Eventful drone flights…

So far my Super 8 drone has been a rather worrisome project! Even the little Canon 514XL camera is really too much weight for my old Phantom 3 Pro… So far I have done 6 short flights with it

Flight 1 = I got it airborne and landed ok

Flight 2 = I got it airborne, but then had a forced rapid landing with the drone reporting the battery did not have enough power.

Flight 3 = I got it in the air, having swapped batteries and set the 10 second timer going. I managed to take off, and get it pointed out towards the ocean view in time for the ten seconds of Super 8 to roll… Then managed to land it ok, very gently into longish grass. The weight of the camera below it meant the drone didnt tip over & shred grass…

Flight 4 = I took off, managed to shoot another ten seconds of Super 8 but then tried to turn the drone a bit fast, and I think the excess counter weight meant the drone tried to autocorrect the swaying, and then spiralled out of control, crashing into trees beside my drive… I walked down the drive to try & find it and easily spotted the battery which had somehow been ejected on impact. And down the bank further was the drone and Super 8 camera….

Surprisingly it was all intact – well, no new damage at least… I put the battery on to charge, and planned next flight for the next sunny day.

Flight 5 = I took off, managed to shoot another ten seconds of Super 8 and land ok again…

Feeling a little braver I thought I will try and get a bit higher by powering up more in the ten seconds before the timer fires… bad idea!

Flight 6 = I took off, powered up and tried to turn at the same time to get into position… Oh sh+t! The drone angled over a bit and revved hard trying to autocorrect… Thinking maybe going up might help it stabilise I gave it a bit more upwards power but by then it was surging revs and spiralling up & out of control!? Yikes!! Having lost control I tried to keep an eye on its trajectory and as it spiralled down I waited hoping not to hear the sounds of serious damage… It seemed to descend at about a 30 degree angle, so I dropped the controller and ran down the drive looking for it.

Being an older drone, the P3P does not have the ‘find my drone’ app which my Mavic has… So the only help the drone app was, was for it last known position before crashing… But I thought it should have kept power until impact so the last GPS should be reasonably accurate…

I walked down the drive to where it last was according to that yellow line above and started searching… No sign of it down the bank, or on my neighbours property… I went down to the road and into the bush reserve and searched below my property… Found a soccer ball but no sign of the drone… After an hour of searching it started to get dark, so I called it quits for the night & went home a little defeated…

Next morning after a good sleep I was out at 8.30am searching with help from my neighbour. We covered more of the bush reserve and rechecked his property. No sign of it. After a couple of hours search we knocked on the door of the house way out in front and asked if we could check their garden… Another hour and still no sign!

By now I was thinking there was only three likely scenarios.

1. Someone walking their dog through the bush reserve has found it & taken it home. So I put an ad on the Plimmerton Facebook page, offering a reward…

2. It was stuck up in the tree tops, as the bush reserve is very dense in places… So I got my Mavic out & flew over most of the area, carefully scanning but to no avail…

3. The third option? The drone has become sentient and has escaped to freedom, to start a new life as a free robot… with a Super 8 camera to document its activities…

Thankfully the weather has been good all week – cold frosty mornings but clear sunny days with no rain… This gave me hope, but rain was forecast for today and sure enough I work to the sound of rain on the roof… If my drone was still out there somewhere it was now going to be a very wet drone, which might likely ruin the electronics…

But when I got up & checked my messages, there was a FB message saying my drone had been found at 1 Reserve Road!!

Wow! So while out of control it travelled more than twice as far as it did when it was under my control… Thankfully it looks ok, no damage and the drone battery still has charge in it… And the Super 8 batteries are still fully ok, and another 10 seconds has been shot… although of exactly what I don’t know….

So I might have to revise my next flight!

When I was at Palliser Bay a week or two ago, I shot some previz using my Mavic drone and converted it to B&W, imagining what it might look like on Super8… So that might be my next flight, away from any houses or people… But also with the danger of a rocky landing if I do lose control… So here is what I am hoping to capture (spot the nerdlinger at 1’08”)

Given the stability issues with my Super 8 drone I suspect I wont be flying over the sea any time soon 😉

 

 

 

 

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