Drone lost in Seneca rocks West Virginia

Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
128
Likes
58
Age
56
#1
well, it happened about 10 minutes ago. Lost my P3 4K on a low battery RTH. I was racing back to home, but it forced a landing into the trees. I don’t have a computer with me, only my iPad used for display. I was flying from the Seneca Rocks Discovery center in West Virginia. The headwind was apparently too much for the run back. Got some awesome footage, but I’d really like to find it. My chances are next to nil cause it’s heavily wooded. If I hadn’t turned off video or thought to take a series of pics on the drop, it might have been possible. My first thought is to check distance from home on the flight log. There’s absolutely no cell service in this valley, so that’s not gonna help.

On the plus side, I did have insurance!
 
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1,699
Likes
938
Age
65
Location
N.central wv. U.S.
#3
Was it on the rock side of the creek? Put up some posters. There are a lot of climbers all over that rock. You know there is a road on the rt. side of the rock? Also there is a trail going up the Lt. side. Yokums takes horses up on a different trail. Leave a poster with them.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
128
Likes
58
Age
56
#4
OMG... I went into the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center adjacent to where I launched because they’re one of the only places that have WiFi in this entire valley (which is apparently a ‘quiet zone’). Within 5 minutes of posting this, a guy walks in and I hear him talking about drones. I walk to the other side of the room and he’s got my drone in his hands. Apparently, it’s landed right next to a bridge over the river where people begin their hike up to the observation deck. What are the chances?? Crazy, right? Here’s a screen capture of the proxy file from my iPad. I’ll get more up soon. If you ever get to Seneca Rocks and the Dolly Sods Wilderness, it’s one of the most unique places you’ll ever see on the East coast. I’m always drawn to it above all other hiking, climbing, fishing, kayaking destinations. Although, West Virginia has it in spades.
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Likes: David Kraft
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1,699
Likes
938
Age
65
Location
N.central wv. U.S.
#6
OMG... I went into the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center adjacent to where I launched because they’re one of the only places that have WiFi in this entire valley (which is apparently a ‘quiet zone’). Within 5 minutes of posting this, a guy walks in and I hear him talking about drones. I walk to the other side of the room and he’s got my drone in his hands. Apparently, it’s landed right next to a bridge over the river where people begin their hike up to the observation deck. What are the chances?? Crazy, right?
I thought they were very good!
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
128
Likes
58
Age
56
#8
It went through a sycamore tree right next to one of the pedestrian bridges. Someone happened to be there when it dropped. It was quite surreal sitting in the discovery center (similar to the ones in a National Park) close enough to overhear someone talking about a drone and i go over to see it on the counter. The last time I flew there was in the fall. I’d walked all the way up the trail and further up to the top of the ridge. The sun was just setting and I only had enough time for one flight. Here’s some still frames. For some reason I haven’t taken the time to edit it yet. This gallery includes some stills from footage of the Dolly Sods Wilderness, which I just learned does not allow drones at all. I don’t recall seeing anything about it on the website, but i should have checked with the ranger... except they were closed at the time.

Seneca Rocks & Dolly Sods, West Virginia Oct. 2017

This is the first time I’ve been back since that visit. Feeling lazy, I thought I’d try flying up from the valley. Unsure of the range and obstruction, with the DBS range extender, I got up there fine. The lesson I learned is that it takes a long time to come down from 1,100 ft. and at least the same distance. Add to that an updraft and prevailing headwind. That battery however lost power much quicker than the previous one and the one I used after the guy recovered it. That’s right, I couldn’t resist one more flight before driving home.
 
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1,699
Likes
938
Age
65
Location
N.central wv. U.S.
#9
Thanks, love seeing the pictures. Are you from WV?
I took my first and last 4 k video of bear rocks. It was past peak for blueberry color, but still looked nice playing the unedited video. Couldn’t wait to edit it and found out my computer couldn’t handle it. I’m not smart enough to know how to get it to work. Here is a still I took.
28EDD42F-714E-4D24-A1FD-38367005F2E9.jpeg
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
128
Likes
58
Age
56
#10
Thanks, love seeing the pictures. Are you from WV?
I took my first and last 4 k video of bear rocks. It was past peak for blueberry color, but still looked nice playing the unedited video. Couldn’t wait to edit it and found out my computer couldn’t handle it. I’m not smart enough to know how to get it to work. Here is a still I took.
View attachment 100134
No, I live in MD near DC. I mostly fly over the Potomac River, especially downstream from Violette's Lock (upriver from Great Falls, out of the NFZ). It's NPS land, so I either strap the drone to the kayak or go out on a rock island away from the C&O Canal.

That's pretty close to peak color at Dolly Sods. The blueberry bushes color earlier than everything else. The mountainside adjacent to Bear Rocks is probably 3 weeks behind the Sods, so it requires more than one visit depending on what you're shooting. I tell you, it was insane with people up there when the Sods are peak color. You have to park 1/2 mile or more before Bear Rocks and count on it being one way in, down the other end from Bear Rocks. Like I said though, drones are prohibited in all Wilderness Areas. No motorized vehicles, chain saws, nothin. Not even if you work for the Forest Service or whatever.

To edit your video, first convert to 1080p using MPEG Streamclip, a converter almost all editors use if their editor doesn't like the native format. Convert to ProRes 422.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
128
Likes
58
Age
56
#11
Was it on the rock side of the creek? Put up some posters. There are a lot of climbers all over that rock. You know there is a road on the rt. side of the rock? Also there is a trail going up the Lt. side. Yokums takes horses up on a different trail. Leave a poster with them.
I was gonna do the horse ride this visit, but had to cut it short.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
128
Likes
58
Age
56
#12
It actually landed, not in a tree, and it is not damaged?

Rod
It definitely crashed, but there's so much foliage and understory in that area, it cushioned the fall. I had some new props in the bag, so I went ahead and put them on just in case although the old ones appeared to be fine, albeit a bit muddy. I took it back to my campsite and packed up my tent for my return home to DC area, but as I drove by the Discovery Center, I just couldn't resist taking one last flight... and it was awesome. I didn't have my charger cables with me, so I could only do 4 flights total on my 4 batteries. Made sure I started my RTH with 25% left. I'll remember to account for the headwind, updraft, elevation and distance next time. I think the crash battery is a bit faulty, 'cause it lost power quickly. Have to check if it's the OEM or 3rd party (always suspect).
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
155
Likes
72
Age
38
#13
Glad you got it back. Did your iPad cache the video of it “landing” or do you have video on the SD card? Would be interesting to see.
 
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1,699
Likes
938
Age
65
Location
N.central wv. U.S.
#14
I’ll try to do as you suggested on editing. I would really like to edit that video of Bear rocks since I found out I can’t fly there now. Lol
I have never seen Bear rocks backed up that far.

I was a scout leader for 12 years. I have back packed and hiked that whole area. I was big in caving. Now, I’m just big.

I have prospected that area of Maryland, possibility the ravine going down to that lock. Cars were parked up the road. I dropped down the ravine with my pan and a few tools. Couldn’t help myself. Well, that was 33 years ago. Lol
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
128
Likes
58
Age
56
#15
Glad you got it back. Did your iPad cache the video of it “landing” or do you have video on the SD card? Would be interesting to see.
Unfortunately, in a snap decision hoping to preserve every ounce of battery life, I turned the video off, which in hindsight was stupid because that would have provided a visual of its drop zone. I could have used the quick gimbal up/down several times and gotten a pretty good idea. However, turning off the video may have gotten me the extra 20' to drop right next to the bridge and creek where people were walking by. Not that I had any idea of where I was at the time... I was frantically trying to keep it from descending, but you can't override a low battery landing. I could tell it was a Sycamore tree, which would imply that it was next to the river. My horticultural education taught me at least that much.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2017
Messages
280
Likes
43
#16
lesson I learned is that it takes a long time to come down from 1,100 ft.
1100ft above ground or above sea level?
How are you legally able to fly higher than 400ft.???
And over Seneca Rocks State Park?
Does WV allow drones in state parks?
No ranger in visitors center reacted???
 
Likes: TimInCT
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1,699
Likes
938
Age
65
Location
N.central wv. U.S.
#17
1100ft above ground or above sea level?
How are you legally able to fly higher than 400ft.???
And over Seneca Rocks State Park?
Does WV allow drones in state parks?
No ranger in visitors center reacted???
It is not a state park, but yes WV. does allow drones in most of the state parks. Rangers like to watch me fly. They have even kept people from bothering me.
I can easily fly up the side of the hill and right out over the rock.

You seem so agitated?
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2017
Messages
280
Likes
43
#18
You seem so agitated?
No.
Gobsmacked, jealous?
Yes.
FL State Parks do NOT allow drones.
Not even close.
And Seneca Rocks, AFAICT, is within
Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area AKA Federal AKA no fly zone???
note: am seeking clarity, nothing else...
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1,699
Likes
938
Age
65
Location
N.central wv. U.S.
#19
For more clarity sake. Really, people are not as legalistic with rules here as some places where you are afraid to do anything without being accosted. I know, rules are rules. They just don't always push the rules. More like respect, be friendly and if you aren't bothering people, let be. Culture is how we perceive and value things. The people that work there are locals with a much different cultural upbringing than Fl. or NJ.

A lot of land around the rock is private. Dave Bennett is a friend of mine and lives next to Seneca Rocks. The road that goes to the right of the rock in the gap is a public road, you would think it is part of the park and looks to be a hiking trail.

A cop saw me metal detecting one day and wanted to know more about it. At the end of our conversation, I told him about wanting to Metal detect a place on federal property. I was told, no way. It was off limits by the people there. The cop said do it anyway. I said,they can take my metal detector and car if I was caught. He laughed and said, that doesn't fly here. They will just tell you to leave.

We have an unwritten laws here, you have to wave at people
whether you know them or not. Always stop to help someone out. Be nice. Although you could get your drone shot out of the sky for flying over someone farm. We do like our privacy from revenuers and such. lol
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
128
Likes
58
Age
56
#20
I talked to the ranger for 45 minutes or so about what areas were legal to fly and whether it was ok to fly from next to the discovery center. He confirmed it was legal. There’s a large field behind the center where there are no pedestrians.

Wilderness areas to include Dolly Sods (a fav place for hiking just down the road) is not legal to fly or use any motorized equipment at all, not even for rangers or rescue.

The rock may be 900’ above the valley, but the terrain slopes up to it so I wasn’t more than 300’ or so above the ground.
 

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
129,629
Messages
1,346,423
Members
94,453
Latest member
bugared