Test: Crashing a Mavic Pro + Gear 360

In News by Doc North70 Comments

Things don’t always go perfectly with video production gear, especially when you customize it for your needs, like I did in China

Upon my return to California, I was driving home along Hwy 1 and stopped near Tomales Bay at a boat yard I absolutely had to shoot with my new rig.

As I was rigging everything up, a lady across the street started banging on her window like a lunatic. I turned, and she screamed, “NO PHOTOS!” Bummer, I thought. I wanted the shot, but private property is private property. So we packed up and drove down the road to a lovely little row of restaurants on piers out into the Bay. We pulled over.

The flight was amazing. I took off along the beach and then sent the drone as far and high as I could.  At that altitude, the drone takes awhile to come down, so I maxed my descent. But in doing so, I triggered the autolanding mode. I later realized this was one problem with our plate, as it blocks the ultrasonic sensors on the bottom of the drone that let it know it’s near ground.

So now the drone is descending, whether I like it or not. And it’s way out over the Bay. Landing in water would mean Game Over for my rig. So I hightailed the drone for land, spotting a beach on the screen on my phone, which was relaying the image from the front of the Mavic. I made it there just in time, but couldn’t figure out where the drone landed.

Looking at the map showing the location of the drone, I realize it’s on the beach, just around from the boat yard. Driving over to the nearest pull off of Highway 1, I was met with a big No Trespassing sign and barbed wire. I took a deep breath. Private property is private property, but my drone is my drone. I climbed through the fence and headed down to the beach, hoping the drone was OK and the lunatic lady didn’t spot me.

You can watch the entire flight here in 360: https://youtu.be/MOvya7i9ExQ

I come up on the drone to find it like this.

It was unharmed! But the 360 camera was off. I didn’t get the shot! Then I realized that it might have landed right on the record button when it landed. Sure enough, that’s what happened.

I’ve since learned that I need to deactivate all the sensors on the drone. Who really wants obstacle avoidance anyway?

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