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Karma Flight School: Karma vs. Construction Yard

Shon

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Intro:
In this series of threads, I will be analyzing crash videos in an effort to learn more about the limitations of technology in the Karma Drone, and how to avoid such issues myself. Hopefully such analysis will help us all fly better and avoid potentially problematic flights. I'm interested in hearing from other experienced pilots regarding their observations or "tips of the trade".


Pilot Statement: Watch the video...the pilot offers some crucial clues as to what happened. His conclusion is that a local prison may have been jamming the signal.

Analysis:

The Karma is very sensitive to electronic interference. Not just where the drone is located, but where the controller is in relation to the drone. Notice that the pilot is flying near a corrugated metal building. The pilot is standing near the building, which might cause some problems, but he doesn't seem that close to the building. In addition, there are power-lines all around the pilot. Mentioned by the pilot in the video, he is flying near the Sheriff's Department. The communications array on top of the Sheriff's department (radio antennas, cell phone tower, repeaters, etc) could DEFINITELY be cause for electronic interference.

At the start of video...the drone is very unstable in the air, and drifting wildly. There is a wide contrast between how the drone is acting in the construction yard, and how it is acting in the pilot's back yard. This is a red flag, that if paid attention to...might indicate the drone is experiencing interference or malfunction, and it is better to land. The flight dynamics at the start of the video, prior to loss of GPS, are similar to what i would expect AFTER GPS loss.

Speaking of GPS Loss...the drone can be flown with GPS loss...but it is EXTREMELY difficult to fly. The drone has no reference point for it's location relative to the ground and can drift wildly. I noticed, when experiencing GPS loss, the pilot turned the camera back to himself. I strongly recommend, when landing the drone, turn the camera away from the pilot. It might sound counter-intuitive, but the drone can fly just as well backwards as it can forwards. With the camera facing away from the pilot...the controls will operate more intuitively...right is right...left is left... and the drone will be easier to control when compensating for drift. if the camera is facing towards the pilot as they are trying to land...(on the controls) right moves the drone left...left moves the drone right...it is confusing...

With just GPS loss, the pilot might have been able to maintain control with some difficulty. With the drone facing towards the pilot, along with possible interference from power-lines, and electronic interference from the Sheriff's department, I can see how the drone might have sped off uncontrollably. If the pilot were to send a crash report to GoPro Care, I suspect they would tell the pilot that the location was a factor in the crash. This is especially true as the pilot was able to fly in their back yard with little problem.


How to Avoid:
1. Be aware of hazards and scout the area before you fly.
2. When your drone takes off...just hover for a minute...is your drone stable? is it responsive to your controls? Is it drifting to much? Maybe there is an unknown hazard..or you have a bad connection...is it better to land rather than take a chance of a crash or worse?
3. When landing ALWAYS land manually. Also... if possible while maintaining control of the drone...face the camera away from you...so the drone will be easier to control upon landing.
 
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IM35461

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I think rather than keeping restarting the controller I would have restarted the drone.

Also was WiFi turned off on the Karma Controller?

Lots of possible sources of signal interference in an industrial area and I think for commercial / source of income that a better drone would be advised with more resilience and advanced communication technology between drone and controller.

In the UK around our prisons flying is not permitted and most have basic anti-drone technology e.g. mesh on windows and netting to tangle the propellers.

EDIT: Also forgot the Karma's compass seems very easy to upset and thus anything big and magnetic upsets it.
 
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james shih

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Your analysis is just comprehensive, I wonder if the pilot has done the "compass" calibration in that construction yard (the controller should state "calibration is fail") before the taking-off.
 
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JCLs

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Also was WiFi turned off on the Karma Controller?

.
Do you understand that the Karma uses WiFi for control and video/data from the quad? (Two little patch antennas inside controller. One for transmitting, one for receiving.) Is how they get around any radio licensing requirements. What do you mean by is WiFi turned off in the controller?

Flying around prisons in US is illegal and at many large facilities counter measurers are in use.

Yes flying without GPS is much touchier but very possible. I still say buy cheap non-stabilized quad and learn to fly it well before blasting off with the Karma. I have only crashed my Karma once since it came out and because I was auto circling a house and tagged tree in back yard I could see from front yard! Broke base of arm and 4 blades is all. Haven’t even broke any more blades. I can fly RC helies and built my own quad before getting a Karma and know how to fly.




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IM35461

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Do you understand that the Karma uses WiFi for control and video/data from the quad? (Two little patch antennas inside controller. One for transmitting, one for receiving.) Is how they get around any radio licensing requirements. What do you mean by is WiFi turned off in the controller?

Flying around prisons in US is illegal and at many large facilities counter measurers are in use.

Yes flying without GPS is much touchier but very possible. I still say buy cheap non-stabilized quad and learn to fly it well before blasting off with the Karma. I have only crashed my Karma once since it came out and because I was auto circling a house and tagged tree in back yard I could see from front yard! Broke base of arm and 4 blades is all. Haven’t even broke any more blades. I can fly RC helies and built my own quad before getting a Karma and know how to fly.




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Also useful to disable when not needed.
 

james shih

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I didn't notice that even the WiFi connection can be affected within the communication between the controller and karma during flying, I think I will turn off the WiFi connection next time to see the consequence, but it might be not convenient when there is an up date requirement.
 

JCLs

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That WiFi is to connect to a local WiFi for updating etc., the WiFi in almost every house, apartment, offfice, etc. It is needed to download updates etc. I am pretty sure when you setup and fly the connection is shut down. I would think it has to be. Local WiFi networks are primary cause of Karma interference issues when flying. I know I have to usually reconnect when checking for an update.
 

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