How I Wrecked My Diatone Tyrant S 215 On Its Maiden Flight

Hello all,

Well, after an excruciating back-and-forth few weeks trying to source a single wire to connect my FC to my receiver, I was finally able to set everything up and it was ready to fly. Just an FYI, this was my first ever FPV quad and first time ever flying anything.

I added Racekraft 5" props, added on the zip-ties, battery straps and a tiny anemometer which was leftover from a previous home owner. Once this was set up, I went into my garden and setup a little flight pad from some older rubber inlays and began my maiden flight. This was the best feeling ever after waiting and staring at my quad for over 7 weeks just for one wire (4-pin nano JST).

…Then, it all went horribly wrong. After a few throttle tests, I managed to get the quad off the ground by a few inches and kept it there. Somehow, I moved the yaw and there it was, my Tyrant coming at me face first. In the heat of the moment, I only made things worse by pushing the throttle up rather than down having the quad fly straight at me. I put my hand on my face and braced for impact. Fortunately, the quad hit my hand rather than my face. Unfortunately, the props (which have tiny sharp edged tips) took big chunks out of my fingers and left me in a bloody mess and a broken prop.

After a few plasters and a new prop blade, I decided that the best option would be to try my maiden flight in an actual field or large area. Fortunately for me, there is a reasonable large park outside with very little foot traffic after hours. With the adrenaline and rush of a new quad, I raced to the park and set up shop in the far corner facing the entire football field.

The far corner is surrounded by gates that face the road. This particular road is part of a very busy through road on to a dual carriageway and generally is full of parked cars throughout the day. I set the quad and edged the throttle, paying close attention to the yaw. As I played with the throttle, a heavy hand lifted the quad much higher than I would have liked (let’s say about 15m). Naturally, the wind gets slightly heavier for a 700g quad. The quad began to drift away from me over the gates and above the road.

This is where the panic set in. I knew full well of the consequences that my £150 quad could cause hundreds of pounds of damage if it either a) falls on a parked vehicle or b) fall on a moving vehicle. As the thought of an expensive bill and criminal damage offences set in, my right thumb seemed to have pushed on the roll and pitch and I could see the quad get further away from me on to the road. At this point, I lost complete LOS. The next thing I heard was a loud screechy thud, then an elongated skid followed by mayhem prop sounds until I finally switched off the arm button and transmitter.

With my heart in my mouth at this point, I lifted my flight case and ran a good 300 yards to the exit and another 300 yards to the crash point onto the main road. I watched carefully to see if anyone was standing outside their house with a smashed window and my quad in their hand. Fortunately, none of the above applied. I searched for a good five minutes, ducking and diving oncoming traffic. It was then I noticed that my quad was about five inches away from the edge of the road. I could see a car a few metres away and it’s direction of travel was definitely an intercept path which would have spelled the complete end for the Tyrant.

I got to the quad just in time, threw it in the flight case and got to the work bench at home to inspect the damage.
Voila, just a few scratches and lost screws to two motors (which were hanging off). This is fantastic I thought, let me just replace the screws. Screw 1, great. Screw 2 and 3, perfect. Screw 4, oh wait, where’s the screw opening gone?

Lo and behold the bottom of both motors took a direct hit at an angle meaning that they had completely crumpled rendering them useless. I checked the last recorded reading on the anenometer and it picked a final wind speed of 45mph (now you can imagine how fast my quad was travelling thanks to my complete lack of throttle control). This meant that my drone came to contact with the ground at 45mph. You’ve got to hand it to Diatone, their frame and carbon fibre definitely held up.

My first quad. My first flight. My first crash, and that is the story of how I wrecked my Tyrant S 215 on its maiden flight. All sympathies welcome.

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Wow, sorry to hear of your challenging first-time experience! It really does get better, at least for me I crashed a lot and did some pretty silly things at first, but after a couple of dozen flights it starts coming together.

I’d assume you have arm/disarm on a switch on your controller? When you get into a panic situation, just disarm. It’s usually way better to have it just drop straight out of the sky than go careening off out-of-control, especially when your body is the next point of impact.

Also, do you have a buzzer on it? When it gets out of sight and you need to locate it, the lost alarm is really helpful.

You might want to consider picking up a simulator (e.g. FPV Freerider or something), since you’ve never flown before. Although it’s not exactly the same, it gets some basic stick control burned into your brain before trying it for real. Your quad looks fairly serious for a true first-time experience, possible but challenging. Maybe pick up a little Inductrix or something to get a feel for how quads fly before firing up a more serious racing quad?

You’re on the right track with setting up some safer experiments to get started, but keep in mind trying to fly a quad like that in a very slow way I think is actually harder than trying to get it into a really large open field (well away from roads, cars, people) and getting a little speed up. For me, LOS is harder than FPV for anything more than a hover test. Since I had put a lot of hours in a simulator, I was more comfortable in FPV heading out with some speed than trying to hover in LOS–that always feels out of control to me. The simulator also taught me how to do all the basic turns and such, so the panic factor was low.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, stick with it. It gets better. The physical injury sucks, we never want that, but the crashes are part of the experience.

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