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Published on Nov 22, 2015
This 8 min clip shows the end of my second day of flying when I nearly lost my new £1,000 quadcopter for good (and possibly crashed it on the M25) when I stupidly went to 120m on a windy day...and lost control.
I had already been flying about 20 minutes and was nearly at 50% on my second battery. The sun had come out so I decided to push my P3P to 120m. The view was stunning but I didn't realise that as it rose, the wind had started to push the copter downwind.
I have put notes on the video to say what I did when. At the end I put a few notes on lessons learnt. I have repeated them below. Please feel free to add comments that I can then add to this list.
So lessons from this test (flight day number 2):
1. On flight 1, play with the flights controls but also play with the RTH feature and how it responds. See how to change this on the DJI app mid flight. Try it a few times and use all your battery/flight time if necessary as this saved me here.
2. Respect the wind. The Phantom is remarkably stable but it is not powerful enough to overcome a constant stiff breeze. DJI advise not to fly in windy conditions. This video shows why.
3. Buy and use rotor blade protectors whilst learning to fly. The initial impact on this crash was on the rotor blade protectors hitting a brick wall before the coptor blades hit the wall and flipped the entire machine onto the ground. The legs of the coptor (and the £1000 copter itself) were undamaged as the crash was absorbed by the £20 protectors.
4. Respect the wind (have I said that already?) I set up with the wind blowing towards houses which were over 300m away. I thought this was sufficient but in these windy conditions, it was not far enough. And take note of the wind speed AND direction. Ask yourself, if the wind takes my copter, where can I bring it down safely DOWNWIND of me?
5. Don't get cocky. I so wanted to see the view from 120m (500ft). I nearly lost the copter and who knows what damage it might have caused.
6. Online advice recommends landing at about 50% the first few flights to help the battery life. Set this on the DJI app BUT be aware of setting a high 'critical' battery level as this kicks in the automatic landing procedure. Maybe not such a good idea to set this too high.
7. RTH was a life saver here. However, I forgot that with RTH on and when bringing it down on the street, the feature has a set horizontal speed (not sure what this is though). Above the roof line, the copter seemed to be stable but as I brought it down, the wind disappeared and it accelerated...hence the crash.
8. Have fun. In the end I was lucky as the only thing damaged was a pair of blade protectors and one blade. This flight was too stressful.