DJI Spark Flyaway (Bye Bye Sparky)



I put my DJI Spark up three times on my wedding day to get a couple of overhead shots of the group. On the third flight the Spark malfunctioned, took off and flew away. A DJI Spark flyaway! The day after our wedding the attention turned to “operation drone finder” and the search for Sparky.

Want to know all the juicy bits of what happened next? Part two of the story is here –

My Gear:
The “heavy hauler” camera bag –
The “flexible & functional” camera bag –
The drone –
My big SLR camera –
Main on-the-go video shooter –
The wide Canon lens –
Favourite small video camera –
My lavalier microphone –
The big microphone –
The audio recorder –
Favorite action camera –
My smartphone gimbal –
Current GoPro gimbal –
The travel tripod –
My go-anywhere tripod –
Favourite SD/CF card reader –
My go-to mobile battery –

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#DJISpark #flyaway #footage

47 Replies to “DJI Spark Flyaway (Bye Bye Sparky)”

  1. Adam W

    This just happened to me. All I was doing was showing a friend, had it maybe 30 ft off the ground and it just took off. All I could do was watch the video feed until it lost signal.

  2. Shane Barker

    Hi Steve – just bought the spark – here in South Africa- I’m hoping you could answer just 1 of my questions please – when you have your iPhone connected to the remote controller and the drone – is the OTG cable mandatory or just an option – cheers Shane

  3. James’ Drones and Aviation

    Some tips:Always keep compass and imu calibrates. Check for at least 8 satellites. Obey all warnings. Go home on 25%. Change to 5.8 ghz if necessary. 2.4ghz is not worth it. Set signal mode to auto and don’t fly in areas with a bunch of interference. Consider a tracking device or a beeper and and/or a beacon.

  4. Karl Neumann

    Was find my drone on the app available at that time?? If so you should have used it..happened to me but that feature saved me. Anyways love your videos and would also be my number 1 go to fellow spark flyer to lear tips and tricks on youtube.

  5. glenesis

    I think you just talked me into buying Tiles for my Bebops. I marked the front with bright neon orange gaffers tape for orientation purposes, but as an added bonus it made it easy to find when it did go down in tall grass. Now I've placed strips of that tape all over the thing. Next I'll invest in some Tiles.

    I'm so sorry you've lost your little Sparky, Steve. I'd only just met him. My deepest sympathy. I hope he turns up well and soon! Cheers -Glenn

  6. Mohammad Syawal

    Is that possible if we don't change wifi password on RC and Aircraft(let them default password) spark can fly away?(maybe someone near there below hack our aircraft because we don't change wifi password?)

  7. Flying 4 Film

    I'm sorry you lost your Spark. Mine went crazy on the third day I had it and took off over lake Michigan. Luckily I was able to get control of it before it hit the water. Since then, I've been a little nervous when I fly it.

  8. dvrapant

    I'd just like to say sorry about you losing your drone. That sucks. I lost a Parrot Bebop to a monstrous Doug fir in Oregon. Could see myself on the ground via video but could never see it up in the tree. This tree was so huge there was no retrieving it anyways. I was looking for a skin for my Spark and I noticed a lot of camo skins. Just want to say…..bad idea. Good luck finding a camo drone in the woods. That goes for pretty much all the camo stuff these days. Do I really want my knife camo so I can't find it if I drop it In the grass? Jus sayin.

  9. n g

    Did you ever find your spark? You should of used the go4 app logs and google satellite map using longitude n latitude to find its last location and got a general idea where it landed before battery went dead. Might still be able to find it.

  10. Scott Cooper

    I just ordered a Spark and partly because of this video, I ordered it in "Lava Red". And I intend to put a strip of white reflective tape on the top. The kind that glows when you shine a light on it at night. I figure that way, if I have a flyaway happen to me, my chances of finding it might be a little better.

  11. Katchutravels Dot Com

    So sad to hear about your loss. I tried flying mine on a railway track yesterday and it flew out of control. I tried controlling it for a bit to keep it straight and higher so that it does not bang into an object somewhere like apartment buildings and electric lamp posts. But yes, after a few moments of scary flying, I was able to find a moment with less wind and brought the drone down. 3.26 tense minutes, but alls well that ends well

  12. B Drones

    Hey man my heart goes out to you and your wife I have been contemplating buying a drone for weeks and Father’s Day is coming and that might be the one I’m gonna grab great effort on trying to find it but I feel your pain

  13. Ian Rice

    Heart breaking! I know how much we love our drones! My gimbal stopped working on my p3se after 5 months out of no where. I know how you feel And that feeling sucks! You were getting such amazing shots with your spark!! Hope you got a new drone at this point.

  14. Bill Somrak

    One thing your viewers should be aware of if the tend to use TRIPOD mode to get more cinematic shots. Should your Spark lose good GPS lock or GPS signal quality while in Tripod mode, where you can have the pitch stick full fwd. and only be going 2.5 mph, you will get a nasty surprise .. one I experienced. I was flying low and slow over a creek in a walled valley. I took off with 9GPS satellites, and was in P-GPS mode, and switched to Tripod to fly over the creek. When I got about 200 ft. away, I got a "Warning: Weak GPS signal. Fly with caution." I heard the announcement more than saw it as I was flying LOS (line of sight) at the time. In a matter of 2 SECONDS after the warning, the Spark switched from Tripod mode into ATTI mode, and with my pitch stick still full FWD., it shot straight into the canyon wall (about 10 ft away) at 21 mph, then wound up in 2 inches of water. I retrieved it and dried it out and everything worked, except for the gimbal PITCH (roll was okay). Sent it to DJI, but the will NOT "Repair" a Spark .. they will only Replace it, and since this was deemed "Pilot Error" (for ignoring a warning which took effect in 2 seconds), they at 1st wanted to charge me $400 for a NEW Spark, which would only have the remainder of my original Spark warranty (2 months). I asked how they could charge that, when they are selling Factory Refurbished units in their online store with a full 1 yr. warranty for $279? I also found that I could buy a OEM Spark Gimbal on eBay for $130, and I'm sure that it probably costs DJI perhaps $50. So, BE CAREFUL when flying in Tripod mode .. be sure you have good quality GPS signals or you may get a nasty surprise. Also, be aware that DJI is NOT interested in REPAIRING Sparks (probably don't want to bother with an entry level quadcopter). They will sell you a factory refurb, which is probably your best bet if you want to continue using the Spark. Now that the Mavic Air has been released, my advice would be to avoid the Spark and go for the Mavic Air, which is 10x the quad the Spark is. If you're interested in seeing the video of my Spark's crash into the valley wall, go to my YT channel (see my name) and in my video list look for "Spark – Disaster at Hell Hollow". Hope this info is of use to your viewers.

  15. Rick Morton

    I now calibrate the compass EVERY time I fly. My Spark took off once, too. I think it was compass calibration vs. GPS instructions. Got mine back that time, but it happened again on a vacation trip in Maine and took off into the trees. CALIBRATE to be safe! Thanks for your vids.

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