DJI Enterprise drones the Inspire 2 and Matrice 200 range used fo aerial inspections have been subject to a CAA safety notice issued on 31 October 2018 concerning a number of reported incidents where DJI Enterprise aircraft has suffered a complete loss of power during flight, despite indications that there was sufficient battery time still remaining. This has major implication for aerial drone photography and drone filming services in the UK. In each case, this resulted in the DJI Enterprise aircraft aircraft falling directly to the ground due to the immediate loss of lift with the remote pilot unable to control its subsequent flight path.
Here are the key point in the DJI Enterprise response issued yesterday to the CAA Safety Notice.
DJI Enterprise Advises Customers To Fly With Caution
DJI Enterprise is investigating reports that a small number of TB50 and TB55 batteries have shown incorrect power levels that have led to loss of power mid-flight. Flight safety and product reliability are our top priorities, and we are advising customers to fly with caution when operating their drones equipped with these batteries. In addition, DJI is working on a firmware update that will provide improvements to flight safety for the affected drones.
DJI strongly advises customers to strictly follow regulations that are designed to mitigate the risk of a power failure, including U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prohibitions against flight over people and vehicles, and the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority’s offset requirements from people and property. Do not operate over, or in close proximity to, people or property that could be injured or damaged in the event of a power loss. Customers performing non-essential operations may also choose to delay those operations until we are able to provide more information.
DJI is taking this step out of an abundance of caution, and we are urgently working on a mitigation plan to allow customers to confidently use these batteries again as soon as possible. DJI is working on a firmware update for the affected batteries which will provide improvements to flight safety and be made available in the coming weeks. DJI will promptly update customers on the status of these efforts.
In the meantime, customers are advised to check the voltage of their TB50 or TB55 batteries before and during the flight. Instructions can be found below.*
TB55 batteries are used to power the Matrice 200 series of professional drones, while TB50 batteries are used to power the Matrice 200 series and Inspire 2 drones. A small number of customers have reported mid-air power failures while using TB55 batteries, which share similar power management firmware with the TB50. DJI is working with our battery supplier, which developed the power management algorithm for those batteries, to determine the underlying cause of those failures and develop a solution for them.
DJI is reviewing all recent reports of power problems that may be connected to this issue. Any customer who believes he or she may have experienced a related power problem involving the TB50 or TB55 battery should contact DJI customer service at dji.com/support to report the issue.
Here is an extract from report about drone photography from the BBC this week .
Police ground drones after reports they fall out of the sky
UK police have grounded some of their drones because of a fault that means the devices can fall out of the sky, BBC Radio 5 Live has found.
Recently, a police drone “experienced an in-flight issue” and landed on the roof of a commercial property.
An official warning was subsequently published explaining that some DJI Matrice 200 series drones unexpectedly suffered “complete loss of power during flight”.
DJI said it would review the reports.
The power bug results “in the aircraft falling directly to the ground”, according to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
This occurs even though the battery appears to have charge remaining.
The fault was noticed by West Midlands Police, which told BBC News:
“During a recent operation the drone experienced an in-flight issue and landed on the roof of a commercial business unit.
“The force immediately grounded the model and referred the matter directly to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).”
West Midlands Police said its sole DJI Matrice drone would not fly again unless the CAA and industry experts could prove it posed no further risk.
DJI said in a statement that it was “thoroughly reviewing” reports of power issues with the products in question.