Phantom flies onto White House lawn

January 27, 2015 13:24 | By | Add a Comment

A quadcopter enthusiast apparently lost control over his DJI Phantom, which proceeded to fly over to the white house and crashed onto the lawn, where it was found and recovered by Secret Service agents.

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Folks, there’s two lessons here:

1) Flying any RC craft, regardless of whether you do it for recreation or not, within D.C. is illegal. There’s a 10nm FRZ (Flight Restricted Zone) which prohibits, among other things: balloon operation, model rocketry, model aircraft operations, UAS, test flights, private aircraft operating from a ship or private/corporate yacht, etc.

2) If you own a Phantom or Phantom 2, and you haven’t replaced the compass mounting on your landing struts yet, you risk your quadcopter flying away uncontrollably. This means your quadcopter may start flying into a random direction once you enable position hold or return home modes, with it not obeying any no-fly-zones programmed into the firmware. It will also not obey any user-defined geofencing or range limits.

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If your screws or the metal mounting mechanism is magnetizable, you run the risk of compass decalibration, even during flight. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of damaging other people’s property or lives.

In all the Phantoms we examined, the screws were magnetizable and the reason why compass calibration was lost. We recommend you replace them with non-magnetizable screws, for example, brass screws as used by Horizon on their 350QX.

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