Nearly Lost My Mavic Pro on a 6-mile Litchi Mission

After hacking the firmware of my Mavic Pro back to a much earlier version using freeware DUMLdoreV3 and DankDronesDownloader, as well as payware, I launched the drone on a 6-mile round trip over the forest. The necessity of that hack had been forced upon me when I got locked out of Litchi after being tricked into accepting DJI’s latest 0050 firmware update.

After about 15 minutes into the mission, the drone disconnected from the controller, and the announcement “Warning, Disconnected” was intoned, meaning the test flight was proceeding as planned. I listened for more repeat announcements of that disconnect status, but then to my growing unease, there was dead silence from the Litchi announcer with just 5 minutes left before the mission was to end.

Then I checked the Litchi settings page on my iPad, and to my horror, discovered that I’d somehow neglected to select the instruction for the drone to continue waypoint missions whenever RC signal is lost, meaning that the drone was most likely hovering at the mission waypoint where the RC signal was lost and would continue to hover there until the battery ran out and landing in the swamp forest would occur.

I hurriedly set the Litchi slider switch for the drone to resume the mission, but there was no indication it was doing so because it was out of range. With a mild panic setting in, I then scrambled up the ladder of a 60-foot water tower beside my house while my semi-wild pet monkey observed the frenzy with keen interest from his vantage point atop the tower.

As luck would have it, my controller recaptured connectivity with the drone in the nick of time as I clung perilously to the ladder on that water tower 40 feet above the ground, at which point I once again began to hear the usual Litchi mission audio announcements indicating that the drone was on the move after that pause, and was inbound with just a few scant minutes to spare before the battery ran out.

The moral of this story is that Litchi users MUST cross-check ALL the settings every time that modifications are made to the firmware, because the default settings might be reimposed which, if left unchanged, could result in an outright loss of the drone. Check and re-check your settings page, lest you be faced with that ominous silence from the Litchi announcer, which could very well be an indicator that your precious drone is sleeping with the fishes as a direct result of your own haste and negligence pre-flight.