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Help with interpreting crash (and suggestions for fixing it)


Nov 7, 2017
HI all,

recently I had a bad crash which ended up with a broken arm (the spark front-right, not mine!), but I'd like confirmation from the experts here on what really happened.

[You can skip the part in blue if you want]
A bit of context: many months ago I had another hard crash (I know, I know... I should be more careful), which forced me to replace part of the gimbal and live with some bruises on the spark body. More worrying, I was having occasional issues with the spark glitching during flight (strage movements or sounds) and showing some "rear left motor overload" messages every once in a while. Then I ordered a new motor an only recently found the time to sit down and try to replace it, having flown next to zero in the meanwhile; however, as I was prepping for the surgery, a small piece of plastic from a broken propeller attachment came out of the motor... which, I though, may very well have been the cause of the issue.

So I took my spark out for a test without replacing the motor, and no kidding, it was flying beautifully. I stayed on grass and flying low and slow at first, but moved farther and flew harder (including a few stretched in sport mode) as I saw the drone was behaving well. When I was about to call it I day, I decided for a last "sprint" in sport mode. So I switched to sport mode and pressed full forward: instantly, my Spark flipped (I think sideways) and hard-crashed on concrete. When I recovered it, the front-right arm was all but detached at the base...

Now, to the question: I'm wondering if the broken arm was the result or the cause of the crash. In particular, I have two possible explanations in mind.
A) something happened (motor or sensor failure, etc...) which caused the Spark to loose attitude control and crash, resulting in a broken arm
B) the arm was weakened by the crash many months ago (I did not notice anything, but I must admit that I did not explicitly inspect for this kind of damage) and when stressed by the sudden acceleration it gave up, with obvious results.

For now, the best clue I got is from the PhantomHelp Logviewver, which shows the Spark suddenly banking right just after I applied full-forward in sport mode, with no error messages. This seems to me to point ot option B (banking right would be compatible with loosing thrust on the right side...), but I'm not expert in log inspection.

Would some of the experts on this forum be willing to have a look at my logs, and see if they come up with some different explanation? I'm attaching both the txt and DAT log files downloaded from my phone (I've been unsuccessful in accessing the onboard logs).

BTW, any suggestion for repair? I guess buying a new frame would be the best option, but it would imply a compleste disassebly and reassembly of the spark, which worries me a bit. Any glue you would reccommend that is strong enough to match the original plastic?

Many thanks!



  • SparkCrash.zip
    627.7 KB · Views: 3
Here it is on phantomhelp . . .

DJI Flight Log Viewer - PhantomHelp.com

I think the DAT will hold clues as to what happened more that the phantomhelp report.
But this requires a programme like DATCON and some experience with that to interpret the info.

The Spark DAT is readable thankfully, unlike DJI drones over the past 2 or 3 models, where only DJI can decrypt the data.

I haven't seen a detailed flight record crash / problem analysis here on the SparkPilots forum, like one sees on the MavicPilots forum.
That forum has a dedicated Crash & Flyaway Assistance section.

I feel if you posted this up there asking nicely if someone could take a look at your TXT and DAT, you would get a response.
They sometimes analyse other DJI aircraft logs besides Mavics.

Unfortunately, you would have to sign up there as it's treated like a separate membership.

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