A couple of days ago I posted here two photos of birds in the air I’d filmed with my MA. As I posted then, my original intention was to fly about 2.5 km to the site of the last battle of the Crusaders in 1187. I tried to do that yesterday, and failed miserably because of a careless mistake. I’m going to analyze it here now, with the intention that it may prevent someone from making a similar mistake in the future.
I took off with Precision take-off, which ensured capture of the GPS take-off location, plus photo of the take-off area. I got up to 781 meters distance from the take-off point which at all times was in my line-of-site (i.e. no obstacles blocking transmission between myself and the MA), at a height of 45 meters, according to Flight Record. However at this distance I could not possibly actually see the MA. And then I got a “signal-lost” notification on my screen. I could therefore not instruct the MA to RTH, but it did it of its own accord, and after a couple of very, very tense minutes it returned and landed safely with no damage at all – apart from loss of video capture.
Analysis: While trying to take-off for the first time, I suddenly received a “Gimbal Overload” notification. Normally this notification is received when some obstruction prevents the Gimbal from moving, which usually occurs (i) if the Gimbal protective cover has not been removed, or (ii) the cover has been removed but the Gimbal has been place on an unlevel area, such as a patch of uncut grass, impeding completion of the Gimbal’s initial start-up downward movement. I moved the MA and again received the “Gimbal Overload” notification. I then moved the MA to a stony area, placing the MA on unlevel ground with its nose pointing slightly upwards. It now took-off with no problems, and continued as described above.
When the MA RTH’d I saw that I had failed to open the front legs which contain the antennae. This explains the “Gimbal-Overload” messages, because the front end of the MA was lower than usual, and the Gimbal could not point downwards as far as it is intended to at start-up time. It also explains the “Signal Lost” notification, due to the antennae not being opened. We live and learn – this time I got off easily, and must remember to put a cardiologist’s number on speed-dial!