DJI F550 Hexacopter crash after flight above the clouds

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.

00:00 – Ascent
01:09 – Through the clouds
02:20 – Above the clouds
03:10 – Problems start
04:07 – GPS disconnect
04:16 – Slow descent
05:18 – Return To Home activated
06:20 – Manual descent
07:47 – Below the clouds
08:05 – Batteries almost depleted
08:44 – Batteries die
09:12 – Aftermath
09:41 – Crash in slowmotion

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″

50 Comments

  1. Johar Boonman on October 8, 2021 at 8:07 am

    So good of you to explain what happened. Seems like you actually thought everything through according to your description. I am studying for my drone license now and I didn’t understand why, but now I do. Good wake up call.

  2. Me MyName on October 8, 2021 at 8:08 am

    Thank you for all the extra rules and regulations I am forced to comply with, just because some idiots have no respect for the safety of others!

  3. raizdesuenos on October 8, 2021 at 8:08 am

    I don’t know why I enjoyed the video so much. It was so entertaining. Thanks for the upload.

  4. Corbin Flynn on October 8, 2021 at 8:09 am

    throw it in manual mode and put full throttle upside down

  5. Jonathan Falkowsky on October 8, 2021 at 8:10 am

    You are going above the FAAs requirement to fly drones of 400 ft.

  6. tomasz kus on October 8, 2021 at 8:11 am

    This is the video which push me towards my hobby ….drones ….syma xc5….dji phantom 2 v+ v3 ….dji mavic 2 pro
    Thank You 😊

  7. Tahsin Hussain on October 8, 2021 at 8:11 am

    You are still not caught by Police. 8:30 someone could die, if it landed on a child or vulnerable person.

  8. Sms H on October 8, 2021 at 8:11 am

    some modifications were necessary like adding a parachute to your HexaCopter

  9. Gary Funderburk on October 8, 2021 at 8:12 am

    Sorry but I don’t feel sorry for you or your quad copter for being so reckless

  10. J T on October 8, 2021 at 8:12 am

    Luckily no humans were injured or killed by this idiot.
    Please don’t get a real helicopter as you will probably fly it too with low levels of fuel due to your haphazard nature.
    And please don’t respond to me as I have no interest in communicating with you.
    This is just my opinion.

  11. Hearns Band on October 8, 2021 at 8:12 am

    That was awesome! 👏 😎

  12. demierre on October 8, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Du kan väl för fan inte flyga 1000 meter över enskede fältet utan att ha ok från kontrolltornet på Bromma. Detta faller väl under CTR Bromma?! Vidare ser man tydligt att du bor på finska gatan. Inte så smidigt kanske. Aja flyg försiktigt men detta är precis anledningen till att det blir hårdare regler kring detta. Det flyger helikoptrar och passagerarflygplan över området hela dagarna.

  13. Jake Smith on October 8, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Would be nice if drones came equipped with parachutes that would deploy in emergencies

  14. Vibhu Kishan on October 8, 2021 at 8:16 am

    Play this video with Interstellars theme! Your welcome 😊

  15. Beşinci Osmanli Padişahi çelebi mehmed 1 on October 8, 2021 at 8:16 am

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم والحمد الله رب العالمين سبحان الله وبحمده سبحان الله العظيم ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم وأتوب إليه وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأشهد أن محمد رسول ألله صلى الله عليه وسلم

  16. Lachlan's Expeditions on October 8, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Those are some gorgeous shotsan for real!!!!!!

  17. David Morgan on October 8, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Where’s the follow up post with the picture of the drone afterwards, maybe what it looked like where it was found.

  18. igeekw2u on October 8, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Man… Why why why didn’t you check the weather up there beforehand?? Also switch off the motors let it free fall for a second then switch on just to brake, again and again.

  19. Matheus Oliveira on October 8, 2021 at 8:24 am

    São Miguel Quixeramobim Ceará

  20. Jonathan Falkowsky on October 8, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I could imagine this landing in someone’s pool or backyard and having to knock on someone’s door saying you dropped your drone in their yard.

  21. Bruce Lee on October 8, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I just got my drone I fly up too 500 meter still can’t go over cloud still learning I bring back to my country go up the mountain so I can fly over clouds no law rules there

  22. Andrew on October 8, 2021 at 8:30 am

    I’m no FAA bootlicker but there’s a reason the rules they have are in place. Clouds and obstacle avoidance systems don’t mix. If you’re flying without a license at least pay attention to the rules so you don’t lose a bird and hurt people.

  23. Sms H on October 8, 2021 at 8:31 am

    hi, my friend what was the altitude?

  24. Miss me on October 8, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Should have flipped to acro and send it upside down for a fast descent

  25. NAF Drone on October 8, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Pilots also above the clouds: Wow, that bird is fast!..Salam NAF Drone…

  26. Edward Haren on October 8, 2021 at 8:36 am

    I had one go up, was trying to get good shots from cloud level it all of a sudden started south, it got to where I couldn’t see it, camera lost connection I hit the return home and nothing. About 5 minutes later I was still looking up when I heard it, looked around battery was done, I spotted it way the he’ll away and about 300 feet up. I watched it fighting the high winds trying to come home, but it slowly faded away. I felt sad because it was trying so hard to come home. Never got that one back.

  27. Grinning Duck on October 8, 2021 at 8:36 am

    @2:45 what was that circle of light distortion just sitting on that cloud (moves from lower center to bottom left corner)??

  28. Oscar Aviles on October 8, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Ripieces

  29. Agung Armadilo on October 8, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Waawww luar biasa…

  30. Alom on October 8, 2021 at 8:38 am

    P0

  31. Money Falcon on October 8, 2021 at 8:42 am

    As a DJI Mini 2 pilot, I’m sure that the drones have some sort of emergency stop in case of any emergency like motor stalls and more. I do notice the descent speed is really slow as well. That’s really abnormal compared with other drones like some of my friends have which are the Phantom 3 and the Phantom 4. Theirs descend really fast. It’s also the same with my Mini 2 where it would descend at 20km/h in sport mode. I even had flown the drone to approx 950 meters with everything unlocked. It had descended without any flaws. If possible, could your battery be the case? I have seen the battery running out really quickly and am not sure whether the drone is using more power than usual to hover in the same spot due to the insane wind up there. Anyways, this is my opinion. Feel Free to comment below.

    P.S., I know you had said in the desc but don’t fly it really high with low batteries unless you are willing to lose your drone.

  32. Smoking Duck on October 8, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Is that not dangerous?

  33. Anti-Liberal on October 8, 2021 at 8:44 am

    awesome

  34. Mr....420 on October 8, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Shit scares me just looking through the screen..my hands and feet are sweating looking at this..eff heights

  35. Bruce Zar on October 8, 2021 at 8:46 am

    So cool!

  36. Adam Luzier on October 8, 2021 at 8:46 am

    My guess is this flight is before all the FAA rules?

  37. Marian Garcia on October 8, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Nice fligth fly agian

  38. dew12u on October 8, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Wow! Nearly 14 million views as of Sept 14th 2021

  39. powerhousepaperairplanes Rogers on October 8, 2021 at 8:51 am

    That’s sounds of the rotors. Now that’s ASMR for ya lol.

  40. Raph Mat on October 8, 2021 at 8:52 am

    C’est complètement absurde et interdit d’aller voler si haut !

  41. Hf Fr on October 8, 2021 at 8:54 am

    hola amigo solo entiendo español , puedes ablarme en mi idioma asi me interesa saber mas sobre ese DJI y otras cosas al respecto ok, gracias

  42. Matthew Flawless on October 8, 2021 at 8:54 am

    What a beautiful view

  43. Andrew on October 8, 2021 at 8:55 am

    you are the idiots who caused a flood of regulation for every civilian who wants a drone, thanks a lot dumbass

  44. stilgottheblues on October 8, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Actually. I watched with a guilt. Your little pleasure could seriously harm others. I do not know how safe was this fly.

  45. b4 on October 8, 2021 at 8:57 am

    how much is a set up like this radio everything thanks.

  46. alby on October 8, 2021 at 8:58 am

    unbelievably irresponsible selfish and utterly dangerous! it’s because of people like you that drone flyers get a bad reputation and all these new laws and restrictions to govern our hobby, I hope you’re proud proud of your actions….

  47. Tony From Syracuse on October 8, 2021 at 8:59 am

    I knew where it was. when the thing lands it starts spinning in the brush…if you slowed it down frame by frame you could tell it was right next to the creme colored buildings that look like military barracks. so you just go back to where you see them from above at 8:41 and then when you see the angle in relation to the sides of the creme buildings when it lands and technically you could have seen where it went

  48. Quinn B on October 8, 2021 at 8:59 am

    FAA has joined the chat

  49. Luis Ramos on October 8, 2021 at 9:00 am

    What happen?

  50. Mendez Droneops on October 8, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Hey sir just wanted to say thank you… because of this video i bought my self a drone from Dji and I love it 😊 thanks for sharing this with us.

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