Dry Box

Warning: I’m a Killer on the Run!

I feel like a murderer! I killed my Mavic drone. Well, I drove it to suicide would probably be a bit more accurate. And in the process of killing it, I learned a new thing.

I was getting good at flying it. I was careful: very careful. I was getting to the point I could make it go exactly where I wanted it to go and move smoothly for controlled shoots. I decided to be bold and brave and took it on a flight into the woods, under a tree canopy. It was very windy, but this baby is stable—crazy stable when it has good GPS signals. It did.

What I hadn’t counted on was that wind significantly shortens battery life—significantly. After a rather short flight it signaled me that it’s battery was running low, and I turned it around, and we headed out of the woods. We were 3 – 5 feet at the most from being out of the woods, literally and figuratively. We were at the very edge of the woods, on a bridge that leads into the field where the flight started.

The view going into the woods from the field
The view going into the woods from the field

At that point the drone told me it had just enough battery life to return to home. I thought I would get the next few feet, but it stopped responding to me as it went into “RTH mode.” When it kicks into return to home mode (RTH) if goes up a 100 feet or so, to clear any obstacles (such as trees), and then it heads to the place from which it was launched. It then lands itself. In this way you don’t lose your drone.

I had been flying it close to the ground because we were under a tree canopy.

Looking up into the tree canopy
Looking up into the tree canopy

And when it went up, it went up directly into the tree/brush canopy. No!! It crashed into the branches of the very last tree at the edge of the woods.

It hit these which sent it out of control
It hit these which sent it out of control

This would not have been too big a deal. I would have just swapped out the damaged propellers, but…

Damaged Propellers
Damaged Propellers

I was on a little bridge crossing a tiny stream. It landed upside down in the water! No! Not water!!

The tiniest of streams, and it lands here!
The tiniest of streams, and it lands here!

I took it home. I cleaned it very carefully. I read all kinds of success stories about how it can survive being in water for hours, etc., and what to do. I put it in a dry box for a full 3 days.

Dry Box
In its dry box for a full 3 days

When I took it out, it booted up, but the camera gimbal said it was blocked. It wasn’t. I read about how to fix that. In the process of re-calibrating the gimbal, the drone made a small electrical explosion sound and a big puff of gray smoke came out of it.

O goodness! Dead.

I returned it to DJI for repair. Totally fried. Obviously this damage was not under warranty, and the repair cost would have been greater than replacement cost. This time I ordered the insurance with it!

I’ve taken to wandering aimlessly around the house singing my own rendition (modernization) of Queen’s Bicycle Race song:

I want to fly my bicycle;
I want to ride my drone…