Coping with GPS Loss Fly Away

Coping with GPS Loss Fly Away

Fly Away’s can happen for several reasons, Compass Error, Outdated Firmware, Mechanical Issues, Pilot Error, Inclement Weather, Loss of Satellite Signal, Radio Interference, Visual Loss of the drone or combination.

Today we are looking at GPS Loss Fly Away and how we deal with them. This method could be applied to other fly away situations.

Having experienced a few fly away’s with a DJI Inspire 1 V2 caused by a sudden loss of GPS signal. This has occurred on two of the three Inspire 1 V2’s we operate. Yes, all have the latest firmware, no solar activity, no radio interference. We suspect it’s down to an issue with GPS aerial or firmware.

At first, it’s quite a frightening experience as the drone fly’s away from the location particularly if there is some wind. It does not take long for the drone to be out of sight if not careful.

However, because we practice flights in ATTI mode at regular intervals, we now have a pre-set procedure to cope. It may not be suitable for you but it has helped  us.

As the fly away oocurs

  1. Visually check where you are for reference point feature (for later in the check list), this could be your take off area. Ideally this should have been carried out before any situation occurs.
  2. Watch the drone.
  3. Climb and gain height, height is your best friend and allows time to think and avoid any collisions, height also gives you much better chance to gain satellite signal.
  4. Check your controls have you accidently switched to ATTI?
  5. Have you disconnected the controller?
  6. Look at your screen as in FPV (First Person View).
  7. Set the camera on you or your reference point feature.
  8. Drive the drone towards the feature.
  9. Look at the drone and screen at very regular intervals. Use the screen to drive the drone to the reference point/feature ypou have identified.
  10. When near feature immediately land if safe to do so.

Responsibility of the Remote Pilot

It is the responsibility of remote pilot and or SUA Operator to make sure that a safe operation occurs at all time and they work within the mandate of their Operating Manual.

This procedure for recovery of a GPS Loss fly away is for advice only.

We have practiced over many hours to perfect the loss recovery and in a safe open space with observers.

Take into Consideration

  • Your location, are there any conflicts such as: –
  1. restricted areas
  2. airports
  3. urban areas
  4. crowds
  5. roads/railways
  • You should always have the phone numbers of emergency services or agencies should a fly away develop into a critical situation.
  • You have prepared a site operation or brief before deploying a drone and have a plan should an emergency occur.
  • Have an observer if possible.
  • Check list.
  • Cordon area.
Lake District Drone Service – Skylark Aerial Photography