3DR Solo – Incident – 2017-07-12

Drone Manufacturer: 3DR
Drone Model: Solo
Country: United States of America
Type: Incident
Date: 2017-07-12
Applies: Daytime
Pilot Qualifications: Unknown Status
Pilot Flight Experience: Unknown Hours
Link to External Information About This submission: https://www.safecom.gov/safecom/17-0592
File Uploaded: None


Shortly after take off, during the 20-20 check, the Solo began moving in a manner different than directed by the handheld controller input. The movement was different than a loss of gps situation when fly manual is initiated, because the Solo responded intermittently to the sticks but also to what seemed like some other random signal – flying to and fro, up and down, all around, with mixed response to the sticks in between the erratic movements. I was able to get the Solo in close enough to land, touched down, with motors powering down {with left stick fully straight down}. Just before the propellers fully stopped, they started up again, and the Solo did a flip putting the rotors into the ground. The propellers continued to spin at full speed while upside-down with the left stick pulled fully down for approximately 5-10 seconds before shutting down with an audible “crash detected“ message. The occurrence of what seems to be a competing signal with the controllers and some unknown random signal has happened 3 times now on this same aircraft at different locations on different days. In each case, Mission Planner was connected {with same laptop each time} to the Solo and the Solo was being flown with the Solo App as the GCS {in order to get a full screen display of the FOV while getting lats/longs of a particular waypoint from Mission Planner}. The aircraft has the mRobotics GPS installed, and was carrying a Peau Productions 87 lens modified Go Pro Hero 4 black.

After each event like this, all equipment was powered off, cleaned, parts fixed/replaced if needed {e.g. propellers in the last event}. The Solo showed no signs of similar behavior on subsequent flights, nor did I try to fly with Mission Planner and Solo App concurrently connected. At this point, I suspect that it is due to the concurrent connectivity between Mission Planner and the Solo App. It hasn““t happened while connected to Tower and Mission Planner. But, I really don““t have full proof that this is the cause of the incident. I would like to identify the cause so that this can be avoided during future missions. If anyone has lessons from a similar situation, I““d like to know about them. Thanks.

Reported Cause

Erratic control.