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It's raining drones, but just one specimen: DJI's Matrice 200 quadcopter

UK's Civil Aviation Authority grounds kit after 'complete loss of power' mid-flight reported

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority has temporarily grounded DJI's Matrice 200 following reports of the commercially used drone suffering a complete loss of power mid-flight and crashing to Earth.

Chinese firm DJI has admitted its engineers are "urgently" probing customer claims related to the waterproof quadcopter series, which was released in 2017 and is used for surveying and by emergency services.

The CAA felt sufficiently compelled to issue a safety notice for the multi-rotor small unmanned aircraft (SUA):

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 crashed 3.8kg Matrice 200s were a little worse for wear, but the CAA has not received reports of injury to people or damage to property.

The authority cautioned of a provisional suspension of operations for any SUA operators or remote pilots of the affected drone until “the current issues have been satisfactorily addressed".

The exact number of the SUAs that have crashed was unspecified by the CAA or DJI, but the company insisted its products are "tested for thousands of hours" and the "overwhelming number of customers enjoy using our products with minimal disruption".

"We are looking to implement additional safeguards," DJI stated on its website. "When prompted on the DJI Pilot App, we recommend all customers to connect to the internet on the app or DJI Assistant 2 and update the firmware for their aircraft and all batteries to ensure a safe flight with their drone."

The steps are given in more detail here. ®

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