Flyaway survey responses needed!

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Hi,

I just had my first flyaway scare. Lost control soon after takeoff and was able to crash-land it soon after by fiddling with GPS/ATTI modes, but not able to fully regain control (had full green GPS, etc. have flown it a few times in the same spot before with no issues).

Anyway, I'm now very curious about the flyaway phenomenon, and I'd like to gather some data about what everyone's experience is when these "flyaways" happen (or really any time you lose control).

So I've made a survey page that asks a bunch of questions about what mode you were flying in, if you calibrated the compass, etc.

Maybe if we gather enough data we can recognize some trends or learn some techniques to recover when things go wrong.

Here's the link, please share with any friends who have had a flyaway or experiences loss of control while flying a multi-rotor with the NAZA GPS units.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1R4MaX8 ... 0/viewform

I'll share the data/results once we get enough responses to be useful.

Cheers!
 
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Any chance you can post a "read" copy of the survey? I haven't had a flyaway, but I'm curious about the questions you're asking.
 
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Great idea ... I haven't had a flyaway and hope it never happens, but gathering info will surely help.
 
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mroberts said:
Any chance you can post a "read" copy of the survey? I haven't had a flyaway, but I'm curious about the questions you're asking.
Sure, you can see the questions by answering "Yes" to the first question - that will take you to page 2 where all the other q's are - just don't submit that 2nd page :)
 
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I'm noticing a trend on reports of fly aways . . . .

People have said they have done a flight or two with no problems . . . But the third flight or later, it becomes unresponsive? How many surveys have been completed so far? When can we see some results to look for trends?

I've got four batteries to suit my phantom, and I'm planning a day (5 weeks from now) where I'm hoping to get around 8+ flights in! (I have four charges to help on the day)

I'd hate to think after my fist 2 flights it might take off, then again, it may take off at anytime so its a risk either way!
 
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I have 7 batteries and a few times have flown them all directly after each other, must have quite a few flights seeing as any day I fly I will do at least 4 or 5 flights. I have 3 small crashes breaking props getting too close to trees but nothing major. Had what may have been a near flyaway early on but that was mostly pilot error flying in poor conditions strong downwind and possibly accidentally flicked course lock on without realizing so it went an opposite direction to where I thought and so raised altitude then activated home lock and it came back nicely.

I did get caught in an updraft once recently where I gained much more elevation then I expected, had I not been using FPV I may have though the phantom did something strange. Using FPV you can see what is going on and though some odd things have occured they have been usually caused by outside conditions or me being in a mode I didnt think I was in. I always pay attention to the LED's and only take off with full satellites and home location saved just incase its needed.

I have lost radio range once while flying FPV and return to home activated, I still had a clear video signal though I was 880m away when I lost the stock radio. I have flown to nearly 1km LOS without issues in both atti modes and GPS modes, I have made some mistakes here and there but in all the flights nothing that phantom has done has been completely uncontrollable and random that I couldn't explain how or why it happened.

If your new to RC or quads just take your time to learn slowly and try and get a basic grasp of each action, Im sure there can be the odd flyaway caused by a GPS issue but you should never rely on this 100%. Make sure you fly within a comfortable range and everything is in good working order, learn to fly atti mode so you can fly in any conditions when GPS isnt quite working. If you fly in a bad location GPS wise then don't be surprised if it does things you don't expect in GPS mode. I think the good majority of what people call a flyaway is simple pilot error and not understanding all functions and controls properly then flying way beyond your current ability or expecting way to much from GPS and not RTFM. :lol:

A poor tradesman will always blame his tools never himself, a good one can find a way to work with anything and tries to make the best of what he has.

Just my 2c
 
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Jenniar said:
flyaway is cool
It is if that's how you got your phantom :lol:

I think most of them are just Phantom's trying to get back to the factory after getting too much of a beating from its new user.
 
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Driffill said:
How many surveys have been completed so far? When can we see some results to look for trends?
There's 155 responses as of today, and the rate has dropped off a bunch, so we seem to have gathered all we can.

https://docs.google.com/a/deconcept.com ... wanalytics

I wrote up a summary on another phantom board, which I'll copy here:

I wrote this up when it was at 120 responses, looks like the data is about the same, but feel free to look for trends in the free text section at the bottom of the link above.

Of the 120 that responded, 32% have had a "flyaway" happen. Note that the definition of flyaway is pretty loose, and who knows if it was actually one or just inexperience, but that is still a really high number to me. Also note that it's pilots, not flights, and many people report flying most of the time with no problems... but still...

IOC was overwhelmingly in the "Off" mode - It would be interesting to see how often anyone actually uses those modes, as I never do myself, so this is probably irrelevant to the flyaway problem.

Also, 87% of flyaways happen while in GPS mode, but a small number (5 total, 13%) reported flyaways in ATTI mode - this could be within our margin of error or close to it.

32% reported regaining control of the copter after losing control. This is good.

Of those 32%, the top action that they did was "nothing, control came back automatically". A small number also reported switching GPS/ATTI mode, but most (61%) never regained control and the copter was lost or crashed.

55% of responses reported 25+ flights of their copter in its "current configuration."

61% reported an issue when flying in the "same location" as the previous flight. A hunch I had was that the GPS in the copter could be remembering a previous location as home and somehow activating RTH, but this question seems to have assuaged that thought.

Flying experience is a little interesting. 16% of the pilots with flyways reported that this is their first RC flying device, and only 16% reported being able to fly circles around indoors (ie very good). The majority reported being comfortable flying, so this could potentially rule out the problem being just "noobs".

The FPV question seems to rule out any interference with an FPV system. I was surprised to learn that 92% of pilots weren't using any FPV device at all, and the other 8% were using Fatshark 5.8Ghz (8% is within the margin of error here, so is likely negligible). So we can't blame interference from that.

Most people were using GoPro v3s, with half reporting the Black version, and 24% with no camera at all. So it seems like the camera (wifi interference) is probably not a problem.

66% of pilots reported doing an IMU calibration "0-5 flights" before the flyaway, so this could potentially rule out issues with the IMU getting out of whack after many flights. Perhaps in another survey we can dig into what happened just before the flyaway (ie a crash, or something like taking the copter on a plane or something).

66% also reported calibrating the compass within 0-5 flights of the flyaway, which seems pretty good to me and shows that it can happen even if you have a fully freshly calibrated copter.

Reading through the text descriptions I don't really see any patterns, but feel free to read through if you are interested.

I did send this to DJI and got a response saying "thanks" and that they would have a look at it, so perhaps it will help them narrow down the problem by eliminating some guesses.

Thanks all for the replies! And feel free to keep sending this around to other phantom pilots, more data is good!
 
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Also worth noting is that with the 3.14 firmware you can assign "Manual mode" to your right tx switch, which is apparently a potential fix for the loss of control.

But be warned: it can be tricky to fly in manual mode, so you might want to practice it a bit first so you are ready if it happens.
 
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Spork said:
Here's the link, please share with any friends who have had a flyaway or experiences loss of control while flying a multi-rotor with the NAZA GPS units.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1R4MaX8 ... 0/viewform
Here is the link for just the results. If someone just wants to look at the results, through your link they have to answer questions, as I did, before going through, which of course greatly skews the results. I don't even have a Phantom yet, still research options and playing the 'wait till gimbal is fixed' game, but there was no 'no answer' option. Hopefully this link prevents further skewing.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1R4MaX8 ... wanalytics
 
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Has your phantom or NAZA powered copter had an uncontrolled "Fly Away"?
Yes 42 29%
No 104 71%
What GPS control mode was your Phantom in when you first lost control?
GPS ATTI. (All the way up) 37 88%
ATTI (2nd or 3rd position) 5 12%
So 29% or 42 out of 104 have had a flyaway?

of these 42, 37 where in GPS mode so I would pretty much discount all those as flyways as GPS mode is not to be relied upon.

Did you regain control of your copter after losing control?
Yes 13 31%
No 29 69%
If someone regained control of their flyaway I don't see how it could be considered a flyaway? they lost temporary control due to orientation, GPS or radio interference but if you regained full control it hasn't gone off on its own. If flying a long distance away relying purely on GPS and GPS fails then you lose orientation that's pilot error not a flyaway.

How many times have you flown your copter in its current configuration?
0-3 flights 5 12%
4-10 flights 6 14%
10-25 flights 7 17%
25+ flights 24 57%
43% have had less then 25+ flights, hard to discount rookie errors in all those and placing way too much faith in GPS and also loosing orientation which is very easy to do. Its not a flyaway its simply the art of learning to fly a quad LOS and losing control and not knowing everything about your craft really makes it hard to say these issues are anything other then pilot error, previous crash damage simple lack of knowledge. Even 25 flights is not really any significant experience level you should have some understanding but still a long way from mastering the craft at that point. I would have had this as 0-15, 16-50, 51-150 and 150+ as any number under 25 is pretty much the same very low experience.

Were you using FPV gear (a video transmitter)?
Yes, Fatshark or other 5.8Ghz system 3 7%
No 39 93%
Hard to lose orientation in FPV unless video signal is lost, it also show you all you mistakes on screen. Someone trying to fly at a range where they can't easily see orientation LOS and losing control is not a flyaway I think.

No question asking how far away from the craft were you at the point of losing control? this would be critical info if you want valuable results.

Explain what happened, including what steps you took to regain control if possible.
I read a few of these and the majority show its simple pilot error, flying out of range or other things like so. You would be better off defining a flyaway as a completly random unexplainable loss of control and RTH failure in an area with good GPS reception and not much possible radio interference. All the others could be simply people losing control of their craft with nothing at all to do with a software issue in the NAZA controller.
 
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Just saw this video and this would be a very typical flyaway by most peoples accounts but the guy admits his own errors here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtAjIulP0dY[/youtube]

OMG!!! I was sure I just lost my favorite toy. At the 2:50 min point... I was sure the Phantom was gone. I flew the Phantom off the roof of my building just to take some fun areal video but I became disoriented and lost sight of it in the clouds over San Francisco bay. I turned on the home lock and told it to come home but after a few minutes I still had no sight of the Phantom. Finally after I figured the battery was getting low I gave up and hoped that the return home feature really worked.... so I turned off the remote and crossed my fingers. After waiting what seemed like another 5 minutes I gave up and figured that $1,200 worth of Phantom and GoPro Black were in the bay and I had just learned an expensive lesion. When I was headed to the stairs all of a sudden I heard the Phantom and looked up. It was approx. 100 feet above me coming down slowly with the "out of power" LED flashing. When it was about 25 feet up it just fell out of the sky hitting the roof hard but surviving!!!! Wow!!! This thing works as advertised! Best toy ever!
Very lucky it came back but this sort of flying is pretty insane, no idea what he is doing over such a populated area may have been safer for all if it ended in the bay. :mrgreen:
 
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Yeah I agree with a lot of your points, many of these could be pilot error and that's part of what I wanted to filter out via the questions.

If we do another survey I'll definitely add some of your suggestions to make the results better.
 
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Im sure there are the odd issues that are just unexplainable and unfortunately there is no black box recorder we can analyse after the fact to try figure out if there is an actual issue or not. Im sure DJI would love to know if there is an issue too but its pretty much impossible atm to say as there is no real pattern and many people mistake pilot error for something else. Without exactly pinpointing an issue you cant really fix it either, sure GPS could be more accurate but much of that is out of their control as is radio interference.

Its still interesting to go through the results so far but there is no real smoking gun showing itself in there from what I can see. The biggest issue I see with the phantom is that its very easy to fly but also very easy to get in trouble. Quads are hard to get orientation and it is marketed at new users that have likely never flown anything. Imagine if cars were sold in the same way without you needing lessons and to pass a test. Youd just buy a car get the keys and a link to the drivers manual without ever driving one before, then if it was gps driven you would rely entirely on the gps to do the driving for you. But if it lost signal you'd be doing 100 on the freeway with no idea how to really drive the car still, I can imagine there would be a lot of driveways in this case lol.

Luckily with cars you need to learn to drive under supervision and get a licence but not with a phantom, I was told to make sure I watch all the videos and read the manual a couple times. Id flown other rc heli's and such but never a quad or anything with gps and so many flashing lights telling me different things. Reading the manual was information overload and it wasn't until id watched all the videos and had a couple basic test flights that I actually understood everything in the manual.
 
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Mine's nototious by now.

First flyaway ended up in Lake Ontario. Got it back after spending $100 for a SCUBA diver to go get it. Saved the props, and the GoPro works, although it has some spots in the lens that won't go away.

Here is the second one documented

http://youtu.be/dLRwOeeHdlg


This is a demonstration of what happens when a DJI Phantom suddenly looses it's control, and heads off. It's referred to as a Fly-Away because the Phantom just heads off in what ever direction it wants. Typically, it fly's as far as it's battery lasts, or until it hits something.

I lost one about 8 weeks ago, when this happened and it hit Lake Ontario in Canada, and sank. It cost me about $1,500.00.

This is my second unit, and on a windless morning, I decided to test a new Neutral Density filter. After about 1 minute of flight, the Phantom just headed off on it;s own.

I took the following steps

1. Did a pre-flight. Everything was OK

2. Got the 16 LED flash confirmation it knew where home was

3. Got just green LEDs indicating more than 5 GPS satellites.

4. Tried to get control with the throttle and the pitch and yaw. No response.

5. Turned off the transmitter, which is suppose to tell the Phantom to Return to Home - your launching point. Yes, I had the 16 green LED flashes before take off, and yes, I had just green LED's indicating 5 or more GPS satellites.

Fortunately, it headed for a golf course, and then hit a tree gently, causing it to fall to the ground.

Check out the video. Please help me make this video Viral in the DJI user community.

DJI doesn't seem to want to admit this issue and it is costing users thousands of dollars to replace cameras, the Phantom, and other accessories. Please send the link to this video to everyone you know who uses DJI gear. Your dealer, your flying club, your friends. Let's make this issue big enough that DJI takes Financial Responsibility and that they fix this issue.

Thanks

Darren Kelly,
CameraGuyTV
http://www.cameraguytv.com
http://www.dbkcreative.com
http://www.youtube.com/dbkcreative
 
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I think a better survey, how about people posting how many time the RTH saved them from losing their Phantom... Bet more people have recovered theirs, than the actual amount lost from flyaways.
 

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