Drone Manufacturer: DJI
Drone Model: Inspire 1
Country: United States of America
Pilot Qualifications: Licensed or Certificated by Aviation Authority
Pilot Flight Experience: 30 Hours
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The Inspire 1 took off to take a video of an American flag on a pole approximately 50 feet above ground. Weather was good with clear sky and a light and variable wind with some wind gusts. There were two operators one controlling video and the gimbal and the other controlling the drone. The drone was orbiting the flagpole and when it reached the far end the video operator requested the drone stay stationary to get a photo of the flag while looking back towards the operators with the flag in the foreground. At this time the landing gear of the inspire was raised and the camera was pointed to the rear of the drone. Once the photos were complete the wind gusts picked up and brought the large flag closer to the drone. The video operator provided a verbal announcement letting the drone operator know that the flag was getting close to the drone. The drone operator then looked away from the drone down at the video stream to gauge where the flag was and then applied reverse input into the controls and flew the drone into the flag. The drone struck the flag causing a loss of thrust from the propellers and then the drone impacted the ground approximately 45 feet below. The drone landed into grass with some concrete cinder blocks in the area. The gimbal dislodged from the drone, 2 props were damaged, and the left arm on the inspire between the motors snapped in half.
The pilot’s temporary disorientation by looking away from the drone at the video screen and abrupt corrective action by applying backward input instead of forward input.