Air crash investigation

I installed a new radio module with two way telemetry and better features. My mom turned 70 this week and we went to visit her the weekend before in Tzaneen, Limpopo.

I took the plane with to take some aerial photos of the area and also to test out the new module.

In the second flight, I lost line of sight to the aircraft, then signal and then it never came back. A frantic search followed and using the directionality of the new module’s patch antenna, I could home in on the location of the plane.

Finally I could get close enough to get a telemetry link again to the laptop, where it revealed it’s position to me on the map.

I recovered the on-board video, and after a lot of head scratching and speculation, downloading of logs and analyzing of logs, I found that the plane had switched out of autopilot, and into manual mode.

It turns out I understood how the fail-safe worked wrong and that it was set up to set the autopilot into manual, rather than “return to launch” mode when it lost signal!

Luckily the damage was very little and some hot glue and 5 mins later, it is ready to fly again,

The video below tells the story from the plane’s perspective, crash included.


About delabu

I am a software developer, coding mainly in Java and specializing in the GIS field.

3 responses to “Air crash investigation”

  1. Neline says :

    Oeps! I am laughing histerically

  2. Brenden says :

    Have u had consistent results with fail safe since then? I’ve had success in the air so far and I test it every flight. However, bench testing recently revealed that when testing fail safe multiple times every once in a while it would go to manual instead of circle/rtl. Maybe it is a radio calibration issue on my end. Just wondering about your experience.

    • delabu says :

      Sorry for the slow reply – I have not had a fail safe related problem since the original. I must be honest, that I have not tested it as often as you seem to do, though…

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