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Spark compass error - flew off full speed


Premium Pilot
Feb 13, 2019
The single most effective means to prevent a launch time fly away is to check the red triangle heading indicator in the map display.
View attachment 9130
If it doesn't agree with the actual AC heading then erratic flight and possible fly away is likely. This method is more robust and accurate than any of the other methods seen in this thread. It's really unfortunate that DJI doesn't put this in any documentation.

There are a few other points about compass calibration that should be mentioned.

1) The idea that a fly away can be caused by moving away from the calibration location is simply not true. A calibration can only determine and compensate for the magnetic properties of the AC. It's mathematically impossible to obtain the data necessary to compensate for magnetic effects external to the AC.

2) It's not necessary to calibrate at a new location. But, it also doesn't increase the risk of getting a flawed calibration. A geomagnetic field distorted enough to produce a flawed calibration will cause the calibration attempt to be rejected with the "interference detected, move to another location" message being issued.

3) No amount of compass calibration at any location will prevent these fly aways. The only fix is to move the AC to a better location.

@dingodar the reason that the AC flies away at high speed is because it doesn't know which wat it's pointed. It's constantly making corrections to it's position. To do this it has to know it's heading. If the heading is wrong any attempted correction will produce a larger position error. Then the next correction has to be larger. This repeats with each correction being larger than the previous.

If you want to know more about a particular fly away the best way is to look at the .DAT log file for that incident. Look here to see how to retrieve that .DAT.
Good to know! I will check it’s heading in the future. Thanks for your help!!


Well-Known Member
May 15, 2018
Lets say you calibrate near metal vs calibrate way out in the field, as long as the calibration is done, does it matter? I tried calibrating my Air and was a few meters away from my car but had errors, had to move even more away but it turned out fine. Would the calibration be "better" if I was even longer away from my car?
The general answer is YES it matters.

But, if the only interference source is your car, moving a little away from it, will be ok.

The safe way is, If there's a need for a compass calibration, we should do this, away enough from any ferromagnetic material.


Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
Lets say you calibrate near metal vs calibrate way out in the field, as long as the calibration is done, does it matter? I tried calibrating my Air and was a few meters away from my car but had errors, had to move even more away but it turned out fine. Would the calibration be "better" if I was even longer away from my car?
Yes, the calibration may be better but not enough to matter. The result of the calibration can be seen in the eventLog stream as scale and bias values. Here's an example from my Mavic 2

68.882 : 5493 [L-COMPASS][scale cali(0)] succeed! bias:64.7 -348.9 -981.0 scal:3.545 3.517 3.741|

I did a lot of experimentation with my P3 and got really good calibrating just far enough from my truck so that the calibration would succeed. That was about 1.1 meters. I didn't see any significant difference when the P3 was calibrated about 10 meters from the truck vs 1.1 meters.

Chuck Halfacre

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2018
40 Miles out side of Las Vegas
My spark had compass error and said to land immediately. It went into Atti mode and gunned its engines and flew a couple thousand feet away in seconds!
Return to home would not work!!
There were error messages blocking my screen and I had no video or a clue where it went to. Finally I noticed the distance and altitude starting working and I brought it back using that. When it reached two hundred feet away the low battery kicked in, and the return to home activated.
My question is why does it gun it engines full blast and run off when there are errors?
This is the third time it has happened.

Also My Sons Spark had a similar experience - his Spark ramped the speed up full blast when a compass error occurred over water. Luckily he was able to recover by using the distance meter.

Is the max full speed ahead when errors occur - a normal phenomenon for the sparks?

I'm thinking all of us that have had problems like yours's and all the others that have had fly off and fly aways need to file a law suite agents DJI for all this! All DJI had to do was just tell me they know about all the problems with the spark and to fix the issues an I would have been fine, But no they took the high road and did nothing but tried there best to piss me off but it just did not work with me.. They also said they sent me the link so I could buy another spark drone but I never got what they said was sent to me.. On top of all that when Dji did get around to send me the link it said the link was not valid! So to cover my *** I made sure I took and not only put it all on a back up drive with all the proof to show what was done to me! So now when I find an attorney to file a law suit agents DJI for what they put me thru over something they not only no about but continue to keep these issue's to make more money off of us.. It may not have happened to some of you but when it does your going to be pissed off! I drive by where it said my 1st drone flew off and I still don't understand where it went? A 5 acre lot that is fenced in all around the lot an no one lives there an is cleared most of the weeds are cleared off I walk the whole property and even walk another 50 yards all the way around it still no drone! Maybe It's still it the air all this time? I never did look up... I will never let this die as long as people are asking why are the spark drone having problem's and there other drone's don't! I no the answer do any of you? Hey put a like on my page or even a middle finger lol I'm out take care peeps!!

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