DJI Responds to Phantom Flyaway Concerns and Safeguards in Phantom 2

DJI Phantom

In July 2013, I posted an article detailing the numerous flyaway reports for the Phantom quadcopter that many users had experienced. It proved to be a very popular topic and users are still reporting issues and addressing possible solutions in this forum thread.

When I asked DJI about the issue via email last year, I received what seemed to be a basic troubleshooting response. Later in 2013, DJI released the Phantom 2 Vision and Phantom 2 quadcopter with additional features; however, the documentation for the Phantom 2 did not allude to any flyaway concerns relating to the original Phantom.

I attended DJI’s press conference at CES 2014, which highlighted the Phantom 2. After the press conference, DJI opened the floor for questions, at which time I presented the question from Photography Bay forum member and reader concerns regarding the original Phantom flyaways and whether the Phantom 2 takes into account any of these concerns with new safeguard to prevent flyaways.

You can see DJI’s response in the video below.

 

Comments

  1. Darren Kelly says

    Thanks for trying again Eric.

    They didn’t answer the question. Flyaways are still being reported on the new birds

    They never offered to fix the issue for existing customers

    Mines been grounded since August. I consider it junk now

    I won’t buy or trust DJI again

    Good work. Thanks again

    • G.Bourbonnais says

      ABSOLUTELY!

      I just had a fly away with my boys Phantom 2 Vision I bought him for x-mas!
      I had 9 satellites, I had read (ageing) the instructions to prep so that in case I did loose the connection it would return home!

      So off I went this morning and flew the thing with the first battery and all went very well.
      When I did my third flight with the second battery, I flew it to 400 feet and about 150 feet away, and then I lost the connection and it flew away, like it was stuck in a position and never came back, fail safe never worked it never returned. It flew out over a the bay and into a neighbourhood. I spent four hours looking for it, couldn’t find it. I tried with the controller to see if I could reconnect, but no luck. 1400$ down the drain!

      Now what, I have to buy my boy another one! Its is very frustrating.

  2. Dan says

    Blame it on the user…probably a bad idea. I’m sure most of them read their manuals because the issue is still going on to my knowledge. It’s not like it just happened the first time they flew.

  3. Darren says

    So Colin is gone, but the egotistical denial remains the same.

    Nope, NEVER will I trust these guys.

    Ordering a BLADE 350QX this weekend. Anyone want a used Phantom with spare parts?

    Best offer

    D

  4. Andy Fowley says

    Hi,
    I lost my Phantom 2 Vision today.
    I have not had it long but was fairly proficient in its use and was almost OCD about ensuring that it was flightworthy. If I was careless or distracted then I would understand, but I am not.
    Suffice to say, after about 10 minutes in the air, out of the blue it went from straight & level flight at about 50% power to 100% and veered 90 degrees towards the Gulf of Mexico.
    (I live by the beach).
    I had a clear view of it all the way until it was probably 400yds over the water and lost sight of it still offshore. After I realized that it was not responding to my input, I quickly initiated the ‘Go Home’ function. I sat and waited for almost 15 minutes where I had set it’s ‘home point’ until I was confident that it wasn’t coming back.
    From all the posts in the various RC sites that I have been reading today, this seems to be fairly common. Is there any word of a Class Action suit? According to one poll upwards of 15% of these units are doing this. I’m just amazed that nobody has been hurt (yet).
    I will be happy to supply my contact information upon request.
    – Has anyone ever got a refund from DJI? (or is that a comical thing to ask?)

    • Darren says

      Sorry Andy,

      Same story, different day. No one credible ever got a refund. One guy, who was determined not believeable says he got a replacement. No one believes him. In Europe, they reportedly have replaced some units.

      My story, which was featured in an earlier story that Eric did here on the site is posted here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLRwOeeHdlg

      Tell your story everywhere, every form. The least we can do is prevent people from buying DJI’s junk

  5. Herb says

    Hi,
    just lost my Phanotm 1 today. I’ve been flying it with fpv for about a month now, no major problems. Today, this beuatiful morning went out for a flight. After about 5 min was heading back, then suddenly the copter stopped responding to my radio controls. It just hung in the air. Admittedly I was about 200 yards out and I really couldn’t see it, just through my fpv. I initiated return to home, but it never did, and presumably flew away. I’m sad.

    H

  6. Mi says

    Thanks photography bay for this. I bought a Phantom a month ago, after reading lot of good reviews about it. I even ordered a spare battery, knowing that 10 mn flying will not be enough. Just few days after receiving it, I found all the bad stuffs about flyaways. Yes, shame on me, I did not collect enough information before buying it. But most DJI Phantom reviews state that DJI is the leading firm speaking about radio controlled quadcopters. Anyway, it is too late, I own it now, and even if I could return it to B&H, It will cost lot more for me, because I am living in Africa. I used to test the device indoor, knowing the risks, bot Now I do not want to fly it outdoor, fearing this flyaway issue. Losing few hundred dollar in the air is just an idiot thing when you know that some people here cannot earn a single dollar a day.

  7. Adam says

    Well hate to say it but im officially in the club. 1/16/14 the date my phantom went down. I have a phantom that i purchased from dslr pro a company that outfits the phantoms with the zenmuse h3 2d gimbal, fpv set up, futaba t-8 fg radio, and go pro black. It came in a great case with extra batteries, cell tester etc.. for roughly $3,000.00. At that price I was certainly not expecting a toy and i certainly did not treat it as such. Following every step and direction provided to me, i have had at least 100 flights all of which i have had no problem. ive shot tons of videos and taken even more photos using the wireless go pro remote. Two days ago how ever i was flying and taking video of a very nice house for a friend of mine. The video turned out great so i went back up on a second flight to take photos. After take off it seemed like the phantom was drifting back towards me slightly but for the first couple seconds i dident pay it much mind as it was a slightly gusty at times but absolutely nothing i have not flown in before. as i compensated for the drifting slightly we managed to snap a couple pictures before i realized that the drifting seemed some what abnormal. by the time i started trying to bring it back to a safe distance a the quad froze in the air pitched to the ground and at full throttle started tearing down to the ground behind the house. I had zero control. I heard a giant boom or thud which told me it hit a man made object and not the street or a tree. i think that would have made a shattering noise or plastic cracking noise.. when i went behind the house i noticed a lady in her front yard peering at the ground as if a meteor had just hit. I asked if she saw an rc helicopter crash and she said “yea! it hit my house!”. she was pissed and started taking pictures of the thing for insurance purposes. I was in shock not only because of the dollar signs i saw fly away but also because i realized how badly i could have really hurt somebody. Im not sure really what to do at this point but until i find out what went wrong, im not flying this thing any where near people, water, houses or hard objects, which pretty much eliminates the Earth as a good place to fly.

    I will say that perhaps there was pilot error in not bring down the quad right away when i sensed the strange drift but if there are situations in which the quad is not in the mood to fly, or is not calibrated properly or what ever, how do you explain the pitch and dive at full throttle two minutes into the flight? After flying this thing about 100 times, i dont think i could make it dive into the ground at that speed manually even if i tried! I really was beginning to think i made a great investment. Guess i did not do enough research but most of what i read before purchasing was good. When i did hear about a crash i really did think it was probably from pilot error being that i started rc flying planes and have had plenty of pilot error crashes. I can not say this was caused by pilot error and i hope i dont get arrested or sued. if i do im paying my lawyer to call DJI. whatever that will be worth.

    thanks a lot for the postings. i would love to get to the bottom of this and would join in on any legal steps that could be taken if when i call dji they dont give me the time of day.
    Hope to probe them a bit on monday

    -Adam

  8. Darren says

    Sorry to read this. Not unfamiliar though.

    Seems it doesn’t matter what version, original, 1.1.1 or the 2 or even vision 2. It happens to them all.

    The folks using the blade product have to wrap the GoPro in aluminum or copper tape to prevent an issue they are saying causes GPS lock to disappear.

    Still, the Blade product doesn’t do the flyaway thing.

    DJI, we know you don’t care, but wouldn’t it be nice if you stopped ripping people off.

    Darren

  9. Scope says

    Hi there,

    i think one big problem is the pilot. You have to calibrate the compass. You have to wait for the 2 green fast flasing lights (set Homepoint). And also dont fly near power lines. Darren i had watch your video. And you immediately start flying after you had put the phantom on the ground. Sorry but talking bad things about dji and dont do/check the important things before you fly. It is your own fault that you getting an flyaway !!!

    Hope all of you watched this little video with colin :

    • Andy Fowley says

      Scope,
      Please do not presume to imagine that we are not proficient at operating these things.
      Why would we go to the trouble of creating in depth fictional stories if we realized that we had simply screwed up? – It is simply not logical.
      I am employed by an airline and spend my working life several miles above the ground in a metal tube; trust me, I am very familiar with checklists and procedures.
      I for one am very willing to assume that all these reports come from other mature adults who know what they are doing, who have read the same manuals and seen the same instructional videos as you on calibration, pre-flighting and operating these UAVs.
      We are simply amassing a weight of evidence (albeit anecdotal) that these units have an inherent flaw which needs to be addressed. DJI is keen to say that every event is pilot error.
      Do you not feel that it also very telling that if you hunt around on the internet for other brands of UAV that have reports of ‘fly aways’ there are almost none; it is just the Phantom, over and over and over again.

    • Daletri says

      Scope,

      I think you bring up a good point. Many people fail to read the manual and just launch the second the Phantom is powered on. I agree that they are inviting problems. There is one guy on YouTube whining about his Phantom flying away as he hovers around power lines. I have no sympathy for him.

      What about the folks who do everything correctly? Who have read the manual, followed the advice given by DJI and seenuh da videos? How is it explained when their Phantom just takes flies away? DJI realizes there is a legitimate issue here. They are repairing Phantoms with fly away issues and even guaranteeing that the Phantom won’t fly away again. How can they make that guarantee? They can’t unless they fully understand what’s causing them and they have a fix for it.

  10. Darren says

    As the video said, and I’ve posted several times, the movement of the phantom was AFTER GPS lock. It was to test the lock on the battery door.

    This was my second flyaway. After over 100 flights. I know what I am doing.

    All of these users can’t be wrong scope. I’ll bet you either don’t own one, or have been lucky.

    Enjoy the DJI kool aid.

    D

  11. Ken says

    I have been writing DJI Phantom for several months with no answer, today I received this email from DJI, a real caring company. They never spoke to me or asked me a question, but I got this response………

    Dear Kenneth,

    Thank you for your email.

    We apologize for the delay however, after reviewing your information we will not be able to replace the DJI phantom without the previous unit as we need to view the flight data. We’re sorry to hear you encountered this error.

    Best regards,

    DJI US support
    us.support@dji.com

    • Alan Chun says

      Ken, I just lost a Phantom 2 with GoPro 3+ and gimbal yesterday. Before finding this site I posted to their Facebook page asking if anyone else experienced the same problem as I did and described the situation. My posting was removed within 10 minutes. You’re right, a real “caring” company (not). After doing more surfing about this problem I’ve found I’m not alone and this is an all too common problem. I agree with the other poster that it’s time for a class action suit.

  12. KF says

    Wow! I just want to thank everyone for posting and giving those who do a little research on the Phantom a heads up. I was on Utube and literally minutes away from stepping up and purchasing the new Phantom 2 vision when I clicked on this link. Good luck with your pursuit, it would seem DJI has it’s hands full with all the negativity surrounding their Phantoms.

  13. Jim says

    January 20, 2014, I had a Phantom 2 Vision flyaway (same day the latest version of firmware was released and iPhone app update) my flyaway had old firmware.

    I picked up a 2nd one and continued to test. If Youtube videos are used for training without reading the manual…an important fact will be missed…I’m now assuming…(that is) that each time one’s Phantom is moved to a NEW flying location, the compassed must be calibrated.

    If during the next 30 days, I don’t have a flyaway…I’ll admit I’m partly to blame on my Jan 20th flyaway…but if I have a 2nd flyaway, I’ll dispute the charges on my credit card..right away for both purchases.

  14. zacarias moscon says

    My was the wifi of gopro!!!! Is 2.4 ghz same as the controller. never had this problem again!

    • Jim says

      So…must make sure wifi of go pro is turned off? Otherwise interference and possible or likely flyaway? Thank you.

    • Andy says

      Hello,
      Yes, my flyaway was with a Phantom 2 Vision. The camera was attached which is of course the default mode. The unit was exactly as it came out of the box, no mods.

    • Des says

      My Phantom 2 vision purchased late January 2014 was 2 months old with around 30 successful flights when it flew away. It does not have a Go Pro but has a DJI camera mounted.
      It was hovering with fast flashing green lights indicating GPS lock when suddenly it flew away at full speed. I went straight to Atti mode and nothing happened then lost sight of it but have not found it after 3 days searching surrounding bushland. NOT HAPPY.

  15. Jim R says

    I bought 1 for Christmas after seeing many wonderful videos. Mine as of today is 3 for 3 on runaways. Software is up to date . but every time after being up for about 5 min it runs left and forward at top speed till it hits something. I have e mailed DJI and have never gotten a response. I will never purchase 1 of there units again !!!

  16. Darren says

    I’m sorry. I really am. I have two sitting. On my desk. I can’t see flying them until I am prepared to loose them. I won’t risk a GoPro.

    FU Dji

  17. Paul Murray says

    It looks like i have to join the flyaway club too :(
    In November i bought my DJI Phantom from Amazon. I had a few flights and was well impressed with the quadcopter so in December i decided to buy a FlyCamOne camera from Amazon for the phantom. I did check up some stuff online about the GoPro and decided against buying this camera due to the frequency being the same as the phantom. The whole setup with the quadcopter, camera and the fpv gear cost about £700. On my 8th flight things went terribly wrong, i had the quadcopter about 300 ft with the camera attached without the fpv unit. The dji phantom decided to move at very high speed, faster than it ever went with me using the controls. The noise from the motors was loud. And it was obvious i had no control, even trying to activate Return To Home switch and eventually turning the remote control off hoping it would sort itself out. The quadcopter come down about 1/4 of a mile from where it took off, and hit the ground with great impact. The quadcopter is severely damaged and the camera is just in bits. I done everything by the book, and watched all the videos showing how to do the calibrations. I recalibrated everytime before i used the quadcopter just to try be safe. I wasn’t flying anywhere near powerlines or in areas with close by radio signals. I even turned my mobile phone off before using the DJI Phantom. All i can be thankful for is the fact that i never used it in an area where people was. As i’m sure this machine would have caused severe injury if it hit someone in the head. After reading alot of posts on forums online i expect it would be a waste of time emailing DJI and asking them for compensation for my loss. I’m thinking of looking into the laws/rules of importation. Don’t these machines need a certificate of air worthiness etc before being allowed to be imported. Maybe its something the CAA might want to look into.
    Can someone tell me. is Walkera QR X350 much the same as DJI Phantom as like is it the same electronics ? I see they are going cheaper on amazon now yet the price for phantoms is going up.

    Paul Murray
    Inverness – UK

  18. Darren says

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    DJI are an unreputable company, who will one day cause a serious event, maybe even a death.

    I hope someone sues their rear ends off

    D

  19. Hoyle says

    My flyaway happened today and I’m pretty shaken up by it. Full props and hard left into a building. Recovered it but it’s trashed along with the GoPro Hero 3 Black and Zenmuse gimbal.

    I’ve contacted DJI via email. Interested to know if anyone else has recovered their copter and let DJI analyze the flight data.

  20. Darren says

    DJI won’t respond. It is their opinion, belief, company policy that YOU caused this incident. That’s what this video demonstrates. They will not accept it is their gear that is the problem.

    Sorry that it happened to you.

    Darren

  21. Giacomo says

    Thanks all for sharing the stories. I was going to order one….now I am looking at alternatives. What is a reliable entry level quad for filming?

    GP

    • Max says

      The most popular other options are the Blade 350QX and the Walkera X350. I know that the Blade has an issue with interference from GoPros (even with wi-fi off), so thats why I ruled that one out for sure. The Walkera X350 is not very popular and seems to be a cheaper and worst version of the DJI Phantom. All of these systems will have fly aways and other issues, it seems to be much more often with the Phantoms/Naza systems since that is the quad that most people own. When more people buy the Blade 350QX, I am sure that there will also be issues with it. Right now it seems that the DJI Phantoms (with correct set up) are still your safest bet.

  22. Giacomo says

    Thanks for the replay Max. Am I correct in saying that flyaway problems can only happen to quads that use GPS…..or could it happen to any normal quad flown in manual mode?

    Thanks for any advice.

  23. Darren says

    I would disagree with Max

    1. There is no “correct set up” for the DJI product.

    2. Yes, there is a problem with the Blade and the GoPro. The fix, which seems reliable is to wrap the GoPro in copper tape, which reduces the interference to nil in most cases.

    What the Blade has going for it is the manufacturer. When the qx 350 was released, there was an issue with blades breaking. They immediately acknowledged it, and sent out a fix. As far as I know, they understand the issue with the GoPro and are working on it.

    You can’t fix a bad manufacturer.

    • Giacomo says

      Darren, thanks for the reply. Just one question…..If I have a quad (any quad, not just DJI) , that does not have GPS facilities, can a fly away still occur?

      Thanks,

      GP

  24. Daletri says

    I have the new Phantom FC40 which is essentially the Phantom 2 Vision without the larger battery and expensive camera. The transmitter operates at 5.8GGhz. I’ve owned this Phantom for 4 weeks now and I’ve flown it daily. Yesterday I experienced A flyaway while flying in an area behind my home. I’ve flown in this area many many times and I’ve never experienced any issues before. At an altitude of approx. 150 to 200 feet my Phantom suddenly and without warning began to free fall. Despite desperate attempts to regain altitude, the Phantom was out of control in a free fall. A few seconds before it hit the ground I did manage to regain control briefly, but that was not enough to prevent the impact. The Phantom bounced off the grass very hard and flew upward and to my right at a fast speed. Again I was unable to control it. It simply did not respond to input from the transmitter as it flew off in the distance. In a last ditch effort I cut the transmitter off, switched it to ATTI mode and switched the power on again. At this point I was able to regain control and land the aircraft.

    I should say that before buying the Phantom FC40 I did a great deal of research. I know all the procedures for calibrating the compass and ensuring that I have enough GPS signals to mark the home point. I always fly with fresh batteries and I routinely calibrate the IMU.

    My Phantom FC40 has bent landing gear and the seams on the case have expanded because of this crash. Today I’m trying to reach DJI to discuss this and if they don’t agree to replace the case and landing gear I’m going to file a charge back with my credit card company.

  25. ElationArt says

    Does this happen with all DJI builds?
    I bought a Phantom recently, and have been flying it a ton, almost every day,
    but am thinking of building my own quadcopter using some of the DJI components online,
    I have had no issues in several months flying, but am hearing more and more “fly away” reports online after searching through many forums…
    and am wondering if this problem is also found in DJI home builds…. or in just the phantoms…

    Thanks,
    ~~~Eli

  26. historymaker06 says

    I was one of the first Phantom owners in USA. I won my Phantom at NAB conference in Las Vegas 2013. Last year the phantom was the newest and greatest thing i have seen in NAB.
    I had plenty of flight experiences. Shot movies with it etc. It was so much fun flying it.
    Sadly On Saturday Feb 8, 2014, i lost my Phantom 1 with Zenmuse and GoPro Hero 3 while flying my 1. st time FPV with Fat Shark goggles. This was my 2nd. Fly Away! (see video link on the bottom from my 1.st flyaway and HOW I GOT IT BACK!)

    I was alone. I went into a park, wanted to fly low and learn the basic with FPV. I calibrated. Waited 8 mins. I started it up. It’s in the air.
    The wind drifted it away. I put on my goggles and i was in awe to see footage for the first time while flying FPV. It went higher and higher. I didn’t really touch the remote. It basically flew itself and drifted with the wind.
    When i took off my goggles i couldn’t see my phantom. I panic, trying to get it back home. Everything looks the same from on top. I think i am going to loose it. I lost orientation. Trying to figure out front, back, left and right.
    I try to get my orientation back. Get it back down. I could see that there was just 3 min battery life left. I cut off the remote to have it back back SAFE HOME. I waited 30sec, it didn’t return back home. 1min. I put back on the goggles and saw that my phantom is coming down in fast speed. I Took off my googels, i can’t see it. But it back on. Phantom is now flying towards a basket ball rim. I panic. It will CRASH on the Basketball rim! It didn’t respond to the SAVE HOME. 500 ft was a High School with a basketball court . I took down the googles and I run to the court, thinking that my phantom crash there some where. But no sign of my phantom. I totally forgot about the goggles. I didn’t put them back on. I run into the gym asking the coach to check on the High School roof. Told them i just crash my phantom here. Coach and assisting coach are coming out with me, unlocking the doors of the High School to look for my crash Phantom. Nothing. Not on the roof either. After 30 mins i though about the goggles. I put them on, but there was nothing.
    Any ideas what may have happen up there? Where should i look for my phantom? It’s been a week since i lost it. Saturday Feb 8, 2014. Super sad and depress. I spend over $1500 on upgrades on this thing! This was my first time flying with goggles and FPV.

    LOST PHANTOM 1st Time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShkJw6yKtBE

    How i got it back http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE6vXzSfSVA

    • jarrod norman says

      My vision 2 flew away this morning. All I could do was climb to try and keep an eye on it, but it disappeared. I live by the S.F.Bay and thats where it headed to at full speed. I immediately turned off the remote and turned my phones G.P.S. on. Then I used the find my Phantom function and found it before it got over water.

  27. Jim says

    Just read the post above….hmmm, today I’m flying with goggles the first time with a Phantom 2 (non Vision)… Will be careful. Using Skyzone Goggles.

    • historymaker06 says

      Yes, please be careful. It’s very easy to loose orientation with the goggles. Fly low and carefully and have someone come with you. Don’t fly alone. I wish i did that. 4 eyes sees more then two.

      • Hoyle says

        Found an interesting video from Colin Guinn before he left DJI where he addresses the fly-away issue. Of note, he doesn’t mention anything about the GoPro wireless conflict.

  28. maz says

    I am in the club :-(
    After 15 sec, the P2 with GoPro slides to the right and went down into a see. Lost totally the control, no reaction on anything (had enough satellites, waited on the plain ground to start etc.). I rescued it from ice cold water after 5 mins, but seems everything is damaged. After reading this thread, it seems not to be a good idea, to buy a new one every month…

  29. Darren says

    Sorry. Happens too frequently.

    Put the camera and the bird in a bag of rice. Let it dry for a week. You may recover more than you think.

    But basically, you are correct, you can’t do this every week.

    D

  30. maz says

    Yes, but separately the P2, the GoPro with attached Gimbal and the Lipo somewhere. GoPro was filming all the time till rescue. But the TX and iOSD was somewhere in the crystal clear but ice cold water. The lipo also gives light, when turning on, but I don’t think to use it anymore. Not sure about possible fire, when using. Thanks for the rice tipp!
    Stefan

  31. Jack says

    Hi! I just lost my 2 day old DJI Phantom FC40. Just flew away… :(
    Paid $500! Anyway, I’m new here at this club.

  32. jack says

    Anyway, do you guys know DJI sell only the phantom without the TX and the charger? I don’t see the point to buy the whole kit again. It’s a pain in a a** losing this quad.
    I think i did everything correct. Turn the tx on, then rx, waiting for lights, I did Calibrate the Phantom’s compass at the location ( a open field, no power lines, nothing), light all green had all sattelites.
    but It was my fault! it was hoovering about 15ft high and about 20 feet from me. My daughter changed the S1 to “course lock” without tell me (I had my eyes on the Phantom). My S2 was set to ATTi (I wish it was GPS mode). All of sudden the phantom start to go west at full speed and the wifi signal was off. I tried to control but nothing was working. In a panic mode, i turn the TX power off but the phantom kept going miles away.
    I told s1 and S2 was all the way up.
    I want to but another one. I wish they sell only the phantom without the RX and charger. Do you guys think they do it? Or it is better buy another brand?

  33. says

    I did not hear a answer, just saying it was the users fault. and that now that they have a system showing the connection that is fixed..

    Mine was flying one direction about 15 yards from me. STOPPED and started moving in another direction and kept going.. that was after having GPS lock before take-off, and 30 seconds after start…. Guess I forgot to read the part about not flipping the “return to china” switch.
    Thank you DJI for answering a good question by insulting my intelligence. Just saying.

  34. Vollawetscher says

    I lost my Phantom II this morning BUT it was my own fault. I was flying it too far away and couldn’t see it any longer. I let go off the controls and ran in the direction where I lost sight hoping to see the LED’s. But nothing. Then I tried to climb only but still couldn’t see or hear anything. After approx 1 minute I switched the remote to GPS mode and then turned it off. I hoped to see the drone flying over me to return to the home position. But nothing. As I returned to my home I suddenly heard something. When I looked up in the air I could see the Phantom hovering approx 300 feet high above the starting point. I could regain control with the remote and landed it safely. Uff!! PS: I know now how it must feel to lose the thing……

  35. William Smith says

    Lost my Phantom 1.1.1 this morning. I believe it flew back to china ’cause it didn’t stop for nothing. I tried to switch to GPS to ATTi but it was to far away from me. Very sad. I’ve spent my evening depressed.

  36. Dron3r says

    So had my first “Flyaway” with my Phantom 2. I have also read all the forum chatter and looked at the results from surveys etc. I can share my experience and some interesting points.

    My Flyaway was unique is some aspects as I had semi-control at one point and it seemed like I was “fighting” another signal. I was able to give it input from the left control stick at times. One thing that stood out is the SPEED of the phantom when it was literally flying itself. Also when it came crashing down to the ground at an angle that I have never been able to achieve with it, the speed was probably over 40miles an hour. It was moving faster than I had ever seen it move. This was in a rural area near a river and a winery so I have ruled out interference.

    Reading other forums the OVERDRIVE aspect seems to be something that others have seen as well. I have no idea what would cause this but it is the same as a car suddenly slamming on the gas and driving in a random manner. Expected result=Loss of gear and/or damaged hardware+Possible damage to people or things.

    A couple other points:
    1. This is a real issue, yes there may be some pilot error but many of us including myself had REAL problems that resulted in loss or damage.
    2.DJI is selling record numbers of these drones due to price and it’s video options. They erase Facebook comments regarding any Flyaway comments. They also when asked, point out that it is always user error.
    3. Most people that have a flyaway actually BUY MORE DJI products. So maybe DJI has made more sales because of this issue.

    I think bottom line is you should be very careful when flying these products. Or not fly them at all. I would like to see someone do some research with the GPS and control devices on board the Phantom 2’s and see if this is an issue with just Phantoms or something with the NAV-2 etc. That is what I am trying to look into at the moment.

    – Dron3r

  37. says

    Well, guess I’m joining the club today. I saw a Phantom V1 on sale at B and H about 3 weeks ago an picked one up.

    I calibrate my compass every time I fly, even if its a familiar place.

    Of course, the first time I fly near water it goes berserk on me and lands in the water way. Luckily I was able to retrieve it and the go pro.

    Checklist:

    1. Full battery
    2. Did the compass dance
    3. Green flashing lights
    4. Go Pro wireless OFF
    5. On lift off, i waited about 10 seconds to lock in ‘home’

    I will admit, I did have it sitting in floorboard which is near a speaker, but the compass dance was successful so I didn’t think anything about it.

    A few minutes into flight, it started drifting, which is abnormal in GPS mode so I attributed it to the wind. So I brought back to me and then it just flew downward at an angle by itself, I had no control.

    Question – is the flight controller the issue? Its a Naza MV2 correct? Can’ you buy that flight controller standalone and put it on a DIY quad? If so, has anyone heard of fly aways with DIY quads with same controller or is it something else causing the issue?

  38. Krawwler says

    Well Im going to add my name to the list of Phantom 2 Flyaways. Ive had my quad a couple of months and flown many many hours without fail. Yesterday I took it out as usual and was about 5 minutes into the flight and it got a mind of its own and took off. There was no response from the quad with any radio inputs. Tried the failsafe and also tried switching off the controller. Neither one gained any response. So now Im out a phantom 2 and unfortunately my new Hero 3+ Black. Ill be curious to see if DJI would eventually address this problem. I haven’t had any luck getting in contact with their customer service on any issue.

  39. Nate says

    I just had my own flyaway experience. It most definitely is a real problem. It is not the user, it seems to be the hardware/software. Look at mine here on this video. Makes me a sad panda. :(

  40. Brett Reicosky says

    I am now a victim as well. Mine flew away last night. I do have my phone number taped onto it, so hopefully someone finds it and will call. I did not realize the problem was this big. I joined a AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) a few days ago and am curious if their insurance program will cover any of my loss?

  41. Billy Smith says

    Just lost my Phantom 2 here in Memphis/Tn. I’m very sad! Flown many hours since 02/2014 but yesterday had it’s on mind. I’m depressed!

  42. Massimiliano says

    Hi there,

    I’ve lost my Phantom Vision 2.

    Flown away.

    Think it’s time to class action against DJI

    Who’s in?

    • Eli Currey says

      I retrieved my phantom after a fly away I experienced while landing this weekend,
      I have the video and retrieved the phantom, if it helps with the class action let me know,
      I want to be aboard, all I could think of while it was flying away (at an event I was shooting) was about it crashing into someone, or a kid, or pet or something and causing some serious harm =(

      I think we all need to join a Class action to have them refund and recall all units until the problem is fixed,

  43. Nicholas mrnarevic says

    I almost lost my phantom 2 yesterday. I was at the cloisters getting pictures of the museum. I have flown easily 100 times with 0 issues, even met up with another phantom 2 user yesterday. Out of nowhere this thing just banks right hard does this crazy wobble and flies straight up it banked hard right and ok off over the Bronx, somehow for some reason, it stopped and hive red then returned back home after about 2 very tense minutes of hovering. I attributed this to it being cold outside and having the other guy there maybe his had some interference with mine because when he landed and turned his off I regained control. But now I’m terrified to fly this this again I really don’t want to hurt anyone or lose this much moneys worh if equipment . I’m in a pickle

  44. WN says

    I lost my P2 and gopro 3+ black last Sun, so sad. I did the compass calibration every time before the flight and did wait for more than 15 secs after the lights turned green. It went banana 2 seconds after take off, totally out of control, SF mode and switching off remote, both did not work. The worst was: it crashed into a maximum security prison nearby, fxxk! Now they are thinking of putting charges against me, if it happens, I will drag DJI into it as well as suggested by my lawyer. DJI sucks!

    • Eli Currey says

      Scary! crashed into a Max security Prison, …. almost worse case scenario!
      If you do bring DJI into it, let your lawyer know there are lots of us experiencing the same thing, with no response and no recall by DJI,
      I have my gopro video from my fly away (luckily it only hit a tree and missed alot of people)
      and if it would help for a class action, I can turn over the video,
      please let us all know how this works out

    • Andy says

      WN,
      While I – and I am sure everyone else – reading this genuinely feel for you, I can only hope that this may possibly bring us a step closer to some resolution with DJI.
      Fingers crossed for you…

  45. Eli Currey says

    I experienced my first “fly away” this weekend,
    I was shooting at a Flow festival, hundreds of hula hoop, poi, staff spinners, jugglers, everywhere,
    60 + workshops and classes, families, kids and pets all over the property,
    after getting 2 or 3 good flights and 360 of the ranch and some of the classes,
    I took it to the main stage, calibrated the compass (I do this every time, even if I only move 20 or so feet)
    I got all clear on the satellite signals, everything was good to go,
    I flew it up to catch a small rainbow over the event, did a 360, fly back and fourth for about a min and then brought it back to the stage to land it and wait for some of the classes to begin,
    while bringing it down slowly, It just Shot off on its own, flying faster then iv ever seen it and at a crazy angle!
    I tried to bring it towards me and it kept accelerating away, it wouldnt go left or right, up or down,…. I finally tried killing the motors over a tree (I thought i was over a tree)
    the engines stopped and it fell FAST keeping its crazy angle, flew about 10+ feet and hit a tree,
    flinging my gimbal and gopro 20 or so feet into a bush nearby…

    I am extremely happy that it did NOT hit any of the participants, there cars, kids, or pets,

    I firmly believe that all of us who have experienced this need to start a Class Action against DJI,

    Selling so many of these things that can just “fly away” is dangerous and irresponsible as a company,
    Thats like selling a Car or motorcycle that can just “accelerate at random” and crash you into things/people.

    They need to be help responsible for releasing such a dangerous tool for sale.

    I have retrieved my gopro and Phantom, if there is any kind of flight data that can be retrieved for helping this process please get in contact with me.

    • Dan says

      First not trying to be on the dji bandwagon lol, maximum security prisons have drone jammers so not really surprised that you crashed . Second flying at a festival there usually is a lot of interference, you said you calibrated on the main stage, so was there electronic equipment , stereo equip, etc. There always is a risk to flying any aerial device that’s why you should be fully insured …

  46. Darren says

    As one of the 1st contributors to this thread, and someone who has battled DJI on this issue since my first flyaway last June, I am truly sorry for everyone’s loss.

    My Phantom, which I had fished out of the lake at great expense, and the replacement are sitting in a box now in my storage room. All totalled, I invested over $3500.00 in the phantom’s and the 2 GoPro’s and two brushless gimbals. All in all, I invested a few hundred hours trying to make it work.

    I have to tell you, I don’t have any belief there will be any resolution to the DJI flyaway issue. The company doesn’t care. They are Chinese, and have yet to learn anything about customer service. I apologize if that appears to be a racist comment. I don’t intend it to be such.

    The best thing you can do is tell your story as many times as you can to retailers who sell this crap, post it on forums – be prepared to be attacked on quad forums.

    I would love to see someone do a class action law suit, but I don’t believe it would ever happen.

    If you made a video about your flyaway, like I did, make sure you post it and promote it. The more people that see these things, the more attention we will get.

    Here’s mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLRwOeeHdlg

    Good luck

    Darren

    • Dan says

      If it only, said made in japan this might not be happening lol, there probably counterfeit phantoms hahaha if there from China .

  47. Angel Corbera says

    After flying my Phantom 1 for 4 weeks, about 20 times, it flew away today. I almost had a heart attack when I saw it flying away and not accepting any controls from the remote.
    After I bought it I spent a lot of time watching videos and learning how to use it, compass calibration, steps order, etc. I was really so happy taking videos and picture with the goPro Hero3 attached, however I am depressed now.
    Today, after flying it on a big park, Borderland SP, for three times, 3 batteries, I decided to fly it just one more time because the camera was not on the proper angle. I inserted a fresh charged battery. The flew fine for the first minute. However, suddenly, it started going to the right and going away. It didn’t obey the transmitter actions. When I almost couldn’t see it, I turned the transmitter off, as I have tried once before, to check how the return home works, but this time it did not. It just dissapeared on the horizon.
    I couldn’t belive it has just taken on its own and flew away. I spent two hours looking on the woods around but I couldn’t find it. I wish I had put my name and phone number as someone suggested as the first thing you need to do.
    I was going to buy another one but after reading all these comment,s I don’t think I am not to invest 800 dollars again.
    If there is a class action against DJI, please contact me.

  48. wuxiekeji says

    I find that mine has a tendency to fly away sometimes as well — I follow full take-off procedure, wait for home marker and everything, and even done Advanced IMU calibration.

    Usually I take off and hover for about 2 minutes at low altitude (~3-4 metres) before flying anywhere. On occasion within those 2 minutes it’ll suddenly take off and dart in a random direction, and switching to ATTI mode helps me regain control a bit, but after trying to level in ATTI mode and then bringing the right stick back to centre, it still re-stabilises to a tilted angle rather than level, resulting in it still wanting to dart off; at this point I just crash it by shutting off the motors before it goes off into some highway or property and causes damage.

    I strongly suspect gyro or accelerometer problems. There really should be 3-4 redundant gyros and accelerometers in this device.

  49. mountainview says

    i took p2 vision on a hike to a 3000m mountain yesterday. About 3/4 of the way, while resting for water, i decided to fly it around to take some pics. After about 2 mins of flying the drone started to wobble like a possessed devil. I tried it bring it back but it was unresponsive to controls, and hit a tree and went straight down to the ground. luckily it fell in the snow with only propeller damage. I had originally thought it was due to strong winds, but now i know the real story..

  50. Ronald Catchpole says

    I have the original phantom and vision. I had the vision exactly 10 days and because of the weather here in NY I couldn’t fly it enough!
    On the tenth day I was flying vision when it took off straight up then took off on its own, then landed?
    I brought it back,went through all startup procedures, got SATs and GPS when it took off straight up again, then again flew away but a tall pine tree stopped it!
    It never crashed! I got it out of tree safely.
    I am a Journeyman Electrician and Journeyman Instrumentation Mechanic so know my way around electronics, so I took top off. I was amazed to see what looks like power wires and other wires seem to be glued onto board?
    Mine was actually slightly touching the board enough to start it.
    A few other wires looks similar as just slightly touching board?
    I could see when vision started the vibrations made these wiresraise and lower from board!
    Touching board enough to keep flying but other wires made loss of control!
    Take yours apart and see if that’s your problem!

    • Jesse says

      Ronald catchpole, did you have any luck flying it after you messed with the wires on the board? Just trying to find hope in purchasing one of these phantoms. Thanks in advance.

      • Ronald Catchpole says

        Jesse,
        I cleaned up the board and removed old solder. I then soldered them myself.
        But have yet to fly as I don’t want to lose $1400! I have a GPS tracking device that I can use but even that relies on wherever it lands I have access to! And my name is on it but what if landowner finds it and keeps it? They could just say stay off my property and deny its there?
        I own the Iris from 3D robotics and have never had this issues! Plus their plane and feel comfortable knowing I control it or use the auto feature where it flies wherever you want without a remote!
        I have spoken with DJI and its like talking to the wall! I said I would return it if they paid for shipping as its brand new and their fault! They said no!
        I said if I send it back and they find out it was their fault then they reimburse me for shipping! They said no!
        Then some lady from wherever called me at 11:00 PM, and barely able to speak English tried to get me to stop asking PayPal for my money back? Please send back and let DJI fix and send back?
        I asked why they don’t send me another unit after I return it? And why I don’t get anything for having vision not flyable since the flyaway, and it being gone to be fixedand she ccouldn’t understand!? The next day I got an email thanking me for agreeing to thiervterms? I give up!
        I’ll never purchase from DJI again!
        My original phantom still flies and I also owned a NAZA h for my heli and it works! The vision board is the problem and the solder job!
        They should have a quality control person check each soldering job!
        Ron Catchpole

  51. BestOfLuck says

    WOW! Like another poster mentioned, I was about to purchase the Phantom but am quickly shying away based on various research. I have been flying the v262 with lots of fun (and repairs:)) and recently had the chance to test my friends Phantom. I really enjoyed the controls and ease of handling, although it felt strange to not have full control of the bird (re the auto hover). Something about the bird seemed out of place to me.

    I am not clear how a company can treat some of the people on this thread in the manner describe and sleep at night. This is not how I conduct business. I wish the people on this thread the best.

    • Ronald Catchpole says

      I have this item but its no longer available for sale!
      Try refurbished units as some are still available.
      I went by plane from NY to Arizona and ha it in checked luggage and watched my whole flight, its awesome!
      I worry though that e end knowing where it is could still end up losing it!
      Say if it took off over water say a lake or ocean!
      Then even a disgruntled homeowner keeps it?
      Even with a tracker, your name etc they could keep it!
      I fly mostly out in boonies not around homes or towns etc but when it goes then who knows where it lands?
      Both of my FlyAway’s ended up in tall pine trees!
      Ron

  52. Carl says

    Been reading about the flyaway problem. I just bought a Phantom 1 to learn on, including taking pics with GoPro H 3+. I’m a wildlife biologist with a project need I’m testing Phantom on – cliff-nesting raptor nest surveys. The flyaway problem reminds me of flying falcons in falconry. However well-trained they sometimes decide to take off and go out of sight. In the old days, they were lost for good. In more recent times, guys learned that very light (10g?) telemetry transmitters could be attached to falconry birds with no effect on the bird. Now we tag wild birds too – long story… My point is if you put a tiny transmitter on you RC device, for about 120.00, it’s like an insurance policy. It flies away, you CAN go find it using telemetry. I have a transmitter and plan to use it whenever I ‘fly’ my Phantom.

  53. Dan says

    I was thinking about buying the phantom 2, but after reading this, I’m perfectly fine with my phantom 1 owned it since may 2013 .I have never had a fly away happen , almost lost it once trying to take the drone to max altitude. I couldn’t see it had no fpv at the time, switched on go home and about 8 min later it appeared,” phew it didn’t go to China”then the battery died at about 50 feet when it was attempting to auto land luckily the landing gear just bent . Many flights on the phantom 1 as far as 1km , I find that after leaving that radius if you don’t have a good enough transmitter your movements become a little shady. I also set my altitude and radius parameters, because the default settings are pretty high, I don’t understand why on a stock radio the default settings are at 2000 meters for both altitude and radius make sure you set it lower on a stock radio . MAKE SURE YOU BUY A TRACKER and don’t buy a phantom 2 their batteries are a ripoff BEWARE!!!!!

  54. Jason says

    Figures….I just bought a PV2 from a friend of mine who has only used it once.
    Now I’m scared to turn it on. With all these fly always, there is no fun for me in trying it cause I will just be scared that something is gonna happen to it the entire time.
    Anyone wanna buy it…cheap? Comes with extra battery
    If so
    Jasonberna@me.com

  55. Cheekid says

    Hi,

    I’m very sorry to hear about the stories posted by so many here. I can only recommend that you all ban together and document every detail in case something can be done about it in the future.

    The company will never admit guilt fore that would place the blame and liability on their shoulders. Kinda like an auto accident. Your insurance company will advise you to never admit guilt even if you know you were wrong. You take away the ability for them to fight on your behalf in doing so. This company is no different. They will do what they need to do in order to protect themselves.

    I’m glad that no one has been injured. If you’re not already a member I would also look into joining the AMA. The more people you have behind you the better. I wish you all the best and hopefully you continue.

  56. Ronald Catchpole says

    I just received confirmation from paypal that dji will send me a full refund as they found my information credible using all the stories of fly always and paypal knowing I am a experienced pilot of uav’s
    I own others and the original phantom which has never flown away
    Check your vision inside where the wires are soldered and you’ll see poor soldering practices! The wires look soldered but are just touching the board!
    The wire ties pull on the connections and make the wires break contact!
    I am in belief that is the problem and to bad dji won’t listen

  57. Jason says

    So you think resoldering the wires into the board should fix it?
    Anyone have any photos of the board and wires in question?

  58. Jason says

    Am I also right in assuming this has happened to people on the 5.8ghz frequency
    Or does it only happen to the 2.4 frequency

  59. Pascal says

    Lost my Phantom 1.1.1 last night right after installing a gimbal, new carbon props, carbon legs and I even lost my blubeam fpv antenna… Lost control about a minute after take-off, it simply started spinning around very very fast… I never saw it go so fast. I had all green lights and I have been flying for a couple of months without any issues. I am putting this back together and selling asap. Never trusting DJI again, I could have killed someone yesterday. This is the end of my drone pilot career.

  60. JL says

    I bought a Phantom 2 + Zenmuse h3-2d and had my first flight today. All went really well during this first flight. Got the hang of the device very quickly (I flew planes before). I landed the UAV fine on the first flight. Needless to say, I watched hours or should I say days of videos on Youtube which showed how great this UAV is and many times the videos showing the pre-flight procedures which I followed to the letter before taking off. I took a second flight which went fine and I decided to take a little altitude, approx 15 meters max. Strangely, the Phantom 2 started to drift… rather fast too! I flew it back to a central position i.e. towards me. I noticed that everytime it was coming back and I tried to get it to hover, it drifted more and more! Soon, flying became a fight to get it back to a central position! Eventually, it became so difficult to get it back to the central position (near the home position). I felt that it was not obeying to my controls and I decided to switch off the transmitter and let it come back home by itself… HORROR, I saw it do rapid movements in the distance towards the ground which ended up in crash in a sugar cane field (I could hear it). Because of distance and direction, it is very very difficult to identify where it precisely went down.. so tonight, the Phantom if not totally crashed will sleep outside and there is really little chance I get it back :( I flew in the evening and I only had about 1/2 hour before sun set. Really gutted! Thankfully, I did not yet mount the zenmuse, the gopro, the ground station and the FPV… If I don’t find it tomorrow and if it is not completely broken, I am not sure to go fly again. A sad day and hard-earned money wasted :(

  61. Dave says

    Hi I took my phantom 2 to a local wood to take some pics, I flew it for about 10 mins and landed it then took of again all was fine, I flew it away from me and it got about 30 feet away then I lost control of it and it took off into a tree, luckily it only broke a rotor, when I see it go off I tried to recover it using atti mode but it wasn’t having any of it, compas was calibrated and had steady flashing green lights, hope someone has an answer
    Thank you
    Dave

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