Thought I’d describe my crash for the good of the community.
I’ve had this AC since 2015 and logged over a thousand miles with it. I’ve had one catastrophic crash where the AC lost a prop and dropped from 400 feet. I attribute it to not checking the tightness of the props before flight. Lesson learned.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a hard crash - about two and a half years.
Started out with air temp 30 F heading NNW 330 with a tail wind of about 10 mph at 400’. I’m not afraid of flying with a tailwind as I’ve done it 100 times. Fly out high, fly back low.
Pretty sure a prop developed a crack because the AC began to shake more than it should about 90 secs into the flight. It was smooth at first and then suddenly began shaking. If you have ever had a P2V, you know what I mean as the gimbal is pretty weak. You can see any kind of unusual vibrations, such as coming straight down in the VRS cone or flying through unusually violent wind gusts. I considered turning around but didn’t. I thought maybe it was just gusty winds but at the same time knew it wasn’t really that windy. Then after less than a minute it suddenly turned sideways and showed me a perfect 90 degree horizon and I lost signal. The FPV image on my app was frozen at 90 degrees.
Trackimo wasn’t much help finding it as the last fix was almost a half mile back and it wouldn’t update for me. But luckily the last location was very accurate from the DJI telemetry and I had google maps on the app. So I knew exactly where it dropped. It was easy to add a little bit for forward motion and the tail wind. So I drove off into the farmland. I had to take some back farm roads which I wasn’t happy about, but it was too deep into the farm area to park on a county road and walk through the snow which is still on the ground from the storm nine days ago. I found it. It was pretty much exactly where I thought it would be. Ground is frozen as we haven’t been above freezing in three days. It was on the edge of a tree line so it might have hit a branch on the way down. Not sure.
Turned out, trackimo had turned itself off on impact. I believe the trackimo hit the ground first. It was still mounted on the leg and it was twisted all around facing the other way, so I think it absorbed a lot of the impact and the impact shut if off. Marvelous. That’s just what you need for a drone tracker - have it shut off after a crash. But still - Trackimo boots up and still seems to work.
All four props were on the AC but two of them were broken. Legs weren’t broken or even cracked. Neither were the AC wings or anything else on the shell. I don’t even see any scrapes. Seems impossible. Camera came off of course. Modded FPV antennas and cables didn’t fare well.
But gimbal arms aren’t broken either. Not sure if camera survived but it seems to boot up ok.
Bottom line is there isn’t really a lot of obvious brutal damage. I need to check it further. AC didn’t boot up correctly but it did power up. There’s a receiver plug hanging out of the clam shell with the cable being pinched. Obviously the clam shell opened and closed very quickly and very violently upon impact and yet somehow doesn’t show damage. Got some video but only 2 and a half mins, didn’t get to the part where it fell. I think the file fixed itself but I lost the last min or so which is typical after a crash.
I’m going to blame this crash on the aftermarket props which I had previously held in high regard. Those are the master airscrew props. I think they are a little bit more stiff than stock which I think contributed to the crack and break. I think the cold weather, 30 F, caused one of the props to crack and then break. There was no sign of a problem until after I was well into the flight. I haven’t had any crashes or hard landings with these props, so I can only suspect the MA props cracked and broke due to the cold. I’m going to do a freezer test in a day or two and compare MA and stock.
The AC landed at a tree line between two farm fields. I was hoping I could get in and out undetected but the farmer saw me and drove out in his huge tractor out when he saw my vehicle on his farm road even though I stayed back in the woods. He said “Are you the one that flies overhead every other day?” I hung my head and said, yessir. Told me I should have asked him first and that it’s private property. By that time I was holding the drone in my hands and I had apologized and then he said “sorry about your property”, something like that. He didn’t seem too angry. Could have been worse.
Battery has a crack in it but otherwise seems okay. I found it about 20 feet from the drone. It starts up fine still. I will try to fix the crack. It’s a really good v2 battery. Most P2 owners don’t even know these exist.
I’m 100% sure this AC is fixable, although I admit there aren’t many original parts left. Centerboard, one motor/ESC assy, gps module, and top gimbal bracket. And a few cables. That’s all that’s left of the original before this crash. But this AC will fly again.
In summary: IMO, be wary of Master Airscrew props in the cold.