3DR Solo – Accident – 2018-01-04

Drone Manufacturer: 3DR
Drone Model: Solo
Country: United States of America
Type: Accident
Date: 2018-01-04
Applies: Daytime
Pilot Qualifications: Unknown Status
Pilot Flight Experience: Unknown Hours
Link to External Information About This submission: https://www.safecom.gov/safecom/18-0094
File Uploaded: None


“I was flying a 3DR Solo on a Tower flight plan when the following event occurred: At 30{%} battery, I was about to toggle the fly function and bring the aircraft back to land in fly mode. I felt a vibration and received a loss of GPS warning. I again hit the A button on the controller for fly mode, but the solo continued to follow the Tower flight plan. I then received a 9{%} battery warning. This all happened within about 5 seconds. The aircraft was 200 feet AGL and approximately 500 feet away from me. I did not think I had enough battery power to return home so once I regained control I began descending the aircraft to try and land it in the sage-brush, juniper/pinon field we were in. I got the aircraft to about 10 feet AGL when it flew to the south about 70 yards before flying into a Juniper tree. All props were broken, the mount holding the camera broke off but there was no apparent damage to the camera. The antenna leg was not broken but the antenna was visible, a small strip of plastic that covers it was recovered from the site. After assessing the damage I installed new props and flight-tested the aircraft. The aircraft appeared to fly normal, but we based on the accident we decided to halt flights for the rest of the day.

I don““t know exactly what happened, other than the battery dropping from 30{{%}} to 9{{%}} within a matter of seconds. At the same time there was GPS loss, and loss of link. In other words the whole aircraft sort of went berserk. We decommissioned the battery in use, and I am now hyper aware of batteries that are over one year old. The battery in use was one of the original batteries that came with the aircraft, but until this incident showed no signs of failure. We are considering purchasing some sort of battery tester, so we can test the life of batteries before flights.”

Reported Cause

Loss of power.