Tag: Flyaway

Phantom flies onto White House lawn

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.

B8TLor_IIAAVehG

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.

DJIPH03-2

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.

Read more and comment

DJI Inspire 1 user claims bug in auto-takeoff function crashed his copter

DJI Inspire 1 user claims bug in auto-takeoff function crashed his copter

January 15, 2015 12:33 | By | Add a Comment

There’s a lot of hate in the youtube comments to this video. “Learn to fly” is probably one of the nicer ones. But comments aside, Mark Taylor had a bad day recently when he let his Inspire 1 take off in auto-takeoff mode.

According to him, no pilot input was given, the compass was calibrated and the issue was even observed before: His Inspire 1 just kept drifting off at auto takeoff.

While lots of youtube commenters are quick to blame Mark, we are not so sure. After all, DJI is still selling the Phantom 1 and 2 with a compass sensor mounted with magnetizable screws, which we found to be the root cause for most flyaway issues.

DJIPH03-2

We discovered that simply removing the metal case completely and using double sided tape to stick the magnetometer PCB to the landing gear made position hold much more precise and completely eliminated the need to recalibrate the compass after this has been done once. A miscalibrated compass can cause a flyaway if you switch your Phantom into position hold or return home mode. To this date DJI has neither acknowledged this simple design flaw, nor have they changed the mount on new Phantom 2 copters.

For this reason, we are a bit cautious about blaming the pilot just yet. The Inspire 1 is a brand new product and contrary to what some commenters may believe, DJI is not perfect.

Read more and comment

Have a DJI Phantom? Install a proper radio system

Have a DJI Phantom? Install a proper radio system

December 20, 2013 13:12 | By | Add a Comment

If you’re a lucky Phantom or Phantom 2 owner (or perhaps you’ll get one this Christmas, hint hint), please do yourself and the FPV/multirotor community a favor and install a proper RC radio system. This helps preventing you from making the news because your phantom flew away on it’s own. These are not isolated incidents either. As a poll on RCG shows, there is a considerable number of people who experienced a total loss of control coupled with the Phantom taking off and just zooming away. DJI recently acknowledged that they are working to fix this via firmware upgrades, but the fact of the matter is: Their radio system is not the best, and no firmware update will change that.

So please, pick a solid frequency-hopping system (Spektrum DSMX, Futaba FASST, Multiplex, Jeti, HOTT, FrSky, just to name a few), stay away from systems that lack frequency agility or antenna diversity (DSM1, DSM2, ISM, XPS, Walkera) and make sure to check that your failsafe is not set to give full throttle. If your multirotor is equipped with GPS, set failsafe so that return-to-land is activated in case of signal loss.

If you own a Phantom, get a better RC radio and fly safe.

Read more and comment