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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Posts: 3087
Location: South Florida
Because PhotoBucket is no longer allowing my pictures to be posted here unless I pay $400/year, many of my pictures
are not available. My apologies! Starting on page 59 and forward, my pictures are hosted by Cloudinary, https://cloudinary.com and are visible.

Cloudinary is terrific, and I strongly recommend them for hosting your pictures.

Keith

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A Drone Test Gone Bad

I started this drone adventure as a test. I planned to launch my Mavic Pro from a nearby arroyo, fly it at a height of about 185’ over a ridge to my house. Distance was about 900’. The plan was to land it behind the ridge at my house. The question: could I control the drone once it was behind the ridge? Of course, it didn’t dawn on me, if I could not control the drone behind the ridge, what would happen to the drone?

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My first try at landing was in tight area between 3 walls. When the Mavic Pro descended to a height of 70’ above the launch, but behind the ridge, I lost control, but, regained control in a few seconds. That should have been the end of the test. I could not control the drone when it was out of sight behind the ridge. But, I persisted. At a height of 150’, I flew it to the back of my house which was more open and again tried to land it. The Mavic descended to about 79’, where I lost control again. This time, I did not miraculously regain control. The Mavic Pro was lost. I was, of course, panicked. I truly had no idea where the Mavic was since the controller had lost touch with the aircraft.

I rushed back to my house and walked the ridge nearest my last contact…no Mavic. I then went to the last place I had contact with it at the back of my house. Amazingly, at this point, I was in touch with the drone via the controller. The drone was still on. The FPV (the view via the drone camera) was displayed on my cell. It showed the drone was upside down, on the ground with some blades of long grass protruding into the blue sky above. It was not very comforting to know my drone was still functioning, because I still had no idea where it was. The FPV view (this is simulated since taking a picture of the FPV was the last thing I had on my mind.)

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I don’t know why, but, starting where I lost control near my garage, I began to walk on a line back toward the launch. Because the drone was still turned on, its lights were on. Somehow, I spotted the drone, the drone lights really, on the ground amongst some tall vegetation at the edge of my graveled drive way.

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Another view

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Looking at the flight log, it is clear what happened. Flight log? Yes, there is a flight log of that whole flight. How DJI, the designer and manufacturer of the Mavic Pro, does that when you have lost controller contact with the drone, is beyond my pay grade. When I lost control of the drone the second time, the drone decided it had to take things into its own hands and head back to the launch (home). It ascended to 97’ (standard) and headed directly to the launch site. At this altitude, it should have cleared everything and returned to home. For whatever reason, maybe the controller regained control, it lowered its altitude to 75', collided with tree branches, and tumbled to the ground upside down but still on. Of course, the propellers had turned off.

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A most important lesson learned: always have a direct line of sight to your drone. Your drone may be too far away to see, but there must be a direct line without solid obstacles between the Mavic Pro and its controller. Of course, it says that in the owner’s manual, but I think I was pushing the envelope and went a bit too far.

Kudos to DJI for building a quadcopter, the Mavic Pro, strong enough to stand the abuse which I have given it. I hope my learning period is over!

Keith

_________________
2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


Last edited by Chekika on Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:30 am
Posts: 196
Location: Delnor Wiggins, Fl Peters Twp PA
Hi Keith,

FWIW I experienced a similar event but without the "Ridge Effect" in play: flew my Mavic down a long approach drive and behind some trees using only my phone screen for guidance - about 1500 feet away. No problem. Next day I got a message stating "incompatible firmware" while syncing up and went thru the process of updating. Up in the air for a few hundred feet and my phone lost contact with the MP. Regained contact and then lost it again a minute later. Regained it and hit the RTH button immediately. Safe landing (fortunately). I'm suspecting a software glitch of some sort...


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:15 am 
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Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Posts: 3087
Location: South Florida
Wow, Bob, that sounds pretty scary from your drone's viewpoint. I haven't had any problems like that, but have not flown much in the last week--too much company!

You haven't posted any pictures yet. You are still up in Maine?

Keith

_________________
2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Posts: 3087
Location: South Florida
Houses in northern New Mexico

If you have never been out in the “4-Corners” area, i.e., the corner made up of the intersection of the borders of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, you are missing something. I’m only going to show you a few houses from around Taos, NM, which is approximately in north central NM, just 50 mi south of the Colorado border and 200 mi east of the 4-Corners area, as the crow flies.

This is an abandoned homestead, west of Taos. I have no idea when it was last occupied, probably 50-70 years ago.

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This is a deteriorated rock house. My guess is it was quite cold in the winter time when temperatures get down into the Fahrenheit teens and lower. Roughly half the stones are gone, presumably used where they were needed more.

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Still on the high desert plain to the northwest of Taos are a group of houses known as “Earthship” houses. These houses are self-contained, self-supporting structures—no public water or electricity. If the world destroyed all public utilities and facilities, these houses and their occupants could carry on as if nothing happened. This is one of the more elaborate Earthship houses. Others can be seen in the distance. They attempt to be self-sustaining: catch rainwater/melt snow, grow vegetables in their greenhouse portion of the house year-around, harvest wind and solar energy, passive heat/cool.

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To the north of Taos are the southern Rockies. About 15 miles into those mountains is the Taos Ski Valley, an area which is home to a nationally known ski area. This is the house in the area which belongs to of a friend of mine. It is at 9600’ and a great place to spend the summer…cool.

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On the road up to the ski area is an old, but still used cabin.

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I took all those pictures with my Mavic Pro drone. After I took the one of this cabin, I turned the drone to take a picture of the fall colors in the area.

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and

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You can enjoy the winter if you like to ski, otherwise, perhaps, not so much.

Keith

_________________
2015 AI 2, 2014 Tandem

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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