Download: DJI F550 crashes into lake

By Mark Blacklin


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On August 29th, 2015 at approximately 8:15am MST, this DJI F550 hexacopter drone crashed into Horsetooth Reservoir. I had flown three previous flights to this one at this location, with no problems. While I was nearing the end of my flight time, I was actively watching the remaining voltage through my on screen telemetry. The voltage shown indicated that continuing flying was no problem. Suddenly, the drone began descending rapidly (over 2.2m/s), so I applied more throttle in an attempt to recover. I believe a cell in the battery failed, as recovery was futile.

The drone spent 52 hours submerged in fresh water before being located by scuba divers. The 32GB SanDisk Extreme Plus microSD card that was housed within the GoPro Hero3+ Black camera was unscathed by the crash. I rinsed it in fresh tap water, then soaked it in 91% isopropyl alcohol for approximately 30 minutes to clean the contacts. After drying in a breezy window for 30 minutes, I inserted it into a SD card adapter & read it like normal in my computer.