Anatomy of a Mavic Mini Flyaway – How Not To Lose Your Drone
Talking about certain situations that you can get into, that might put you at a higher risk for a flyaway and how to correct for those now before we get too deep into it. In case you're wondering a fly aways a situation where a drone is doing something different than what the pilots telling it to do. It'S basically misbehaving in the air it's got a mind of its own. At that point, it's going somewhere else, then, where you're telling it to go, that could be a scary thing for a pilot it's one of the most terrifying things for a pilot. Quite honestly, because over time you build a relationship with your drones as strange as that sounds it's almost like having a new dog. When you take him out for a walk, you let him off the leash, and you know what he's gon na do: he's, not gon na run off into the woods. He'S not gon na bite somebody, but if he turns into the dog that runs off into the woods or bites somebody, you can't trust them anymore and that's exactly what happens in a flyaway situation, I've had pilots tell me: they've had a flyaway and we're so scared. After that fly away that they won't fly anymore and I'm here, to tell you and again, I'm gon na get heat for this most. If not all the flyaways that I've investigated have been pilot error. Pilots have either done something for the first time, they've never done before so they're in a situation that was typically ill advised or they're flying in conditions.
They shouldn't be flying in very rarely our electronics responsible for a fly way. I'M, not saying it can't happen, but the vast majority of fly ways: I'm gon na blame on pilot error and an omen to get heat for that, because pilots have, to be honest, I mean we're community of pilots. If I have a flyaway and I've had plenty of them every time, I've investigated what I did wrong and thought about it. I put that drone in a situation that it shouldn't have been flying, and it was totally my fault for doing that. Now. I'Ve recovered from a lot of flyways and I'll. Give you some hints on how to do that, but I spend a lot of time: Iran, other pilots and we're, always talking about flying and typically there's. Three questions. Somebody will ask me when I meet them for the first time as a pilot, they'll say hey: where do you fly around here? I want to find a good location to put a drone up. We chat about that for a while, then they'll say have you ever crashed your drone. Yes, I have many times and here what happened? The third thing, which is a question that comes pretty quickly after that is, if you ever had a flyaway, because that's the one that really concerns pilots and yes, I've had flyaways, and then we spend a few minutes. Talking about that and I'll explain what I did and explain why I got in a situation.
I did and I'll ask them because again as an engineer, I want to know what's going on if you've had flyaways. How did that happen? Where were you flying what was weather like what kind of drone were you flying, and invariably, when we talk through those things? If they're being honest, I figure out that it is a pilot error situation and the thing about pilots is, you have to be honest, because pride gets into that, want to admit that you were doing something really dumb. All of us do dumb things with our drones, because the technology is amazing and we're always pushing it to its limits. So if you're honest about it, you think about the fly way that happened. You'Re gon na figure out that it was something you did or you weren't prepared for the situation you're in so enough about that. So again it happened. A lot don't be embarrassed by them. Just understand where you might get into trouble and understand how to get yourself out of trouble now what I'm gon na talk about today is. There are really three basic causes of fly: aways it's, either environmental mechanical or electrical, and I can't really talk about all three of those in one clip because it'll be a four hour clip – and I know you guys – love those four hour clips, so I'm gon na Break this into a series of Clips today, I'm going to talk about environmental reasons for fly, aways and they're, really two key environmental situations that you can get into that can put you at risk of a fly, win I'll talk about both of those and I can't Help but get into a little bit of the physics behind it because, as a nerd, I need to understand why these fly ways are happening, but I'll give you some really quick tips on how to avoid these fly ways as I go through these.
So first I'll talk about the environmental around wind and then I'll talk about the environmental around terrain, because both of those things can dramatically affect how your drones behave when you're flying and if you're going to have a flyaway, and you violate some of these basic principles. You'Re going to have some scary times up there in the sky, so stay tuned and we'll get into the environmental and I'll start off with wind and little spend a few minutes talking about terrain because both of those can be kind of dangerous places to be Music. The first environmental concern you really need to think about has to do with the wind, and I know that may seem really obvious, but the wind is one of those dynamic forces. That'S constantly interacting with your drone. Every minute you've got it up in the air and as a pilot. If you don't keep that front of mind, you can get into a whole lot of trouble really quickly and with all the pilots I talk to about their fly. Aways. The vast majority of them were due to win related incidents and I've. Had a few myself and I'll talk about those as we're, going through the clip because I'm going to be totally honest with you, because I want you to be embarrassed by the fact that you may have had a flyaway. I want you to understand that it happens to pilots. Even seasoned pilots have been flying for a bunch of years.
The key thing is to recognize when it's happening and know what you need to do to correct, for it. I'Ll talk about those as well, so there are two specifications that every quad has that you need to be aware of, and they have to do with how well the quad is going to do in a wind and a lot of people. Don'T read through the specifications but it's super important. You understand what those specs are, because you can't fight physics and there's a limit to what this quad can do and what this quad can do when it's confronted with a win, especially a dynamic when that changes between ground level and 200 feet in the air or Changes between flying on the beach and flying in a field 100 yards away. You need to be sure that your quad can handle that wind and, if it can't, you can fix that and I'll tell you how to do that in a second, so I'm, going to pick on the Mavic mini just for a second, because this is the quad That seems to have the most reported flyaways, where people are upset that they lost their quad, and I think it has to do again with the fact that DJI has built a miracle device here. They'Ve built the drone that can fly like a bigger drone but it's in a tiny little package. Now the downside to a tiny little package is it's not going to be as strong and a wind.
So if you're used to flying a maverick to pro or some of the bigger quads, they have a better chance of fighting a stiff wind and holding their position in 3d space. Then a smaller quad like this. This is in a lot of ways, is slave to the wind and, to be honest with you, the wind is talking to your drone. The whole time you've got it up in the air it's a very seductive force. It'S talking your drone saying, hey come with me. This way and the drone say no, I want to pay attention to the pilot sooner or later it's going to give up, because the wind is going to become so strong that it can't fight it. So the two specs you need to pay attention to, or the wind resistance and the ground, speed and I'll talk about those now. So the wind resistance is a specification that tells you how strong a wind the drone can resist and maintain its position because remember it's, flying autonomously it's trying to maintain its exact position in 3d space it's trying to maintain its elevation, its geo position. This way, and with a wind heading into it or coming from the side it's going to fight that it's got electronics inside. I am using side it's gon na spin up the motors to maintain a position. Now it may fight that wind as it gets stronger and stronger, but there's a point where it can't resist that wind any longer and that's called wind resistance.
Now, in the Mavic mini that's 18 miles an hour, so it can handle let's, say it's coming from this direction or let me to it sideways it's coming from this direction. The drone can resist an 18 mile an hour wind, which means it can fight that 80. Mile an hour wind and stay exactly where it is. If the winds 19 miles an hour, it's flying away there's, nothing, you can do to overcome that if you leave it alone. So if your thumbs are off the joystick it's gon na slowly drift back as it can't maintain position against 19, a mile an hour wind now where the ground speed comes in, is that the drone can actually fly. I think it's 29 yeah 29 miles an hour's. That means with no wind. It could do 29 miles an hour of this direction. So what you've got is a math problem. If the winds blow in this direction, less than 29 miles an hour, I can fight that wind and find my way home. If the wind is stronger than 29 miles an hour backwards, you go again. The challenge becomes it's hard to tell what that wind speed is at different elevations. So, where people get in trouble with this, is they either fly really far away with a tailwind get down to 30 on their battery and decide hey it's time to come home I'm gon na swap out my battery? They spin around to come home and they're facing.
Maybe it's not a 29 mile an hour one, but maybe it's a 20 mile an hour wind. Now again, I can fight in 1820 means I'm flying back, but I've only got 9 miles an hour against a 20 mile an hour wind again a math problem. So I'm, coming back really slow, not only that I'm fighting a headwind, which means I'm drinking more electrons I'm spinning my motors harder everything's getting warmer I'm taxing the electronics you're, stressing the drone so trying to fight that wind getting back is a real problem for you. The other place – and this is where a lot of people get in trouble – I had happened to me. The other day is they're flying at 50 feet and they're, getting that perfect shot, and then you think, as a pilot hey, I bet I can get a much better shot from 150 feet up. So you start elevating and you have to watch those high wind warnings, especially in this guy, because the drones gon na complain, it's gon na, say hey Rick I'm, starting to see some sketchy wind up here. Are you sure you want to do this? You see those wind warnings come back down. Don'T fly at that height because you're gon na get into trouble. You may get away with it for a little while, sooner or later, it's gon na bite you but anyway, you're elevating. So I was out around the neighborhood. I was filming a house, I started elevating.
I thought. Okay, let me get a top down shot to show the driveway and everything else I got up to 80 feet got up to 100 feet. When I hit about a hundred twenty feet, there was a wind current up there, which grabbed the drone and started drifting and I'm looking at it going. I got a flight away now that moment when you notice something's, going on where the drones misbehaving it's not listening to you anymore, that's, a critical moment as a pilot. You really have to have your wits about you and have a plan in your head of what you're going to do to fix that situation and that's. Why it's really important you practice this on a regular basis. So if you start seeing a fly away, maybe you've flown too far and you're fighting when to get back and you can't get back or if it's got to an elevation where it's the wind is so strong that it's taken away from you and nothing. You can do to fight that wind is going to get it back and your battery is being drained faster than you're expecting because you're using more electrons to fight that went so the trick is you need to come down to a lower elevation again? It seems super simple, but in your mind you need to know I'm swimming against the current. At the surface that I can't beat, I got to drop down below the surface and swim it.
A less intense current so in this case drop the drone down, get it down to 80 feet 60 feet, but before you do that this is super critical. Flip. The camera straight down put the camera down, so you know you're, not descending. On top of a tree or a wire or something else, so the first step would be to flip the camera down to look down 90 degrees. If the area is clear, drop it down to 80 feet and then take a look at it and see. If you can maneuver, if you can move over at 80 feet, maybe take it up to 90 peakers. You want to clear obstacles on the way back. Take it up to 90. Take it up to 100. If you start seeing it drifting again, you know 90s. The number come down to 90 feet flip the camera out straight and fly back to your takeoff location, do not hit the return to home button, especially if you've got that set 2 to 300 feet, because it's going to put you right back up in that current And it's going to drift away the key thing: is you can't panic? You have to keep your wits about you and that's. Why that that practicing is super important as a pilot. You want to be prepared for those situations and we can talk about how you got there after that, your own safely landed. In my case, I had it up to about a hundred 20 feet and I'm and there's nothing more terrifying to a pilot than watching that screen watching the drone watching the screen and seeing the drone fly in a direction you're not telling it to go right away.
You'Ve got to kick in and be that you got to be that hero as a pilot and Sarah they've got a crack for the situation I'm, not going to hit the return home button and I'm not going to drop the controller and start chasing my drone. I can handle this it down and fly it back safe. Now, a couple other concerns around that you obviously obstructions on the way back. You have to be really really careful about that. So, if you've kind of flown up and flown away, when you come home, you're gon na be down at a lower elevation, you've really got to be careful that you're coming back. Take your time. Take it slow worst case. If you can't, fly back or you're gon na really crowd an environment with a lot of trees, put the camera straight down again, maybe put it down at a 10 degree angle and spin it around and pick up a landmark nearby land. The drone, the worst thing that would happen is you've landed a drone in somebody's backyard. You have to go there and apologize for landing a drone in their backyard, but you can recover your drone if you're up against that wind and you can't fly back and you're down to 15 of the battery or 20 of the battery it's better to land. That drone put it down, put it in your landmark that you can identify you know roughly where it is relative to your position, drop it drive to that or walk to that landmark and go pick up.
Your drone that's your best bet, but the wind is one of those incredibly seductive forces out there that the drone is gon na, listen to it, it's going to try and fight it because it wants to pay attention. You it likes. You it's, gon na. Listen, you! As a pilot, but there are conditions where that wind gets so seductive to the drone. It overcomes its ability to pay attention to you and takes off and again I've done it a bunch of times. I had it happen with my maverick mini when I was filming in the neighborhood I'll. Tell you another funny story, I had it happen with a brand new Evo. They just sent me the Evo under the NDA agreement, and I was so excited to fly the thing I knew better. The wind was kicking up at ground level, but it can handle a really high wind. I put the thing up and I was flying over a bay down in manahawkin, where I like to fly an awful lot and there's this old marshy island out there that I like to fly over. I put the drone up took off over the bay over the island and I was having a great day flying I'm doing. You know loops around the island I'm. Looking down over the marsh and stuff, I was just really enjoying the day, not realizing that the drone got out to the island really quick, because it had a huge tailwind.
So I had about 30 of the battery left. I thought okay I'll wrap up for the day, it's get a little dark. I spun it around. I was at 70 feet 80 feet tried to fly back and I'm doing like four miles an hour which is not good. I put it in sport mode it's, ludicrous mode in this case and it's not coming back. I could have panicked and that would have gone down in the marsh or we're going on down in the bay. So what did I have to do? I had to drop it down to about 30 feet 25 feet off. The bay fly back over the bay, but if I panicked in that moment, that would have been gone and how bad would that have been to have an NDA gentleman I'm, not even supposed to talk about land in the band. I have to call up what tell him tell him hey. I just crashed you're talking to base, so it happens to everybody. Don'T be embarrassed by it. Maybe you don't want to talk about it, but just know that it happens to everybody and there are ways to get around that just keep your head as a pilot. Don'T panic drop. It down, drop the camera first and drop it down. 260 feet 80. Feet fly. It back home safely and if you can't do that land it where it is, and they just chalk it up for experience. But please practice that that's something you're going to want to do in an open field and get used to doing that.
So that it's, almost like muscle memory when you have to do it out there and in the field when you have that kind of panic situation, so the wind can be your enemy, you need it to fly, but it can definitely be a danger out there. If you're, not careful of it, one other place, you can get into trouble, and this is something I've heard. A lot is when you're on vacation and you take a drone with you say to Aruba and you're thinking. My whole life I've thought about this one shot over the beach with a beautiful mountain range in the background or that beautiful beach in the background and and you're just so excited to fly that you let your better judgment slip, and you know you shouldn't be flying That high, because you really haven't tested it, you put the drone up you're in a rush to get the shot. You put the drone up and the worst case scenario for you. Bodies of water are really bad, because bodies of water have really dynamic winds around them, especially a little higher elevations, the worst place to fly it's. If you've got two bodies of water with unequal pressures of air you've got a bay over here and you've got an ocean over there. There'S constant air flow going both directions between those and you put it up, and that thing starts taking off. I can't tell you probably 50 of the flyaways that I've talked to pilots about I've been vacation photos near the beach, especially Beach with a bay and a small barrier island between them.
Just I'm not saying don't fly there just be careful when you flyer that that's all as a pilot you're responsible for knowing your environment, maintaining your craft and sort of being in charge of that flight. The whole time from takeoff to landing just be aware, but that's all I'm saying so. Hopefully you find that helpful now stay tuned. The next section is going to be around terrain because there are some funky things these guys can do, based on the terrain, it's important to understand that as well Music. The second environmental concern you need to be aware of has to do with terrain and that one may not be as obvious as the first one, because you're probably already thinking how can the ground I'm flying over impact, my ability to fly and how could it ever Cause a flyaway now under most conditions, you're going to be just fine, but there are certain circumstances you can put yourself in that'll. Have your drones acting a little bit sketchy, maybe cause a flyaway or, worse, maybe cause a crash and between the wind and the terrain. Those are the two most common reasons: people have flyaways or crashes, so I'll explain how that happens in a second, how you can avoid it. But first I have to talk a little bit about the technology. So most modern drones use various technologies to sort of keep their position in 3d space. The most common one is GPS or GLONASS.
Where uses satellites that triangulate its position and it can maintain a relatively stable position in 3d, space based on its GPS coordination. Now it's not terribly accurate, it's super record for the government, but for citizens it's, not that accurate. They purposely goof it up for us because they don't want us launching a rocket with pinpoint accuracy. So, for us, the accuracy of GPS and GLONASS in the u.s. is about twenty inches, which means it can move twenty inches and still think it's in the same space. Now, that's, okay, because you've got stabilised gimbals on the front of these drones, which will keep that picture pretty stable. But twenty inches is not that accurate. The second one which most of the modern drones have is some type of optical sensing on the bottom right here. You'Ve got two optical sensors in the bottom of the Mavic. You'Ve got two optical sensors there and the use of technology called vio, which is visual and Urschel odometry, which is a mouthful and what that technology does. Is it uses the internal? I am use to actually sense the inertia of the drone, which way it's moving and it's looking down at the terrain below it, to try to look through those binocular vision, sensors to find a pattern and if it sees a pattern, it's going to maintain its position. Based on that pattern, in addition to the GPS coordination now the cool thing about VI el is it's way more accurate, so 20 inches for GPS.
Vio is four inches, so it's, incredibly accurate it's. What allows you to fly indoors when you don't have a GPS signal. So if you're flying your Mavic don't fly this one who tours you'll be tearing up the lamps, but if you're flying around ik mini indoors, you don't have any GPS signal, so it's, looking down at your carpet your table, your kitchen floor and it's looking for patterns To know it's moving and to know what's, stable and staying in position, so vio is an incredibly important technology. Now vio doesn't kick in until you're close to the ground, so if you're 20 feet or above that you're flying pretty much on gps coordination alone. But if you get down under 20 feet and varies from drone to drone, but under 20 feet, vio kicks in and starts arguing with gps a little bit saying hey. I think you know where you are I'm going to help. You spin a little tighter in on that accuracy, it's sort of like when you're driving your car and somebody's in the back seat, telling you to make a left up ahead like I got this leave me alone. The GPS wants to control the drone, but vio kicks in and says I can help you make it more accurate. The problem with vio is that vio can control a lot of what the drone does now. That'S, normally not a problem because you're flying over a field. If it's a cornfield you've got a lot of dynamics down there, you've got a lot of things that are changing, so it can see that it's changing where it becomes an issue is where you've got a surface.
That doesn't have a lot of different patterns in it, and you can already see where I'm going with this, if you're flying over water that's when it gets a little bit sketchy or if you're flying over snow like a snow covered field, it gets a little bit Sketchy because the drones have metrics built into them and again, if I'm, picking on the Mavic mini, I think the reflectivity on this has to be greater than 20 for vio to kick in, which means the patterns have to be more than 20 different if it's more Than 80, the same which most water bodies of water are, the vio can go crazy, so if you're flying over water, if you get too close to that water, bad things can happen. So I know a lot of people like to get down really close to the water and look down to see if they can see a fish or a shark or dolphin or something if you're under 20 feet know that vio kicks in and it's gon na argue With GPS and the problem is when they're arguing the drones still flying and if vio wins that argument, it could take a dive. And when I talk to pilots about the crashes over water, if it isn't that elevation, if it's closer to the surface nine times out of ten it's, because vio got involved and had an argument with the gps coordination on the drone and took a dive in the Ocean so the way you can avoid that obviously is first of all, it does vary based on the water you're flying over.
So if I give you if you're gon na fly over water, you're gon na fly low, choppy waters better still waters dangerous because still water has a very, very minimal reflectivity coefficient, it looks the same to everything looking down above it choppy water at least, has Whitecaps And stuff so patterns can be recognized. So if you're going to be risky with your drone and you have to fly under 20 feet over a body of water go for ruff water. Now that doesn't give you the perfect shot at the dolphin, but you're taking your chances just stay above 25 feet and you want of an issue. The other thing you got to be aware of is that vio is one of those technologies that isn't perfect, where his GPS is pretty much nailed down at this point where drones can fly by that, based on the GPS, coordination vio can get a little bit sketchy And a little bit confused when you're flying in those environments again over water or over snow. So if you find yourself over a body water and for some reason, you come down under 25 feet and you start seeing some type of flyaway behavior you're losing elevation you're gaining elevation, you're moving in a direction weren't expecting elevate, get up to 50 feet right away. The exact opposite of the wind, you want to skyrocket up to 50 feet, let the GPS kick in the VI: L shut down and you're gon na be fine.
You'Re gon na be able to get back again, but I've talked to a lot of pilots that have lost a drone over water and I'll. Ask those tricky questions because I'm, a bit of a detective I'm like that old guy Columbo, put some dating myself here, but that's like Columbo go. What were you doing when that happen? I always want to find out what's going on and unless those trick questions about are you're flying over the bay. Well, how close to the water were you? I was just swooping down to get a look at that seagull that's it man that's. What did it? The VI – Oh kill just so be aware of the vio, so again, today's clip was pretty simple. I talked about environmental. The first one was the wind, which is probably 80 of the flyaways – that I've I've been involved with and talked to. People about and they've happened to me so they're gon na happen to you. The second is terrain, just be careful flying over snow you're flying over grassy field. It looks the same or you're flying over water. If you get down really low that vio can kick in. So that may be another reason for a fly or worst case a crash that's pretty much it for today. Now, like I'd mentioned there's, really three classes of problems. I want to talk about first, environmental. The second is mechanical and third is electrical. I couldn't put them all in this clip cause I'm already at about a 20 minute clip, but I wanted to give you all the details you need, because this is one of those issues that pilots out there are freaking out about, and the last thing I want For anybody that send this hobby, especially new fliers that are starting out with the Mavic mini, is to be afraid to fly that's.
The worst thing that can happen is that you've decided to join the Hobby, which is a wonderful hobby, it's gon na change, your life in so many ways and you've had a bad experience. You got to get back up in that horse and ride it again. So I'm, trying to give you hints to how to avoid these things and how to recognize them when they're happening. I will have two other clips at least maybe four other Clips going through the other so I'm going to talk about mechanical failures, then I'll talk about electrical failures and don't be afraid to fly the drone. These are extremely rare situations, but if you're, safe and you're smart about how you fly, you'll never have to contend with any of this stuff. So if you like, this, clip put some comments below, let me know about your flyaways let's, see who's gon na be honest out there and who's, not gon na, be honest, but tell me how yours have happened, and if these things resonate with you, then we'll all Get smarter together and that's really why I started this channel was to relate my experiences of flying, so you can become better and safer pilots and I can learn from you guys so definitely drop those comments below but stay tuned to the channel, because I've got a Lot more clips coming talking about those other situations that can get you to a fly away, kind of a scenario that you don't want to be in and if you haven't subscribed to the channel hit that subscribe button because I'm giving away a lot of drones in The summer, so you want to make sure that you're definitely subscribed to the channel, so you can get in in those giveaways, because if you're not flying a drone today – and you can win a drone, why would you not take a shot at that so that's all? I had for today I really love to put these clips together.
I hope you guys are finding value in them. I get a lot of positive feedback, so, if you're enjoying these, let me know that as well. If you want me to talk about something else, let me know that, and I'll do my best to put a clip together on it, but stay tuned to the channel.