P3P First Crash - My Fault, I am an idiot!

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Well, it had to happen. With 3 and a half hours flying time on the P3P over 33,728 meters as well as even more hours on my previous Phantom P2V+ and Phantom P2 H3-2D birds, I stuffed up.

After a good flight, I hit RTH and it came back as it was supposed to. I took over control for the landing - as I almost always do, and made the fatal mistake of landing while viewing through the Pilot app on the iPad instead of visually. The P3P clipped a tree branch from about 5 meters up then fell to the ground on a gravel path. I managed to stop the motors OK.

Damage: 2 of 4 props broken, upper shell separated in several places (gaps and bends), Gimbal mount (where it screws onto the P3P bottom shell had snapped one corner off which was still attached to the gimbal. The gimbal itself was hanging loosely with the 2 sets of cables disconnected. The 8 pin cable was ripped out of the socket with the pins still attached to the ends of the 8 wires and the 6 pin plug snapped with half of it still stick in the socket.

My heart sank and hopes faded. But then I just started working on it bit by bit. I removed the remainder of the gimbal mount from the phantom base, removed the remaining rubber dampers from the gimbal, as well as the broken piece of gimbal mount. I glued the broken piece back onto the rest of the mount. I removed the retaining pins and the old dampers from the gimbal and replaced them. I then re-inserted each of the 8 wires back into the plug and pushed them in as far as I could with a small pair of tweezers. I then used the tweezers to remove the broken part of the 6 pin plug from the socket and glued it back onto the rest of the plug.

Next I removed the upper shell (slightly more difficult than the P2V+ due to retaining lugs inside the shell and different screws etc). I was able to then reposition it, make a couple of small bends and then re-attach it to the bottom shell. It is attached securely now however you can still see a couple of areas where the shell parts don't quite join together as they should.

I checked the battery and apart from needing a charge, it was fine.

I finished reconnecting and checking the gimbal and all appeared to be OK (no power on yet).

Then I did the power on, recalibrated IMU and Gimbal. Tested the motors worked OK (with the props off) and it all seemed to be working OK. So on with the props, went outside, recalibrated the compass, double checked all the data from within the app, took a deep breath and lifted off. She flew perfectly.... I was amazed but still pretty stoked at the resilience of this little craft.

Lesson learnt - always perform a visual landing :)
 
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Welcome to the club crawf! Glad it all worked out, after a fashion.

My top gimbal plate is still happily running on superglue and a couple of the arm screws screw into broken plastic sheaths (i.e. aren't really screwed in) until replacements are available for those items locally, but she's flying fine after a similar incident on my first flight. No incidents since.
 
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Gimbal saver from Killer RC....
Yep! Had one on the P2V+ and thankfully never needed it. Just placed and order for the P3 version.... thanks edonovanl for the prompt :)
 
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With the phantom or the gimbal saver?

Sorry to hear about the crash but glad you're not hear broken and flight-less. You guys must not have a lot of flying space around or are very brave to be flying near trees buildings out of sight and through the monitor.

My phantom keeps me in check with disconnect and low signal warnings every other flight for me to get too complacent
 
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No issues on mine, but I always do a visual landing, and almost never use RTH, don't need it with the tracking line on the map and radar. Flew left seat a lot in UH1H's back in the day and visual checking was a must at all times. Glad you were able to recover from your hard landing, a lesson learned for sure. Only crash I have ever had was my fault, P2 and was forcing it to hover against auto land (low battery) to get a feel for how much it would oppose an over ride, well, I found out when the motors shut off at 10' and gravity took over. A bent arm needing a new shell was the extent of the damage.
 
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> I always do a visual landing, and almost never use RTH

I (a newbie) have a few times started RTH (just to get familiar with it), but then either override it manually or cancel it.
 
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Glad you fixed the Phantom. I crashed my P3A and fixed it with aftermarket parts. It still flies great. The P4, in comparison, appears less "user-repair" friendly. I wonder if it could be repaired so easily after a crash.
 

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