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So... what happened?

I was flying my Yuneec Typhoon H480 yesterday over a protected forest near my house. I had no line of sight to the drone, so I was relying on the camera view on my ST16. I was not nervous because I had flown much greater distances before without a line of sight before. However, after about 50-60 seconds into the flight, I lost the signal. All the gauges and data (distance, speed, altitude, etc.) on my ST16 disappeared and the live footage from my flight disappeared. All I could see now was blank gauges, the connecting to RC and connecting to WIFI popup, and the stock blank background the ST16 gives (the one that looks like a bluish mountainscape). Obviously, since I was flying over a heavily wooded area and lost signal, I got scared and expected the worst. I waited for myST16 to reconnect (which it did) and immediately flipped the switch from Angle to Return to Home mode.

A few Notes:
- I am a semi-experienced drone pilot. I have flown a lot of drones before, but I have flone my Typhoon H only about 6 times. It is my first high end or professional drone.
- The drone was somewhere between 1200-1500 feet away from me when it lost signal. I can't exactly recall the exact distance it was though.
- I had calibrated the compass, gimbal, and accelerometer the day earlier before this flight. I calibrated the gimbal and accelerometer successfully, but not the compass. I didn't know how to. I just set my drone on a flat surface and thought the compass would calibrate itself, but now I know I was wrong.
- After my drone returned back to me thanks to the return to home mode, I flew it again to see what would happen (much closer to me this time so I have a Line of Sight). I kept getting a recalibrate compass pop-up on my ST16, so I opened a youtube tutorial and did it correctly this time (using the flashing lights and rotating it twice and everything).
- I reviewed footage of my drone that it recorded from its camera. During the time signal was lost, the Typhoon H stayed in place until it reconnected and I turned on Return to Home.

Thanks for your help. I've seen what the community can do and you guys are amazing. I'm just really scared and don't want this to happen again because I fly over a lot of wooded and forested areas and I can't risk losing such an expensive drone.
 

PatR

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A key point to take away from this event is “line of sight”. It’s not just the pilot that has to see the aircraft, the transmitter and receiver need to “see” each other too. The frequencies used in the Typhoon H cannot effectively penetrate obstructions so obstructions, such as trees, that prevents us from seeing the aircraft also block the control and video signals. So “line of sight” covers more than just visual aspects of a flight.

Sounds like your system worked perfectly and as designed. It came back when signal was lost.
 

Mrgs1

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I'll chip in, others can disagree with me.
That's a good distance to fly and maintain Fpv with stock antennas I take it? Is it wise to fly beyond line of sight? You were taking a lot of chances. Be thankful you got back in one piece, and I would suggest reading the comprehensive manual on here. If you fly line of sight it's a get out of jail card, you can bring the copter back, if you lose FPV.
 
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A key point to take away from this event is “line of sight”. It’s not just the pilot that has to see the aircraft, the transmitter and receiver need to “see” each other too. The frequencies used in the Typhoon H cannot effectively penetrate obstructions so obstructions, such as trees, that prevents us from seeing the aircraft also block the control and video signals. So “line of sight” covers more than just visual aspects of a flight.

Sounds like your system worked perfectly and as designed. It came back when signal was lost.
Hey, thanks for your reply. I don't get it though. I have flown my drone more than 2600 feet away without a line of sight and all has been well. What went wrong here? I understand the whole line of sight thing, and I will keep that in mind next time as well.
 
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I'll chip in, others can disagree with me.
That's a good distance to fly and maintain Fpv with stock antennas I take it? Is it wise to fly beyond line of sight? You were taking a lot of chances. Be thankful you got back in one piece, and I would suggest reading the comprehensive manual on here. If you fly line of sight it's a get out of jail card, you can bring the copter back, if you lose FPV.
Thanks for the reply. Basically, what you're saying is if I can't see it, don't fly it I take it?
 

Mrgs1

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Thanks for the reply. Basically, what you're saying is if I can't see it, don't fly it I take it?
Your free to fly how you like, people on here are just suggesting ways to keep you flying safely and in control. When you go beyond line of sight you have to contend with a lag on video, by the time you see it you've already hit it! It's surprising how far you can see the copter, just look after it and if you have any problems, there are plenty here who can help.
 

DoomMeister

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In a very open flat field my TH would lose video sync around 1800 feet away at 100 feet AGL. I still had RC Control at somewhat greater distance. The point being that was well within VLOS as well as Radio LOS. Trees are very good at absorbing RF energy and especially the 5.8 GHz WiFi signal for the camera feed (the reason so many FPV fliers use 900 MHz composite video feed).

For how the TH responds to loss of control signal (RC connection) refer to page 28 of the attached User Manual. So be sure to set your RTH height to clear any obstacles in your flight area.
 

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In a very open flat field my TH would lose video sync around 1800 feet away at 100 feet AGL. I still had RC Control at somewhat greater distance. The point being that was well within VLOS as well as Radio LOS. Trees are very good at absorbing RF energy and especially the 5.8 GHz WiFi signal for the camera feed (the reason so many FPV fliers use 900 MHz composite video feed).

For how the TH responds to loss of control signal (RC connection) refer to page 28 of the attached User Manual. So be sure to set your RTH height to clear any obstacles in your flight area.
Thanks for your input. I guess ultimately, it comes back to my user error and all the gambles I took with it. Can you elaborate on that thing you are saying about the 900 mhz composite feed? Also, my RTH height is 300 feet Is that enough?
 

PatR

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Hey, thanks for your reply. I don't get it though. I have flown my drone more than 2600 feet away without a line of sight and all has been well. What went wrong here? I understand the whole line of sight thing, and I will keep that in mind next time as well.
I’ve no intentions of initiating a how far is too far or can you still see it discussion. You already know the answers to those, and the questions you are asking a indicate a desire to know more than that.

So what caused a distance between one flight and another? There are many possibilities. A height above obstruction difference could be one. Material density of the obstructions is another. Moisture content of foliage is another still. Higher atmospheric humidity levels is another. Orientation of transmitter antennas. Position of your body relative to the aircraft and transmitter. Slope of terrain, higher, lower, or level.

Most people don’t have any idea how RC and radio transmission works. They don’t understand how difference in frequencies impact signal strength and useful distance. Antennas, hmmm. As long as they are present they will work fine, right? WRONG! Radio is radio, right? Wrong again, and wrong big time.

Being very candid, when we get into this stuff it’s on each of us to learn as much as we can about the various features, functions, and methods under which we operate. We need to learn that stuff BEFORE we start exploring the edges of the envelope instead of after we scare ourselves or lose an aircraft. It’s our responsibility, not a manufacturers’s.

Be happy Yuneec foresaw that users would try to run before they knew how to crawl and built in a “save yourself from yourself” feature with auto return after loss of the C2 link. They also incorporated a means to limit the operational distance to help people avoid violating the law. A lot of people don’t like or want that limitation, but the law is what it is. We aren’t supposed to be selective in which laws we will obey and which we won’t

RTH height essentially refers to the height needed to clear any obstacles in a straight line path between the aircraft and you. As an example, where I fly I don’t have many obstacles higher than 80’-90’ above the ground so my RTH height is set for 120’. If I’m flying over rising terrain and elevate the aircraft to stay above the rising terrain’s obatacles I know the aircraft will clear all the obstacles behind it because it will stay at any altitude higher than RTH height if and when RTH is triggered.
 
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Steve Carr

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- I reviewed footage of my drone that it recorded from its camera. During the time signal was lost, the Typhoon H stayed in place until it reconnected and I turned on Return to Home.
A note of clarification: The auto RTH only occurs when the Control Signal is lost. Loosing the video signal will not trigger an auto RTH. You should still see telemetry info on the display if you loose video feed.
The best practice for most people is to change to Home mode immediately. Only switch back to Angle after you have a visual and can determine the aircraft orientation. If you loose video feed you can also use the green arrow on the screen to fly home. Move the right stick in the direction the green arrow is pointing.
 
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I’ve no intentions of initiating a how far is too far or can you still see it discussion. You already know the answers to those, and the questions you are asking a desire to know more than that.

So what caused a distance between one flight and another? There are many possibilities. A height above obstruction difference could be one. Material density if the obstructions is another. Moisture content of foliage is another still. Higher atmospheric humidity levels is another. Orientation of transmitter antennas. Position of your body relative to the aircraft and transmitter. Slope of terrain, higher, lower, or level.

Most people don’t have any idea how RC and radio transmission works. The don’t understand how difference in frequencies impact signal strength and useful distance. Antennas, hmmm. As ling as they are present they will work fine, right? WRONG! Radio is radio, right? Wrong again, and wrong big time.

Being very candid, when we get into this stuff it’s in each of us to learn as much as we can about the various features, functions, and methods under which we operate. We need to learn that stuff BEFORE we start exploring the edges of the envelope instead of after we scare ourselves or lose an aircraft. It’s our responsibility, not a manufacturers’s.

Be happy Yuneec foresaw that users would try to run before they knew how to crawl and built in a “save yourself from yourself” feature with auto return after loss of the C2 link. They also incorporated a means to limit the operational distance to help people avoid violating the law. A lot of people don’t like or want that limitation, but the law is what it is. We aren’t supposed to be selective in which laws we will obey and which we won’t

RTH height essentially refers to the height needed to clear any obstacles in a straight line oath between the aircraft and you. As an example, where I fly I don’t have many obstacles higher than 80’-90’ above the ground so my rTH height is set for 120’. If I’m flying over rising terrain and elevate the aircraft to stay above the rising terrain’s obatacles I know the aircraft will clear all the obstacles behind it because it will stay at any altitude higher than RTH height if and when RTH is triggered.
Thank you. This clears up alot for me.
 
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FYI, if you hold a 107 and you crash your drone under such a scenario, you probably can expect to answer some questions from the gubbermint after you fill out the accident reports, even a 480 refurbed exceeds the $500 threshhold.

 

Mrgs1

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A note of clarification: The auto RTH only occurs when the Control Signal is lost. Loosing the video signal will not trigger an auto RTH. You should still see telemetry info on the display if you loose video feed.
The best practice for most people is to change to Home mode immediately. Only switch back to Angle after you have a visual and can determine the aircraft orientation. If you loose video feed you can also use the green arrow on the screen to fly home. Move the right stick in the direction the green arrow is pointing.
I believe RTH auto is after a set time? Certainly all mine on the very odd occasion, have stayed put for for a while, luckily they have reconnected the control by then and I can carry on, I have gone higher too, and reconnected.
 

Mrgs1

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FYI, if you hold a 107 and you crash your drone under such a scenario, you probably can expect to answer some questions from the gubbermint after you fill out the accident reports, even a 480 refurbed exceeds the $500 threshhold.

Has OP given his location?
 

John Hennessy

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I am still amazed at people who insist on FLYING BEYOND LINE OF SITE, and it appears to me that ABSAALepic941 who just joined the forum recently and is only 14 years old needs to read the rule book and manual about LINE OF SIGHT and stop flying illegally . What hope have we got if a 14 year old insists on flying BVLOS , it does not go well for our future. Just my 2 Bobs worth from Australia.
Johnno Hennessy. Keep flying on the green side of the grass.
 
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Sounds like you've gotten some pretty good answers here already, but just thought I'd join the conversation. It can be disappointing to only go a 1/4 mile & lose picture, but keep in mind what this thing was designed to do. It says the range should be more like a mile, but that's in optimal conditions. Behind trees is far from optimal. I'm with PatR in the thought of you don't want to get into a "discussion" about flying without VLOS around here. It's been done countless times... to death... & usually becomes a heated argument. Are we supposed to have VLOS on our bird at all times? Yes. Does every RC pilot fly like that every time? No. It's definitely the way to go, but... There's all kinds of stories on the internet of guys doing this, that, or the other, but it goes back to, "What was this bird designed to do?" 2.4ghz control with 5.8ghz wifi hd video is not designed to go long distance through trees. I've been out of the hobby for several years, but when I got my first quad back in 2012, before the DJI Phantom & all these "smart drones", guys were making their own stuff & if they wanted to fly distance they were using 900mhz UHF for control with 5.8ghz for video (no hd/wifi) with tracking helical antennas & the such. It's a different game now. These "smart drones" have fallen into the hands of the "not so smart" & they've pretty much ruined it for the rest. RC flying has been around for decades & it never was a problem because people had to know what they were doing. That type of person typically had the wherewithal to be smart about what they were doing as well. Once the Phantom came out, every Tom, Dick, & Harry wanted to fly & too many were clueless. Now the FAA's involved & we're all at the mercy of "The Man"... the price of "progress" I guess.
 
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