In the world of drone photography, accidents can happen even to the most experienced pilots. Almost two years ago, I had a heart-stopping moment when my beloved Skydio 2 drone crashed unexpectedly.
We planned on capturing some sweet autonomous flight videos of his VW Golf R, but something ended up horribly wrong. In June 2021, this took place.
Due to its heartbreaking nature, I removed it from the video below.
It has taken me some time to process this situation. It was a big deal when the drone flew off on its own.
All the good footage from the Skydio 2 drone, before things went south.
As you can see in this next video, it lost sight of the car.
While cruising around with my friend, I was both nervous and excited. If it gets stuck or needs to catch up to the car, the Skydio 2 really moves. It’s incredible!
Seeing the drone fly away from us made me sick to my stomach.
When I saw something had happened, I jumped out of the car, but was never able to reconnect with the drone. The aircraft’s radio signal was never intercepted by us as we drove up and down the road.
Myself, Amanda, and her brother set out the following day to find the little blue bird.
My best effort was to create a Google Maps pin using the Skydio 2 data and shared it with everyone.
We searched a strip of land of about a 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile I believe.
Since much of the area is covered in swampland, we wore ski goggles despite the 90-degree weather.
We had been losing hope when Amanda found the drone at the very last minute!
I give her mad credit!
After receiving replacement props, the drone was ready to fly again.
Trying to follow the car from outside would have been difficult since it would have been hard to stay in touch with my friend. As the beacon is supposed to be attached to the person being tracked, it wouldn’t have worked.
As it turns out, I should have used the Skydio 2 Controller since it has 3.5 km of range instead of 1.5 with the Beacon.
Skydio 2 vs Skydio 2+
Range to Beacon (line of sight, ideal conditions*) Up to 1.5 km vs Up to 3 km
Perhaps these improvements to the Beason and Controller would have done little to resolve this issue, but combined with many software updates, I hope this situation will occur less often.
Unfortunately, Skydio 2 responded that they didn’t see anything out of the ordinary and couldn’t explain why the drone acted the way it did. I wanted answers, what went wrong?
As I recall, I was flying with the Beacon alone, which has a range of up to 1.5 km and doesn’t have any manual control in the case of a fly away.
Now in 2023, I am still considering purchasing the latest Skydio 2+ drone. While I acknowledge that it may not be flawless, the manufacturer has released several software updates since its initial release, and I am aware that they have enhanced the range of both the drone and controller transmitters through various improvements.
It still amazes me that a drone can capture you doing just about anything while you concentrate on the task at hand. It’s something DJI hasn’t come close to, at least not nearly as impressively.
In conclusion, the crash and subsequent rescue of my Skydio 2 drone was a valuable learning experience. Despite the initial frustration and disappointment of the crash, we were able to persevere and use the data from the drone.
Overall, while the crash was certainly a setback, it ultimately served as an opportunity for growth and improvement in my drone piloting skills.