My sad Fly-Away P3...I need help

Hi guys…

Well, after months of reading other people’s stories of how their DJI just flew away never to be seen again, and me saying to myself, “Pshhhh…that won’t happen to me!”… Ummm…well…< insert laughter here > … Add me to the list of those w/ that sad story. I wont bore u w/ another story & just get to it:

I called DJI & since I bought my PS3 16 months ago, they basically told me, “Too bad…So sad…We won’t even bother to analyze your logs”!

So now I’m trying to analyze my own logs and have no idea what I’m looking at. Here’s the log:

I’ve been scouring the area where the log ends, but I’m wondering if that’s not actually where it may have actually ended up. As I understand it, the end of the log data just tells me when data stopped transmitting to the RC, so I’m guessing it’s totally possible the drone just kept going on its trajectory to wherever-West Virginia until the battery died and then landed? If that’s the case, I need to do some serious calculations about where it may have ended up!

Anyway…I would appreciate any assistance! Feel free to point and laugh too! I prob deserve it!

Ah well…whatta ya gonna do???

Thanks guys!

AJ in Fredericksburg, VA

The first part of your statement is true. The second is not. Once you lose complete signal, both uplink and downlink, if you had your settings correct, the aircraft will initiate RTH within 2 seconds. I suspect in this case that you only lost downlink. Which means that the aircraft would still be under your control. At 1300 ft in distance you should have had visual on the aircraft, although granted your altitude was way too high, but yet you should have had at least partial visual on the aircraft. As long as you did not touch the RC controls after loosing video and data stream, the aircraft would have hovered at that point until you gave it input. Again, this is all speculation, but if you gave no input, the aircraft would have sat there and hovered until the battery was at the RTH level, then begin it’s track back home. All of that being said, I suspect that you may find the aircraft nearby your home point, assuming of coarse that RTH initiated. It would continue that path until the battery was low enough to force land. Although you had 87% battery and that should have been more than enough for a return from 1300 ft in distance. I will mention the compass error at the start of the flight, because that is almost always a bad omen to start with. If you have any more details to add, that may be a good point of reference. There is not much more in the data to help you. It will be all guessing.

U are absolutely right about the compass error. I should have landed right then, but it seemed to fix itself and I thought it had been corrected, so I continued. Since I took off from the sidewalk in front of my house, I also assumed that was the reason for the compass error & that once I got up a little bit in height, the interference would b gone.

There really isn’t much else to say about the flight. As u can tell, it wasn’t a very long flight at all. Once I got up a few hundred feet, I did head out away from where I was cuz I wanted to get closer to something further down the street. As it went forward, I did get connection lost alerts a couple times. I honestly cant remember what my stick response was. I think at one point, this was when it was still close, the RTH alert initiated after one of the RC lost alerts, but the RC re-connected immediately, so I think I cancelled the RTH. Then I resumed the forward motion w/ a solid RC connection, and again a connection lost, then re-connect, then lost…and that’s all she wrote. By this time, it was definitely traveling at a too fast speed of 18mph so I let go of the sticks in an attempt to just “press pause” on the flight, but I think at that point the connection was gone once again…I couldn’t really see or hear the drone a couple seconds later & so I just waited in front of my house & crossed my fingers that it would be back in a couple mins.

When it was clear it wasnt coming back, I took off on foot to canvass the neighborhood, but by then it was too dark to see anything. The next day it was a total downpour, but I trudged through the wooded area where the last log point was & couldn’t find anything. My next thought was to do a recon mission w/ my Mavic Air, but the rain that day never stopped, and then the wind was howling yesterday, so I never got out to search by air until today. I thought it might be easier to locate in a bunch of trees from above than it was while trying to look up through the trees, but it was just as hard to see anything.

There’s one part of the map surrounding the wooded area I have yet to survey, but only because it’s at the end of a dirt road w/ only a couple houses and, w/out trying to sound too insensitive, I don’t think the folks who live down that street are the type that welcome any strangers on their property. They’re also the type that would likely be only too happy to shoot a drone down if they thought it was in any way infringing on their privacy, if ya get my drift.

Which could also be my next guess on what may have happened to it. If someone has already found it, what’s the likelihood they’ll try to hunt down the owner? I did have my FAA REG # labeled on the inside, and I ‘think’ it also had my phone or e-mail, but possibly only just the FAA #. I guess I dont know how easy it would be for someone to find an owner using that FAA number alone. But they could just as easily get another RC & keep the drone for themselves, I’m guessing, so I don’t have high hopes for its return. Thankful I have my Air, but it was nice having the P3 too!

Thanks for the feedback, Fly_Dawg!

As it went forward, I did get connection lost alerts a couple times.

The above does not show up in the data

the RTH alert initiated after one of the RC lost alerts, but the RC re-connected immediately, so I think I cancelled the RTH.

Nor does this above

There is only one connection( Downlink ) lost incident and only for 1 second near the end of the flight.

From all indications, this was ( Other than the initial compass error) a completely normal flight.
It is impossible to discern, if you lost “uplink” as well from this data.
Assuming you had uplink, as mentioned before, the aircraft would have hovered awaiting your input.
I realize that post incident, you can not recall every moment. However, the data and parts of your descriptions of events do not match. @msinger What do you think?

Admittedly, I’m very distracted lately. I’ll spare u my therapy session, and just confirm that, yes, some of what I remember may not be 100% accurate. These are my learning lessons. :slight_smile:

The Phantom was flying high enough and had plenty of battery power to safely make it back to the home point. Since that didn’t happen, it likely either landed near the last known location or dropped like a rock from the sky. The only thing that is unclear is whether or not @AJinTheMix continued to fly after the downlink dropped and how long he continued to fly. That would of course mean the Phantom could have been piloted elsewhere.

I think the best bet would be to start looking at 38.22809479, -77.46808781. Since there were a lot of trees in the area, it’s possible the Phantom got stuck in a tree on the way down.

The FAA will not share the registration information for the purposes of locating a lost drone.

Here’s a question I have thought of, although I can probably assume the answer since DJI does not seem to be customer focused once they have your money…

But if someone had found it and decided to keep it, would they not have to register it with DJI and log in? In doing so, I would think it would be a simple thing for DJI to flag the serial number as a lost drone or something to that effect. If they do have a way to do that already, then I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I’m not familiar with such a thing.

A drone can only be registered once. Since you already registered it, the finder could fly it without logging into DJI GO. If they decided to log into DJI GO, then DJI would certainly be able to tell a new DJI account is now flying that drone.

Yep! They won’t help you with that though.