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Spark Sudden Signal Loss and Fly Away

theletter3

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Aug 11, 2019
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Hi All,

I just made an account in the hope that someone can review my flight log and let me know if I'm missing something that could help me find my drone.

On August 2nd I had a strong signal, suddenly lost signal, initiated RTH, and then the drone reported a compass error and disconnected for good. According to my reading of my flight log, it reported its last position at ~380 feet and returning home. I searched the area but it's wooded/grassland and I have not located my drone. Hoping for any possible insight. I attached the flight log. Thanks to anyone who has time and expertise.
 

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Spark 317

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Jul 10, 2017
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Indiana, USA
Hi All,

I just made an account in the hope that someone can review my flight log and let me know if I'm missing something that could help me find my drone.

On August 2nd I had a strong signal, suddenly lost signal, initiated RTH, and then the drone reported a compass error and disconnected for good. According to my reading of my flight log, it reported its last position at ~380 feet and returning home. I searched the area but it's wooded/grassland and I have not located my drone. Hoping for any possible insight. I attached the flight log. Thanks to anyone who has time and expertise.
Here's your flight...


 
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theletter3

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Much appreciated. I loaded it onto Airdata and it gave me the same info. I'm trying to interpret it... classic flyaway? It's moving and holding altitude at the last data point.
 

Spark 317

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It looks like the Spark went into Atti-mode at the end of the log for some reason, leaving it at the mercy of the wind to "fly away" until the battery died if unable to reconnect or see the aircraft to maneuver it.

The battery was at 67% so the Spark may have floated quite a distance at the current altitude in Atti-mode.

A possible search area may be established if the time, date, and the hourly weather for that day with wind direction and speed.

Oh BTW, Welcome to the Forum. 😎
 
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Northwood Mediaworks

Flying with both feet on the ground!
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Ahhh Sport mode... so many of these come this way... Sorry you lost your drone, as the others have asked, if you can provide wind conditions for that time you were flying, there is some hope of recovery. You were up pretty high, did you check the wind speed and gust speeds at that altitude before going up there?
 

Djmad

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Jul 25, 2019
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Hey all. First of all, sorry for the lost drone. That must suck.

So being a newby myself to drone flying, the log still shows something like 12 satellites when the craft went into atti mode. Why would it do that when there is such good satellite coverage for gps?
And secondly, how do you check the wind speeds etc up so high before going there?
 

Spark 317

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And secondly, how do you check the wind speeds etc up so high before going there?
UAV FORECAST app available free in the app stores.

You can set your flight parameters such as wind speeds at different altitudes, temperatures, etc.

Another one is WINDY.
It has a graphic that shows the flow of the wind in your area.
 
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sparkey44

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May 3, 2019
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"the log still shows something like 12 satellites when the craft went into atti mode. Why would it do that when there is such good satellite coverage for gps?"

I wonder the same thing. I hope someone could answer that,
 

ajkm

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May 29, 2019
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380ft agl at 5200ft and you could see your drone?
If you were using the RC you can fly home manually without GPA.
 

Northwood Mediaworks

Flying with both feet on the ground!
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"the log still shows something like 12 satellites when the craft went into atti mode. Why would it do that when there is such good satellite coverage for gps?"

I wonder the same thing. I hope someone could answer that,
Hi... the Spark uses a combination of the IMU, Compass and GPS to figure out its position, speed, etc. A sudden gust of wind can affect your IMU (think accelerometer) and cause it to become out of sync with the GPS and compass, if it's significant enough, the aircraft will switch to ATTI, and then you must manually control the position of the spark, otherwise the winds will take it to wherever they want. (hence the idea of a fly away...). If you have line of site of your craft, you can pilot the drone back to you with the remote control and land it. Sometimes once the wind settles you may regain a GPS lock. Simply having a bunch of satelites is not a guarantee that you will maintain position.

Hope this helps. By checking the wind profile in the area where you plan to fly in advance, you have the best chance of a safe and happy flight. On windier days, best not to go up to 120m/400 feet. Flying low to the ground is a way to get out there and fly without that particular risk. Just watch out for trees and buildings!
 

theletter3

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Aug 11, 2019
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Great bunch of replies! Thanks! The wind was calm that day but as noted you never know at 400 ft. I will use the UAV Forecast app as recommended. I could not fly back manually as I was disconnected right after entering atti mode. I did use a controller and had a solid connection at all times.

Good news is that DJI examined the flight log and is sending me a new one under the terms of the limited warranty. Their customer service has been prompt and eager to help. Even without a replacement I would have been pleased with their service.

As a new flyer I have a lot to learn and am glad my loss led me to this forum.
 
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ajkm

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May 29, 2019
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You are always able to find out the winds aloft speeds at various altitudes. And if you had a solid connection to the controller at all times, then you could have flown the Spark back to you with the telemetry data that the RC provides. The app is really irrelevant to the ability to control the drone.
 

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