I turned 50 (a few years back) when I was in the deep dark stages of my first radiation and chemo cancer treatment, and my kids bought me a drone to give me a distraction and reason to get out of the house. It was an early DJI Phantom 3 which is big and bulky but it gave me a taste of aerial photography that I continue to enjoy.
I’ve upgraded drones a couple of times since then and love to include the downward perspective in my YouTube videos and social media post images. My current drone is a DJI Mavic Air 2 and its an amazing bit of machinery for the price with a pretty good camera on board.
Like all drone pilots I’ve crashed a few times but usually the drone has saved itself and got back into the air or the landing has been somewhere soft. The other day however luck caught up with me and the drone ended up stuck atop a pretty tall tree in grazing country out behind Stanthorpe.
Thankfully the tree was climbable… well it would have been when I was a bit younger and more nimble, now though it was a struggle, hampered by a bit of vertigo. But I got high enough to break off a stick and give the drone a poke to dislodge it from its resting place in fork of the tree, but my attempt to catch it on the way past was worse than a slips fieldsman on crack – the drone fell about 8m to the ground with a splat.
I didn’t realise at the time but the whole episode was witnessed by a cranky looking eastern bearded dragon lizard who was not impressed by me disturbing his morning slumber in the sun.
After clambering back down the tree I picked up the battered little aircraft to find its gimbal camera hanging limply by a cable like a half removed gonad, and a couple of its rotor arms twisted into a position they shouldn’t be in. Despite beeping weakly it was clear the patient wouldn’t recover so I snuffed out her lights by removing the battery.
DJI has a great repair service where they send you a postage return slip, you send the aircraft to them and they send back a repair quote. I was surprised at how reasonable the quote was, $280 to “repair” and return the drone. There was some fine print that said the serial number would be updated which I read as code for “we’ll send you another drone because its not worth repairing this one” – so I get a new (or remanufactured) drone for a fraction of the price of buying another. How good is that!
So we’re back in the air with a reincarnated drone, all her old settings and SD card are now in a fitter new body and she flies great.
Here’s a wrap up of the incident to give you a smile. 🙂