I’ve had two accidents with my new Phantom 2 Vision+. Both were caused by pilot error. No terrorist attack, no equipment malfunction, no weather issue, just an aggressive pilot with a new multicopter anxious to capture videos from vantage points never before available (to me).
The first pilot error resulted from a failure to verify a GPS connection. I imagine this must be a common issue because when I received the drone back from the DJI Service Center, there was a flyer in the box reminding me to verify that the Phantom had obtained it’s GPS prior to flight.
The second accident resulted from lack of focus on my surroundings. We were filming the first hole at a golf course when the drone flew by the green and landed in a Pine tree (see the picture of the cherry picker retrieving the uninjured Phantom). Instead of positioning a spotter at the green, we piloted the Phantom from 300 yards out and in the delight of collecting the stunning video, we lost location perspective. While we thought we were over the hole, when we were actually thirty yards past it.
Both of these events got me thinking about the need to have a preflight checklist that would force me to cognitively review each flight step to enhance the likelihood of success.
So with each new flight, I started scribbling notes to incorporate into my preflight checklist… until I came across a checklist constructed by a far more experienced pilot. Why reinvent the wheel?
I found it on Public Safety Flight in an article written by Steve Rhode on “Why the DJI Phantom is the Best and Worst Public Safety Drone to Use”.
A little about Public Safety Flight:
“The Public Safety Flight website is dedicated to news, information, tips, and stories about the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), UAVs, aircraft, and drones in the fire service, law enforcement, and emergency medical services.The site was founded by Steve Rhode, an FAA licensed pilot, experienced UAS pilot, and journalist. Steve also works closely with fire departments and others to develop this cutting-edge technology.”
So here’s the ultimate preflight checklist:
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com