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Lost with coordinates available: drone crashed in white mountain national forest, New Hampshire

Discussion in 'Lost and Found' started by GreenTracker, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. GreenTracker

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    I drove from Pittsburgh to New Hampshire and back for my vacation. During which I crashed my drone and made a weak recovery attempt due to my lack of ability to geo locate accurately and me having to abandon the search in order to return back to Pittsburgh for my job.

    I was flying my phantom 3 pro over white mountain forest when the screen stuttered a bit, height restriction kicked in and the drone stopped going up but drifted into a tree. I had video feed of it when it crashed and remained connected until I started hiking up trying to find it. The camera showed that it was on the ground not in a tree branch.

    I made an immediate recovery attempt while I was till connecting to the drone but then it got got dark before I got there (was flying close to sunset). My next attempt I also had to cut short as I mentioned earlier.

    Now I have the actual coordinates (thank you Meta5) and the flight log. Recovering this thing is not undoable but I can't make it there due to work. Is there anyone in that area welling to do it for a cash reward or a simillar arrangement ?

    DJI Flight Log: DJI Flight Log Viewer - PhantomHelp.com
    Screenshot_20170922-175437.jpg Screenshot_20170925-084253.jpg
     
  2. TheJuggler

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    I am due for a vacation in the White Mountains mid-next week. 10/3-10/7
    If you don't have any takers by then, I'd be willing to take a look. I was planning to do some hiking anyway.

    Note: I have very little geocaching experience. Just happened across your thread while researching drone use in WM.

    -Juggler
     
  3. GreenTracker

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    That would be awesome, I'll give you some tips on the hike, its pretty steep, I would go through that river bed. Haven't tried it but maybe easier than going through the forest. Wear long sleeves for them branches!
    P.S. Your timing is awesome, the trees had just started changing colors. You will get done amazing photage!
     
  4. TheJuggler

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    Thanks for the suggestion. Any idea if there is cell reception in that area? I was planning to use my phone (Google Maps) to find the coordinates. I'm not sure how well that functions without a data connection. I'll plan to test it on a couple spots locally before I go.
    I anticipate it will be next Thursday when I first get a chance to look.
     
  5. GreenTracker

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    There is no phone reception, which was part of the problem because I couldn't use the internet to figure out how to use the log files until I left. I would download offline Google maps. The gps fox was only accurate when I had clear skipped above me and is a very wooded area. If you decide too take the dry creek route, which i didn't try, you won't have tree branches blocking your gps
     
  6. Osmosis

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    Question: Is it legal to fly in the NH White Mountain National Forest? I just called their Headquarters (603) 545-9660 to ask if there would be any issues with doing a Fall video and was told that laws prohibit take-off and landings on any of their lands.
     
  7. sar104

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    USFS policy does not prohibit UAV operations in general on non-wilderness land, but much of White Mountain National Forest appears to be designated wilderness, so they would certainly be correct for those areas. For the rest of the National Forest, unless they have put in place unusually restrictive use rules, you should be able to fly.
     
    BigAl07 likes this.
  8. TheJuggler

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    FWIW, I had no issues flying and saw multiple other people flying there.
    When I paid admission to the Lost River Gorge, I also asked at the ticket counter. The manager responded, choosing her words carefully, she indicated that they don't have any policies against it, although it's not usually recommended.(I got the impression they prefer if you don't fly)
    I chose not to fly at Lost River Gorge that day as helicopters were nearby fighting some forest fires, but I flew in other locations around WM.
     
  9. livefreeanddrone

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    Wondering if you ever found it? Am also from NH and might be interested in helping if you still need it?
     
    GreenTracker likes this.
  10. TheJuggler

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    We made 2 unsuccessful attempts. BUT, I think it's completely feasible.

    The first attempt was later in the afternoon and we hiked up the dry creek bed. The 2 main issues with that attempt were that we started too late and the creek bed is full of large boulders. The sun sets on this side about an hour earlier than normal because of the shadow cast by the mountain across the road. It really is fairly steep and the boulders in the creek bed appear as if they are ready to come tumbling down upon you (Indiana Jones style). i swear there are some boulders taller than me perched in place by a small pebble below it. I was scared to crawl over some of them for fear of starting a landslide. We were also unprepared with no backpack or water. It took us about an hour to get to here: (and that's where we turned back)
    Screenshot_20171005-160644.jpg

    The second attempt was the next morning. Instead of the creek bed we opted to just go thru the woods. It honestly seemed easier. I was able to check GPS occasionally by finding small clearings in the trees. It got steep enough that every step forward is a step up. You have to weave back and forth across the hill to find clear enough spaces to continue up. The ground is all large rocks covered with moss and the trees are pretty thick. It would be easy to slip and sprain an ankle. I certainly wouldn't try if the ground was wet. On that attempt we made it within 300 feet. It was that point that my girlfriend got anxious and couldn't go further. It's steep enough that you can turn around and see out thru the trees that you're starting to gain some altitude. She wouldn't go further and I couldn't leave here there alone while I continued. So the biggest hurdle was constantly hearing, "Why are we risking our lives for someone else's drone??" and "There's no cell service here, what if one of us gets hurt??". Assuming the elevation change doesn't get worse in the last 300 feet, I see this hike as no big deal.
    Screenshot_20171006-121805.jpg

    My advice: Bring a buddy, not your girlfriend. Bring some water. Make sure to download the map for use offline; there is no cell service. Wear grippy shoes, long sleeves, and pants; the thicket is prickly.
     
    GreenTracker, bad karma and KentA like this.
  11. AcadiaUAV

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    I just spoke with an officer at one of the White Mountain National Forest district offices.

    He confirmed that the designated Wilderness Areas are off limits to drone use, which the entire internet seems to agree on.

    The part where he mentioned "The entire White Mountain National Forest is off limits to all aircraft landing or taking off", however, had me skeptical.

    He explained that this policy was specific to the WMNF, and does not apply to other National Forests. The restriction is a result of a special order issued (I think) in 2008 that applies to the ENTIRE White Mountain National Forest.

    Though the officer claimed it prohibited all aircraft from landing or taking off, I found the Order on their website, and after reading it for myself, have determined that it only prohibits aircraft from landing in the WMNF.

    Here is a link to the order: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5275804.pdf

    Everywhere else I look on the internet, people claiming to know what they're talking about all think the only drone restrictions in the WMNF are the designated Wilderness Areas. This is clearly not the case, and just goes to show you that you can spend 3 hours looking on the internet to make sure you're following the rules (like I did last night) but a single phone call to a person of authority can enlighten you to the illegalities of your actions. It sucks. I wish this stuff wasn't so complicated.

    Anyways, I'm going to try to find your drone if I ever make it over there, and will certainly let you know if I do so I can return it!
     
    Pharm and BigAl07 like this.
  12. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Welcome to the forum @AcadiaUAV and thank you for this information. It's always good to get "Facts" when possible.
     
    AcadiaUAV likes this.
  13. TheJuggler

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    It is good information, but I still don't see this as black-and-white "off limits".
    As you suggested, per the order, it's only illegal to land an aircraft in WMNF areas. So, technically, you can launch from WMNF.
    The definition of "aircraft" in the context of the document could be debated. Although drones fall under that category according to the FAA, if one were to be on trial for such an act, the judge or jury would have to interpret the meaning with context to the intent of the order. Fortunately, the intent of the order is explained at the bottom of the document, with a key phrase being: "Therefore it is necessary to control unfettered access to the Forest by aircraft unless an emergency landing is required". Since drone flying is not providing "unfettered access", this could provide a drone user wiggle room if it came to a legal battle.
    Obviously, avoiding the legal battle in the first place might be a better plan of action. But I think it's unlikely one would be convicted for such an act, unless they were doing so repeatedly and with malicious intent.
     
    GreenTracker likes this.
  14. Pharm

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    The validity of these regulations notwithstanding, how does any of this help GreenTracker find his Phantom (which was the reason for starting this thread in the first place)?
     
  15. GreenTracker

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    once the snow melts, maybe;)
     
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