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Pumpkin crash!

Aerodrone1

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I was proudly showing a few friends what an amazing piece of techno wizardry my XSP is and they were quite impressed - right up until the time it crashed into a tree when returning from a short waypoint mission. What has me puzzled is the RTH altitude was set to 150' and the tree it crashed into was maybe 70' tall. The aircraft should have been well above the trees as it was returning home. With a sickening crunch it hit the tree and fought to right itself while tumbling through the tree limbs. It fell to the ground and landed upside down. The camera was ripped from the gimbal and was nowhere to be found. Anyone have a guess as to why it was flying well below its assigned altitude?
 
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slimjimtell

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Remember that the RTH height is always set from the home point.

Several things...
So, if the base of that tree was on a mountain 80 feet above the home point PLUS the 70 foot tree, that would be 150 feet.

Or, your waypoint mission was set below 150 feet?

Just a couple of thoughts.
 

GA-XSP-Pilot

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Did it RTH because it was low on battery (aborted waypoint mission) or did you select "Go Home" as the action to perform at the end of the mission? I've noticed that mine does not climb to the RTH "failsafe" altitude when "Go Home" is chosen - it stays at the altitude of the last waypoint. I always make my last waypoint close to home and set the altitude accordingly if I want it to come home at the end of the mission and there could be obstacles between the flying area and home...exactly for that reason.
 

Aerodrone1

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Remember that the RTH height is always set from the home point.

Several things...
So, if the base of that tree was on a mountain 80 feet above the home point PLUS the 70 foot tree, that would be 150 feet.

Or, your waypoint mission was set below 150 feet?

Just a couple of thoughts.
I'm in middle Georgia so we don't have very much rapidly rising terrain. The tree was not more than 100 yards or so from the home point. But I see your point as to how rising terrain could cause a problem.
 

Aerodrone1

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Did it RTH because it was low on battery (aborted waypoint mission) or did you select "Go Home" as the action to perform at the end of the mission? I've noticed that mine does not climb to the RTH "failsafe" altitude when "Go Home" is chosen - it stays at the altitude of the last waypoint. I always make my last waypoint close to home and set the altitude accordingly if I want it to come home at the end of the mission and there could be obstacles between the flying area and home...exactly for that reason.

It was set to RTH at the completion of the mission which was 150'. There was about 16 minutes of battery life.
 

DroneDriver

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I was proudly showing a few friends what an amazing piece of techno wizardry my XSP is and they were quite impressed - right up until the time it crashed into a tree when returning from a short waypoint mission. What has me puzzled is the RTH altitude was set to 150' and the tree it crashed into was maybe 70' tall. The aircraft should have been well above the trees as it was returning home. With a sickening crunch it hit the tree and fought to right itself while tumbling through the tree limbs. It fell to the ground and landed upside down. The camera was ripped from the gimbal and was nowhere to be found. Anyone have a guess as to why it was flying well below its assigned altitude?

Sorry to hear about your loss. Any luck on finding the camera and gimbal unit? Must be close to, if not up in the tree somewhere. As for the aircraft hull, what kind of damage are you looking at? Insurance?
 

Aerodrone1

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Sorry to hear about your loss. Any luck on finding the camera and gimbal unit? Must be close to, if not up in the tree somewhere. As for the aircraft hull, what kind of damage are you looking at? Insurance?

Thanks Drone Driver. Luckily the aircraft was pretty much unscathed, save for a few scuffs that came off pretty easily. Apparently it's a tough bird. The gimbal was still attached, the camera was torn from the gimbal. I conducted a post crash test flight today and all seems fine, the pumpkin flew normally. Autel has asked me to ship it to them so they can pull the flight data to determine what went wrong. Autel customer support rocks!!
 

LuvMyTJ

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If nothing has changed... the drone will head off to the first point while gaining altitude, it will lose altitude as completes the last waypoint and is heading to home. Always set the first and last waypoint over the homepoint so it maintains the altitude you expect it to.
 

Aerodrone1

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Now here are a couple questions leading up to the $10,000 question that will stimulate some discussion...
  1. Were you operating under part 107?
  2. Is this considered a fly away or flight control malfunction?
If so, would you have to notify NTSB after this crash?
Drone Crash-What Do I Do After I Crash My Drone? - Drone Law Attorney Services - Rupprecht Law, PA

Good questions. I am Part 107 certified but it wasn't a revenue flight. Just showing some friends what it can do do. Also there was no damage except for the camera. The only injuries were my pride and a scratches from briars as I retrieved the pumpkin.
 

Aerodrone1

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If nothing has changed... the drone will head off to the first point while gaining altitude, it will lose altitude as completes the last waypoint and is heading to home. Always set the first and last waypoint over the homepoint so it maintains the altitude you expect it to.
I wasn't aware the drone begins its descent on the return leg. I thought it maintained assigned altitude until over the home point and then began descending.
 

Aerodrone1

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Packed up the pumpkin today for the long journey to the good folks at Autel. They promised to get to the bottom of what happened and caused the crash. It flies just as well as it always has, just need the camera replaced. Hopefully Autel will replace it under warranty.
 

Aerodrone1

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Well the fine folks at Autel have decided there was no malfunction that caused my pumpkin to fly into a tree. I agree, if TJ is correct in saying the aircraft begins its descent on the RTH leg. My argument with Autel is that nowhere in the section on waypoint flight does the manual mention the descent begins on the return leg and the last waypoint should be at or near the home point so that the aircraft remains at the assigned altitude. So....they're saying I have to pay full price for the camera/gimbal ($349) plus $30 labor. I asked if they would at least offer a reduced price on the camera but they said it was not possible in this case. I'm willing to take some, but not all, the blame for the crash. I'm disappointed they are not willing to work with me on the cost of the camera.

So, keep in mind that you need to monitor the altitude or set the last waypoint over the home point.
 

xspwhite

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Was that the only thing broke? Camera and gimble? So they want to charge $30.00 to snap the new camera and gimble in to place?

I would go back to that crash site, and find that camera. Borrow a metal detector or buy a cheap one if that's what it takes.
 
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Aerodrone1

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Yes, the camera was torn from the gimbal. I'm pretty sure it can't be put back from the way it appeared. I think the gimbal itself is ok, I just need a new camera mated up to it.

I guess part of the charge was to pull the flight log.

I and a couple other guys searched pretty extensively for the camera. Again, I don't think it can be salvaged but I wanted the SD card.
 

xspwhite

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The camera connects to the gimble with the little wire strap and the two plastic peg locks. If you find the camera there is a good chance it might be ok.
 

Aerodrone1

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The camera connects to the gimble with the little wire strap and the two plastic peg locks. If you find the camera there is a good chance it might be ok.
The camera was torn from the plate it mounts on, leaving a small hole with wires protruding. Also a ribbon cable was dangling so that part is probably toast. Autel has emailed saying they've looked at it again and can repair it for $200. I told them to proceed.
 

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