DJI F550 Hexacopter crash after flight above the clouds



— PLEASE READ ALL INFO BELOW BEFORE POSTING! —

I planned to perform a short GPS controlled high altitude flight, going straight up, and then straight down again.

When initating the descent, something did not work out as expected, and less than ten minutes later the hexacopter crashed because the failed descent attempts had drained the battery.

Technical explanation to what actually happened:

The GPS mode prioritized staying in place over descending. The winds were so strong that the engines had to work hard to keep the multirotor in place. When I told the multirotor to descend it basically said “I’m afraid I can’t do that, because you told me to stay in this position, and if I slow down the motors to descend, I would also start moving sideways with the wind”. The solution was to disengage the GPS mode.

Important background information:

This video depicts a very dangerous situation that could have ended up much worse than it actually did.

I was very lucky not to cause any damage on the ground to either living beings or property.

I am not proud of this particular flight, and my main reason for putting the video on YouTube is to inform others and hopefully help them avoid making the same mistake(s) I did.

My arguments for performing a high altitude flight at all were as follows:
– No airplanes in this area ever fly as low as I did in the video
– There is generally not much air traffic in this area at all
– I checked with flightradar24.com before flying
– Military, police, and emergency flights are virtually non-existant in this area
– The multirotor was supposed to go straight up and straight down again

Knowing all of this, I still realize it was a mistake flying that high, especially on this particular occasion. The wind on the ground was not very strong, but higher up, the wind was so strong that the hexacopter had to struggle to stay in position. When I started descending, the hexacopter did not seem to respond to my command, and the only way to make it respond was to disconnect the GPS mode. It then started descending, but it also started moving away with the wind.

Facts to be noted before commenting on the video:

I DO NOT PERFORM HIGH ALTITUDE FLIGHTS ANYMORE, NOR DO I FLY OVER POPULATED AREAS. Hence, it is unnecessary to ask me to stop flying like I did in the video, since it definitely won’t happen again anyway. The crash was a harsh wakeup call that totally made me rethink my attitude towards multirotor flying, and I realize now that high altitude flights and flights over populated areas are way too risky and dangerous.

THE MULTIROTOR DID NOT CAUSE ANY DAMAGE ON THE GROUND, TO EITHER PEOPLE, ANIMALS, OR PROPERTY. Having said this, I am fully aware that something disastrous could have happened, and there is no need to keep reminding me about that fact.

I WAS CONFIDENT THAT THE MULTIROTOR WOULD AUTOMATICALLY PERFORM A CONTROLLED LANDING IF THE BATTERY LEVEL REACHED ITS SPECIFIED MINIMUM. After reading the documentation, I felt reassured knowing that I had specified two battery level limits, where the second (lowest) limit, if reached, would initiate a forced automatic landing. Apparently this never happened, so this was either a misunderstanding on my behalf, or unclear documentation, or a combination of both.

Also, I do not live in the US, so the FAA will probably not be too interested in this flight.

My advice to any and all multirotor flyers out there: Never ever take any unnecessary risks. It is never worth it. I got away with it this time, but I could as well have ended up hurting or even killing someone on the ground.

Equipment:
– Frame: DJI F550
– Gyro: DJI Naza v2 with GPS
– Gimbal: DJI Zenmuse H3-2D
– Camera: GoPro Hero3, Black Edition
– Radio: Futaba T14SG with receiver R7008SB
– Battery: Li-Po 4S (14.8V), 6200 mAh
– Motors: Stock F550 (DJI 2212/920)
– Esc: Stock F550 (DJI ESC 30 amps OPTO)
– Propellers: Stock DJI 10″

36 Replies to “DJI F550 Hexacopter crash after flight above the clouds”

  1. Stephen Varney

    Its GOOD that you dont live in the USA, one irresponsible person, do you really think you have to fly that high to have fun. What about other people's fun, take their fin away from them. That's exactly WHY the FAA is cracking down on drone flyers so hard. WHY dont you think before you fly, you aren't center of the universe

  2. R. R.

    Interesting video. I have always thought that drones should be equipped with an emergency parachute in cases like this. Once the drone loses control and at a minimum required battery level the parachute would be ejected automatically for a safer descend to ground. I don't think it would be too much of a difficulty to add such safety parachute to drones. Perhaps one day drones will include such thing.

  3. Homere Lesperance

    Wow, I'm amazed how high up that drone can go up in the sky along with good live video feed and recording. 🤯 Now six years later there are drones today in the market that can go up in the sky at 2,000 meters (6,561.68 feet or 1.24 miles) or more! 😱🤪🤯💭 What you did was very risky and unsafe to commercial air traffic and to people on residential ground, including yourself. I know that people with drones, RC planes and such have a curiosity of how high they want to take their RC aircraft up into the sky but when you, anyone or anybody that operate a flying control aircraft above residential airspace or any airspace (other than inside your home or apartment, lol) should follow the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), State Laws, parks, beach and or City / Town Ordinances, rules or laws. If not, laws will get even more stricter for people who operate drones or any RC flying aircrafts. I never operate a RC flying aircraft in my life even though I wanted to ever since I was a kid. Now that I'm a grown man in my mid 40's, I have recently ordered a drone online a few days ago and I'm looking forward to operating one but if people like you keep on violating FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or any official authority rules, there won't easily be access to own or operate a drone just about anyplace in the USA because the law will have had enough of the recklessness and shenanigans of irresponsible drone operators who violated the rules and will impose stricter laws against drone or RC flying operators or call for a ban of drones in the USA. There are certain time and place for RC hobbyist or operators to operate their RC aircraft at high altitude. An example is rocket hobbyists who operate their rocketry at certain locations and at certain heights abiding to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and other official law rules and regulations. All you need to do is your own research about founding out the rules, laws, restrictions and or regulations on flying a drone or any RC control aircraft's on or where and when you could or may operate a drone on certain heights on certain location at certain times on certain airspace if possible. Laws are set in place for a reason to keep order and safety to all. So I hope this is a learning experience to everybody that if anyone or anybody don't follow or abide by the rules, he, she or they are gonna be held accountable for their actions and pay the consequences. Peace to everybody around the globe with love, happiness, good health, stay safe, keep 6 feet of social distance, wash your hands, wear protective face mask in public and hopefully we'll conquer covid-19 or the coronavirus so the economy could get back to full swing and everybody could breath a bit better. 😷🙂

  4. BlizzY Animation

    Hey it’s ok I just got a 4,000 dja drone and one of my friends was flying it and the battery was low I told him to bring it down he did but then the battery died and it crashed braking everything inside of it and the two legs at the bottom

  5. Curvy Shrine

    I hope you realize that a collision with that thing into a commercial airliner might cost the lives of potentially hundreds of people, regardless of you having lost control of it, and it could've crashed onto someone's head too. I don't know about you but I wouldn't want either of that on my conscience. It's nice that you got 12M views on this video but frankly speaking this is totally irresponsible! If you need a license to fly that thing then I hope they revoked it.

  6. Test Account

    For the love of god why the hell did you post this. You give the faa/caa/what ever all the ammunition they required to destroy this hobby. this is the reason why my 130g drone is now has to be registered and i need a license. You clearly getting close to the limit of the battery when you decided to bring it in to land leaving nothing left for any problems, which is stupid when you a flying over residential areas.

  7. Nick Harris

    I work in aviation full time, so that is the perspective I am viewing this from. We regularly fly at altitudes a drone can reach for one reason or another. Specifically when doing recon prior to a landing or while landing and taking off. In a medivac helicopter we usually cruise around 2500'. There is no way you would be able to tell if you are in the flight path of any aircraft at that altitude. The damage you would cause to an aircraft is most likely catastrophic and quite possibly deadly. This is completely irresponsible and dangerous. You need to think about other people. You're welcome to do dumb shit when you can't hurt anyone else, but putting people like me and my co workers in danger because you're too stupid to realize the danger here is completely unacceptable. You're a moron that has no business flying drones. I hope the FAA gets ahold of you.

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