Serious incident to the drone DJI - Inspire 2 on 14/07/2019 at Barcarès (Pyrénées-Orientales)

Investigation progression Closed
Progress: 100%

Cat. 2 investigation report: simplified-format report, adapted to the circumstances of the occurrence and the investigation stakes.

The company had received the prefectural authorization to film at night, with a drone, a music festival gathering several thousand people. This authorization was accompanied by a requirement to comply with a third-party exclusion zone of a radius of 30 m. Once at the festival, the drone pilot and the cameraman decided to carry out the occurrence flight from an undeclared site.

The drone had flown back and forward between the take-off site and overhead the stage. On the video taken by the drone’s gimbal camera, third parties can be seen at a horizontal distance of less than 10 m from the aircraft manoeuvring zone.

The drone pilot and the cameraman explained that a problem on one of the two batteries had resulted in a loss of control just before the collision with a vertical structure on the stage. None of the examinations carried out on the drone and its batteries were able to reproduce the failure described.

The battery charge values read after the flight were not compatible with the activation logic of an automatic emergency landing.

As the flight logs were no longer present on the drone, on the drone pilot’s tablet and on the cameraman’s telephone, the BEA was not in a position to obtain additional information about a possible battery failure.

After the drone had struck the vertical structure, the drone pilot tried to shut down the motors in flight. However, the action on the remote controller was not the right one and the motors were not stopped. Assuming that the drone was still controllable, the action could explain the beginning of the drone’s path after its collision with the vertical structure.