DJI Avata props explode: drone lost in lake

Good day, folks. This is Shawn from Air Photography. Yes, the title of this video isn't clickbait: my DJI Avata drone is somewhere in the lake. It fell from the sky and plunged into the water. Recently, there have been some changes in my life, prompting me to hit the road for four months, until September. For the past week, I've been staying at my aunt's permanent trailer along Lake Erie. The views here are beautiful, so I've been flying quite a bit.

Watch the DJI Avata props explode in this video

YouTube video

Yesterday, a friend came over and we planned to take our RCs for some crawling and, of course, to fly our drones. We chose a spot on a cliff, an ideal location to fly along the coast. He was going to pilot his DJI FPV, and I was set to fly the Avata.

I launched my Avata, which was airborne for about 30 seconds. After switching it into sport mode and guiding it over the water, I heard a pop. The drone spiraled downward in my goggles, eventually crashing into the water. It's always devastating when something like this happens.

Later that day, I reviewed the footage at home to determine what went wrong. At first glance, I thought a bird strike might be the culprit because two dark objects appeared on the screen just before the spiraling began. However, upon closer examination and slowing down the footage, it became clear that these were two halves of one of the drone's propellers. An accompanying message in my goggles advised me to check if the propellers were functioning correctly.

I know some might suggest this could be due to over-tightening of the props, which I know can be an issue. However, I've been flying drones for a long time and am very cautious about this. The propellers on this particular were the factory-installed ones. I had conducted about 50 flights with this drone and hadn't touched the propellers, so their tightness came straight from the factory. It's strange that they would shatter like that without any apparent reason.

I have reached out to DJI and filed a Flyaway Report. Since I have the Refresh service, I'm hoping they'll determine the cause to be a mechanical error, not user error.

Perhaps they won't charge me the fee, but if it's necessary, I am prepared to pay. I have submitted my logs and the video footage from the goggles to them, and now we must wait for their response. However, as I'll be on the road for four months, receiving shipped products will prove challenging.

In light of this, I've ordered a second DJI Avata from , which is due for delivery today. I'll need to drive to London to pick it up. I figured it would be prudent to have a backup drone, hence the new order. I'm taking three drones with me on my travels – the Mini 3 Pro, the Mavic 3, and the Avata. The DJI Avata is my favorite, and I plan to fly it most often, so it makes sense to have a spare in case of mishaps.

A word of advice to fellow drone operators: inspect your propellers frequently for cracks, and avoid overtightening them, as it may lead to damage. DJI drones are incredibly safe and reliable, alleviating much of the anxiety associated with flying.

However, the incident with the shattered propeller has somewhat shaken my confidence. Had the drone been flying over land, I could have simply replaced the propeller and resumed flying.

The drone is quite durable, but over water, retrieval becomes impossible. This experience has made me more cautious. I might be reluctant to fly over water again, though I'm thankful the drone fell into water and didn't risk damaging property or causing injury.

Keep an eye out for updates from my travels. I'll be posting vlogging videos during my journey. In fact, I plan to release an update this weekend, as I'll be moving to a different campsite soon.

Thank you for watching, and I'll see you in the next one.


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Shawn Air Photography
Shawn Air Photography

Hi my name is Shawn and I love filming and capturing this beautiful planet of ours with my GoPro and DJI drones. My channel features some of the camera gear I really enjoy and want to share. Every week I will be uploading new unboxings, reviews and tutorials for your GoPro and drones to help you get the most out of them. Tips and tricks that will help you capture beautiful cinematic drone videos as well as stunning time-lapses.

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One comment

  1. Same exact thing happened to me didnt land in a lake but landed in a back yard about a half a mile away from me i was able to retrieve it and the homeowners were fine with that but when i got it one prop was completely gone and both prop screws were still in the motor so me and my dad concluded that the prop blew up it is around 40,000 rpms and it is crazy to think a peice of plastic can withstand that but i think it shouldve been further tested oem plastic wise

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