, one of the other things that are confusing me is that while the aircraft stated that it hovered at around 2.5 feet from the launch point, it never recorded its veering off course that sent me running to the next block over (this is most likely because the GPS malfunctioned). Even the horizontal speed spiked for a few seconds all the way up to 17 mph yet there was no movement tracked in the flight record. It would seem that the aircraft couldn’t determine where it was so it just stated that it was 2.5 feet from the launch point because that was the last known point before it malfunctioned.
And the final observation is that while I shot a handful of videos of the flight none of them ended up getting saved in my video album. The photos only have thumbnails that when you click on them it prompts you to download the photos from the drone. What gets me the most is that I basically got nothing in return from this flight, which ended up in the loss of the drone.