DJI Mavic Pro 2 – Accident – 2020-08-19

Drone Manufacturer: DJI
Drone Model: Mavic Pro 2
Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Type: Accident
Date: 2020-08-19
Applies: Daytime
Pilot Qualifications: Licensed or Certificated by Aviation Authority
Pilot Flight Experience: 131 Hours
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The DJI Mavic Pro 2 unmanned aircraft (UA) was being used to carry out some aerial filming at a construction site. The aircraft was being operated by a remote pilot (RP) who was supported by an observer. At the time of the accident the RP was completing a tracking shot around personnel working on the site. Prior to this sequence of filming he had been recording in Full Point of View (FPOV) mode but to record the personnel working on the site he had changed to a High Quality (HQ) mode. Changing from FPOV to HQ video reduced the angle of view from 77° to 55° and therefore the aircraft needed to fly further away from the subject to capture a similar view. As the tracking shot was being flown the observer communicated to the RP that the UA was being flown close to a tower adjacent to the construction site. Based on the view that the RP had on the controller monitor, he determined that the UA was between the tower and the steel structure he was taking footage of, but had not accounted for the adjustment he had made for taking the HQ video footage. This positioned the aircraft further away from the subject than it appeared. The RP continued to complete the tracking manoeuvre during which the aircraft collided with the tower causing the UA to fall to a gantry platform approximately 20 m below. There were no injuries.

As a result of this accident the operator has introduced measures to help prevent reoccurrences. This includes using propeller guards when operating in areas with possible obstructions and when flying with avoidance sensors switched off. The operator has also introduced a requirement that all RPs create a virtual fence1 for each flying site within which the UA can operate safely.

Reported Cause

This accident exemplifies the need to maintain full situational awareness throughout any flight. In this instance the observer had communicated to the RP that there was a possibility of collision with an object, but the RP disregarded this information because it did not conform to his mental model of the situation.