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Maiden flight - Return to launch reliability/issue


New Member
Dec 27, 2017
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Hi all,

Bought my Karma about 3 weeks ago in the UK, took it out for its maiden flight today. Wide open park space with very few obstacles as I wanted to get to grips with the controls, being the first time and all.

Anyway, my take off position was towards the edge of a big open field, a few metres inwards away from some trees (in hindsight I should have gone a lot further in, but the field was very muddy). The first couple of take-offs/landings went smoothly, no issues. However, the third time, take off was fine, manoeuvred around for a few minutes and then when the battery was around the 5 minute mark decided I'd better start the return to launch sequence before it got too critical. Only this time, the drone shot upwards (I know there is a specified height at which the drone engages the auto land sequence) but unlike previous occasions it positioned itself about a few metres to the left of where my original take off point was, directly over the trees at the edge of the field.

At this point it looked as though it would start descending directly over the trees, rather than on the previous occasions where it positioned itself above the original take off spot, then descended as expected. Therefore, nerves got the better of me and I cancelled the auto land feature (by pressing the little X in the corner of the screen) and regained control. Once back in control I navigated it back to the open field, however, the drone seemed to have a bit of a mind of its own and kept trying to do its own thing, ending up a lot further into the middle of the field. So i walked closer to it to make sure I was definitely in range (the drone is roughly 80-100ft altitude at this point). Finally I got it quite low to the ground ready to bring down manually around 6-7ft). At which point the critical battery warning appeared and again auto-pilot land seemed to kick in (i thought i had cancelled it again but maybe in the hysteria of the moment i didn't). Unfortunately this time instead of going upwards it bolted straight towards me at quite a low height (perhaps it was quickly trying to return to launch and I was stood in the direct line). As I was already bringing it in to land the combination of moving forwards and down at the same time, plus the panic of it heading straight at me meant I seemed to be grappling for control and crash landed into the boggy field. The forward momentum meant landing on such an angle that the two front propellers were obliterated. Thankfully that seems to be the extent of the damage, and the two spares propellers provided mean that I can still fly, although I have bought a new set of propellers as back-up.

So, questions after this first experience....

Auto land feature - how reliable is this? was I right to cancel it once it positioned over the trees? has anyone else suffered these kind of problems where it seems to get confused from where it took off.

The second auto-land moment due to the critical battery, was the behaviour of the drone normal as it seemed erratic and unpredictable?

Thirdly, is it possible to find out exactly what happened, via the flight logs? as I'm sure there was an element of rookie user error but at the same time i'd like to understand what/if anything I did wrong...

Any input would be gladly appreciated.
It's my understanding, and based on the conversations in the forum, only GoPro has access to the log data.
My auto-land seems to function fine but I usually bring the drone back into close proximity where I'm going to land.
I've landed my Karma several times directly in front of me...going to rethink this based on your experience.

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