DJI Matrice Suffering Battery Failures

Yesterday the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued a safety notice warning that there have are problems with the batteries of the DJI Matrice 200 series and have recommending restricted their operation in the UK.

Hi there, the CAA has issued a new safety notice regarding this, read more here.

The Safety Notice

On the 26 October 2018, the CAA issued Safety Notice SN-2018/008 – Small Unmanned Aircraft DJI Matrice 200 Series In-Flight Power Failures.


“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 (SUA) were damaged upon impact, but the CAA has not received any reports of injuries to people or property.”

SN-2018/008, CAA

The DJI Matrice 200 Series
DJI Matrice 200 Series

This situation highlights one of the issues with piloting remote aircraft. That is the lack of situational awareness and reliance on sensors for information. There is a similar issue with Integrated Vehicle Health Management. If these systems don’t work or provide incorrect the pilot information then you don’t have a full understanding of what the drone is doing. And if you don’t understand what is going on then you can’t fly safely.

DJI are still investigating the issue.

What to do if you Have a DJI Matrice 200

The CAA has not banned people from flying a DJI Matrice. However, they have issued some provisions if you wish to continue flying your Matrice.

The full steps you should take are listed in the Safety Notice, but here’s a summary:

  • Update the firmware of your DJI Matrice and its batteries.
    • Once updated you must complete flight tests in a safe place away from people. You must also log these in your maintenance log book – if applicable.
  • Fly your DJI Matrice with restrictions.
    • Not fly over people, at any height. Extra permissions issues by the CAA are suspended, such as:
      • Can’t fly within 50 m of people, vessels, vehicles or structures.
      • Over or with 150 m of an open-air assembly over 1,000 people.
      • Extended visual line of sight.

And if you are an Emergency Serice you should factor the information in the Safety Notice into your operations and minimise flight over uninvolved people.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this the CAA said you should email them at uavenquiries@caa.co.uk, with the subject as “Safety Notice – DJI Matrice 200 Series In-Flight Power Failures“.

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