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December 1, 2017

 

What an adventurer I had today. My buddy, Joe, and I had planned on taking out my Spark and his new Spark (that he got as a birthday gift from his wife and kids recently) for a test flight. As usual, there was a bunch of mishaps before we had a chance to actually fly them. The first problem we ran into was a GPS and compass calibration on both our Sparks. We ended up having to test on his Spark since it's possible the problem was caused by having two remote controls and two Sparks flying at the same time. Once we were able to calibrate, we still had a problem with no GPS signal. While we could  fly manually, none of the advanced features worked. With this in mind, the second problem turned into one of navigation and stability. Joe's Spark showed none of the smooth flying that I've associated with the DJI Spark. In fact, there were gross amounts of drifting especially when the drone should have been stationary when not actively controlled [this is where GPS usually comes into play]. At one point the Spark almost seemed to be flying itself. As an experienced DJI Spark pilot, I took over the controls on Joe's Spark to see if I could figure out what was wrong. Well the Spark continued to fly itself and drift right into a medium sized tree at the location we were flying. It was literally about 18-20 feet stuck in the branches. While I was trying to figure out what tools I had in my car that would let us reach that height, Joe came up with a practical solution of shaking the lowest part of the branch that was connected to the Spark. Lo and behold! it fell out of the tree. After a quick test flight, the Spark spun up the props with no apparent damage. I'll say this about the DJI Spark, it's a robust device that can survive a direct crash into a tree and still work! After relocating to a new location nearby, Joe and I were able to finally get his Spark to run with full GPS (15 satellite connections!) working. Here's a short video I took with my DJI Spark (known affectionately as Sparky Mk I). Unfortunately for me, I was unable to get my GPS to work, so I ended up flying manually at no higher than 50 feet with a close 100 feet radius. At this point, I suspect either an issue with the recent DJI app update from last week. Or an issue with running two DJI Sparks and remote controllers within close approximately of each other. Hopefully I can figure it out before we flying again!

 

Cheers,

JP

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