The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a safety notice to DJI Matrice 200 and Inspire 2 drone pilots.
According to CAA, “a few incidents have recently been reported in which the aircraft has suffered a complete loss of performance during flight, although there is evidence that there was still sufficient battery life”. The problem leads to a sudden, uncontrolled crash of the drone.
At least one reported case was a West Midland Policy DJI Matrice 200 that crashed the roof of a building during a mission. People were not harmed in the incident. The Matrice 200 is a relatively large, mostly commercially used drone with a take-off weight of just over 6 kg.
The battery types affected are the TB50 and TB55 DJI batteries, which are used to power the Matrice 200 and Inspire 2. The CAA has defined in its safety notice what precautions and steps affected pilots should take. Essentially, this means that flying of people is prohibited and that all previously granted permissions and exemptions for the following flight situations are suspended for the time being:
- over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
- within 50 metres of any person;
- within 50 metres of any, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the SUA Operator or remote pilot of the SUA;
- over or within 150 metres of an open – air assembly of more than 1,000 persons; or
- using Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS)
This is NOT a general flight ban on the Matrice and Inspire models, but a restriction of the permitted flight situations for the time being. However, the West Midland Police have told the BBC that they will not use their drones at all until the problems are solved by the manufacturer.