Lost drone high winds Melbourne, Aus

Jul 5, 2018
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Hi All,
This is my first post and one I am not proud to be writing.
I know I'll probably cop some flack for this, but I am beside myself and it was a large learning curve.
I flew my drone yesterday in high winds, obviously too high for the drone.
I took it out and up and all of a sudden it was sucked away from me and was no chance of returning despite attempting to lower it and bring it home.
I have uploaded my flight log I was just wondering if someone could let me know how to read this.
Is the location of the drone likely at the last point, if so it looks to ,maybe be in a clearing and still there, or would it have carried a lot further?
Any help would be hugely appreciated.


Sep 19, 2016
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Just to add, this is the point I am referring to above.
For others, here's the link to the uploaded flight log. The first thing I notice is that the RTH is set at 500m... It was trying to RTH at that point and was just struggling to ascend to the RTH height, let alone to actually return home. As it was heading upwards, this increases the possible area that it eventually landed/crashed within.

DJI Flight Log Viewer - PhantomHelp.com
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Staff member
Jan 8, 2014
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I flew my drone yesterday in high winds, obviously too high for the drone.
I took it out and up and all of a sudden it was sucked away from me and was no chance of returning despite attempting to lower it and bring it home.
Some of us know the pain of losing a Phantom.
There's no need to give you a hard time, you've suffered enough.
This sort of event is a great learning experience - but it comes at a price.

So here are a few points to learn from this incident.

Before takeoff, there are two points of interest.
The battery is at 78% and 4.0 volts per cell.
Launching with a battery that is partly discharged is something to avoid.
The % indicator will give a false reading and the voltage will drop faster than you expect.
Once it reaches 3.3V per cell, it's all over.

The RTH height is much too high.
You only need it to be high enough to clear obstacles that may be between you and where the Phantom ends up.
If your Phantom has to climb to 500 metres before coming home, it's wasting battery and time that you may not have as well as putting the Phantom much higher than you want for aviation safety and strong wind issues.

After launch you used only the left stick for 11 seconds but the Phantom had already drifted 5 metres from home when it should have been holding position.
This is a clue that the low-level wind is stronger than the Phantom can fight and should be a cue to bring it back before it goes further.
At 0:11 and 25 metres, you started to use the right stick.
Unfortunately you fly to the south which is the direction the wind is blowing towards.
In a strong wind, NEVER FLY AWAY DOWNWIND.
You are forcing the Phantom to have a real battle against a headwind to come home.

At 27 secs you took your hands off the sticks.
The Phantom was 65 metres away and 26 metres high.
At 55.8 secs, the Phantom has drifted to 54 metres away and alarm bells should be ringing.
By 1:10.7 you have brought it back to 45 metres (and climbed to 37 metres) but then you fly away again.
In a strong wind situation you always need to be aware that the wind will always be stronger up higher.
To avoid the strongest winds, get down lower.

At 1:33 you are flying away at full speed.
At 1:53.1 you let go of the right stick and turn the Phantom.
It's now 250 metres away and drifting at 2-3 metres per second while it's trying to hold position.

You fly back to 107 metres at 2:49 and then release the sticks at 3:34 (360 metres)
At 3:37.8 You initiate RTH which causes the Phantom to climb (into an even higher wind strength !!)
RTH is a lazy flyer and only flies at 10 m/s while you can fly at 16 m/s when you are driving.
Leaving RTH to do the driving against a strong wind is a losing strategy.
So is going

You started to bring it down once it reached 326 metres high but it's drifting away at 3 m/s while it's trying to come home at 10 m/s
You still wenhands off except for bring it down to 107 metres and the signal was lost at 7:27 with the Phantom 873 metres away and going further.
Battery is now showing 39% and 3.6V per cell.
The phantom will have drifted until it reached critical low battery level and autolanded.
Hard to say how much further away that was.

Some lessons from this.
Set RTH to an appropriate height.
Never fly away downwind in a strong wind.
Flying away upwind will be slow but you'll come home easily.
If caught in a strong wind situation, get the Phantom down lower where the wind is less.
Never leave RTH to do the driving in a strong headwind situation.
Once the Phantom is pointing toward you, kill RTH and push the right stick full forward.
May 20, 2015
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Pacific,NorthWet, 97031
Welcome to the Forum!

Ouch, first post.
Yeah, that sucks, yours looks like it would be easier to find then mine. (Long Story)

It looks that it was flying at -5 mph to the South, if you were to compare your battery percentages like 40% to 30% while it was struggling on RTH, figure the time it would take to hit the critical landing around 10%. and drifting at the 5 mph.

7m 21.9 s 40%
7m 27.6 s 39%

The only problem is we don't have enough data on the last RTH. not even a full 1%.
Partial at 40% to 39%.


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