Have you experienced a crash with your P4?

  • NO, none yet --- I am a newb and I still fly in beginners mode

    Votes: 4 5.0%
  • NO, none yet --- I consider my self somewhat experienced

    Votes: 59 73.8%
  • YES, it was a user error --- something you caused, either directly or indirectly

    Votes: 14 17.5%
  • YES, it was a non-user error --- something you had NO control over

    Votes: 3 3.8%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .
Sep 18, 2016
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Long Island, NY
I just bought, and have been flying, my P4 about 6 weeks now and find it extremely stable. In fact, it seems quite difficult to crash, unless of course I do something deliberate, like fly it into a wall in sport mode, or back it into a tree in "P" mode.

The purpose of this thread is two-fold.

As for the poll, I was interested in analyzing P4 crashes and whether they were mainly "user based" or "system based".
  • User based is anything where you either directly caused the crash (like flying into something) or indirectly caused it (like flying below 30% and the batteries ran out).
  • System based would be some sort of failure in software or hardware that you had no control over.

The second reason, I welcome people to post personal crash experiences. This is intended to be a no shame thread !!! I am just interested in others opinions on the stability of the platform and to share crash experiences, root causes, and lessons learned so we all grow from the knowledge.
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I will post one experience, a near miss.

The very first day I was flying the drone, I was getting used to "p" mode handling and the (OAS) obstacle avoidance system. I was trying to get close to objects very slowly and cautiously, both going forwards, as well as backwards and sideways, just to test the limits of the OAS and get a feel for the controls.

As it happens, I got a bit TOO close to a tree and decided to abort and rise above the tree. As this was my very first day I still did not understand visual perspective well of how close something is to something else, especially looking from the ground at an single angle to something else. As the drone rose it hit another branch that I had no idea was even close to the drone. Lucky for me, the props just momentarily chopped some leaves and then rose above the tree.

From that point on I learned that you need to get a few different angles of perspective before you try to get close to something. One LOS view, especially at a distance and at an upward angle, is just not enough to gauge the drone's proximity to objects.
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No crashes on my P3. I do have obstacle avoidance on mine.. Me!
None YET! 2.5 million feet in 152 flights ( a bit more because I forgot to backup my logs once). All the close calls where my fault my fault my fault..
All the scary moments I try to remember and not do them again.
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Yup.. don't drink and drone and then try to fly with the craft facing you, the controls will be backwards and the alcohol will prevent you from realizing this before its too late. Well actually common sense tells you not to drink and drone period.

ALSO the dog attacked my P3S. Have no crashes on the P4
I've had no crashes either (knock on wood) and don't want to jinx myself by saying I never will either because at some point I "may" LoL

Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
no crashes yet! I am very cautious and probably leave a lot of adventure on the table. Only about 8 hours flight time to date.
crashed MiNE Had A ProP Break Off 150' In The Air. Never Had A Problem Before That. Don't Know What Caused It Either.
I know sometimes crashes can happen that are outside the control of the pilot. I think there is also a distinction between "noob" mistakes vs. an experienced pilot who may be taking some "chances" to get that shot.

I did my noob crashes with a less expensive drone(s) when I first started flying. I'm somewhat conservative when I fly, but as I gain more experience, I'm more willing to attempt photos/videos I wouldn't have tried early on which puts my P4 in places where more precision or awareness is required which may one day result in a crash.
Initial training flights I did not fully understand switching between various modes and commands so when it went to auto-land . . not on the grass but 4 feet right in the corn stubble . . . I was not able to react quickly to stop it from landing and taking off the tip of one blade before I could shut it down ( it was about 150ft away). Being less anxious to get it in the air and more interested in learning controls and commands would have solved that. After lots of more reading, more methodical experimenting and planning of what to do on each flight, I've managed another 200 P4 flights and maybe 70hrs airborne without incident. . . oh yea . . there was that one other time it looked like a "fly away" but again just not fully understanding which mode I was in. . . never panic . . normally just go for altitude and sort things out where you are not surrounded by solid stuff.

With over 3500hrs of flying helicopters you would think I should have known better than to just fire it up an go! . . just too excited to play when my new machine arrived. . . I will . . try . . . to remember that when my Mavic arrives.
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Well I have to say I've been watching threads on phantom crashes myself try to learn by others mistakes as well as mechanical issues, and from what I can tell it looks to be 1/3 mechanical to 2/3rds pilot error, there's a learning curve with any thing we do and some new pilots make mistakes such as forgetting stick position when the AC is going away from you as coming toward, but really in an emergency situation even experienced pilots can make mistakes, the mechanical/firm/software issues are almost always due to the company, and DJI is very secretive about this but when they see the flight log and see that it was their error they won't say a lot but just repair or replace what's damaged

Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
Nice summary chazzm ... I had another "incident " few days ago flying in a confined area .. I was getting too close to some trees as I turned to repeat the flight path I had just done... turning to get a better look I made a momentary control input that actually pushed me closer. I'd forgotten I was in COURSE LOCK . . Before I could process it all I'd backed up and put some chlorophyll on all 4 blades. P4 is very forgiving and let me fly away unharmed. But I had just forgotten the control mode momentarily and reacted badly. I should have been more aware of that when I selected the mode. NOW I am!... and less likely to forget again.

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80 flights with P4; 160,000 ft, 80 hours and only one incident: After having demonstrated with total success to some people how front collision avoidance performed just by flying against a metallic mesh fence at some 20 ft altitude, I wanted to repeat that to other people some hours later at exactly the very same place, same spot, same speed and orientation... Everything went well except that this time the P4 DID NOT STOPPED AT ALL and "crashed" against the fence. It only sliced the two front propellers against the mesh, fell three to four feet down, but recovered nicely before reaching the floor and I was able to safely land.

The cause?: it was sunset, and sun was very low over the horizon and just in front of the drone! Lesson learnt: Even if you think that you are repeating everything the same way, external conditions might change and provoke a disaster. Not this time, and I was very lucky.

Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
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No crashes yet. The only time I have issues is when I am flying back to me, because left and right are switched. That will take a little more practice.
49 flight's with my P4, no crashes yet but a close one when I was filming my son's friends B day party. I was getting cool shots of them riding their bikes. I figured I would try active track and the ability to circle the object while in that mode. I set the altitude above the trees and locked on and it worked flawlessly. Made for a great vid. Then when they got off their bikes I locked on to B day boy at about 30' high and told him to run. He took off and went between these two trees. I was watching closely and the P4 stayed right in his path and was matching his speed well. Between the trees he was pretty much centered and I'd say the P4 was about 25' from the either tree. All the sudden he turns to run back. The P4 turned to follow him but when it had turned 90° it all the sudden started backing up fast to maintain the same distance from him and backed straight towards the tree. The whole time I had my finger on the mode switch to be able to cancel but it happened so fast my first instinct was take it down below the branches. I hit the control and luckily the P4 responded to an altitude adjustment while in active track. That maneuver also disabled or paused it and just hovered where it stopped at 3' above the ground. I didn't know it would do that but was lucky it did. Almost trimmed a few branches.... And a few props. Close one! Now with more flights and getting a feel of what to do in these situations, I feel more confident I could react more intelligently. I have definitely practiced cancelling every mode it has in DJI Go and Litchi. Well worth the effort!

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