A small number of incidents have been recently reported where the aircraft has suffered a complete loss of power during flight, despite indications that there was sufficient battery time still remaining.
In each case, this resulted in the aircraft falling directly to the ground due to the immediate loss of lift with the remote pilot unable to control its subsequent flight path.
The small unmanned aircraft were damaged upon impact, but the CAA has not received any reports of injuries to people or other property.
Investigation by the manufacturer DJI has confirmed that this issue is not confined to any specific firmware version and is thought to be related to the batteries TB50 and TB55. The full details of the occurrences are still being investigated.
There are four key points to be aware of:
- This Safety Notice applies to operators of multi-rotor small unmanned aircraft utilising DJI battery model TB50 or TB55, including all DJI Matrice 200 series (which includes the 200, 210 and 210 RTK platforms) and the DJI Inspire 2 (the “Affected SUA”).
- In accordance with Air Navigation Order article 253, any element of a permission based on an Operational Safety Case (OSC), issued by the CAA to an SUA operator which permits the operation of an Affected SUA to be operated:• over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
• within 50 metres of any persons;
• within 50 metres of any, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the SUA Operator or remote pilot of the SUA;
• over or within 150 metres of an open air assembly of more than 1,000 persons; or
• using EVLOS is provisionally suspended until further notice.
- In accordance with Air Navigation Order article 257 and 257(2)(c) operators of Affected SUA are hereby directed not to permit any flight that involves overflight of any persons at any height until further notice.
- These limitations will be subject to regular review. As soon as further updates have been obtained from the manufacturer, and the CAA is satisfied that this has been addressed in a satisfactory manner, the CAA will then issue a further update via the SkyWise alerts portal on the CAA website.
The CAA has advised that this notice will remain in force until further notice.
You can read the full CAA Notice for the DJI Inspire 2 here.
If you are a CAA Approved drone company flying commercially either the DJI Inspire 2 or DJI Matrice 200 drones you are effectively grounded.
This could affect all companies with OSC’S Operating Safety Cases which allow flights within 50m and in some cases down to 10m. It is ironic that most OSC’s submitted to and granted by the CAA are based on the so called improved safety and reliability of both DJI Inspire 2 or DJI Matrice 200 drones.
Any flying for OSCs are not permitted because the CAA Safety Notice relates to the DJI Inspire 2 or DJI Matrice 200 drones and if these drones are the specific UAV equipment listed in the OSC then they cannot fly. This will also affect drone hire UK and many other companies offering Drone Services.
Roy Horton who writes for Drone Photography Services is a CAA qualified Drone Pilot.