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My repair story : A cautionary tale

baksideDisasterFlicks

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Thought I'd share my repair story on my Skydio 2 for anyone who unfortunately has a crash that has extensive enough damage to send to Skydio for repair.

Back on July 25th I was motion tracking my truck down a dirt road no obstructions to be found when I started tracking.. I had tracked for two or so miles when I went to make a left without realizing there was a low power line above my truck. Well power lines are the devil and it took out my Skydio.

The resulting damage was shell cracked in two places at three motors were toast. Skydio booted up, connected fine, but Skydio gave some V19 fault in the app. It was mad at me. I was disappointed in myself. I've been flying drones since 2015, I've had 13 and it's been almost three years since I've crashed a drone. My luck was up.


20200727_132446.jpg


Here's where it gets interesting. I actually had an open tech support case from July 17th due to a weird some weird emergency landing that got triggered out of no where and Skydio almost crashed when it dropped out of the sky (with +50% battery, no obstructions or collisions). Luckily just before it hit the ground it managed to recover. Check the video out of the unexpected emergency landing, notice how the gimble drops and it almost slams into the ground then shakes wildly for couple minutes. What was weirder was it wouldn't land now at all. Didn't respond to phone or beacon. I powered off the beacon then disconnected my phone and it started to land. I caught it just in time..

After that incident I filed a support request and I flew again to see if it would reproduce. Low and behold everything was fine, so I figured it was a fluke. At the time the tech hadn't told me not to fly again, which he told in follow up email on the crash that he should've told me not to fly again until they debugged the issue (I probably should've known better too). With that, Skydio said they would cover the crash under warranty due to the emergency landing behavior and sent me and RMA. Before the ink could dry on the paper I was at UPS shipping it. I had a 10 day trip coming up to film a bunch of action sports so I was kinda freaking out about not having Skydio to film on the trip. I have other drones (cough cough DJI) but we know they don't hold a candle to Skydio when it comes to motion tracking. I was feeling really relieved and the tone of the mails I got from the tech was that I'd get a replacement Skydio 2 back quickly before my trip. It was in a box and on it's way, afternoon of July 28th.

SkydioWarrantyYest.jpg

Then the storm came in. On the drive home from UPS I got another email from the tech that they determined it was a power line collision, out of warranty and I would have to pay for repair. Bummed factor 11, I actually went back watched the video closely and yep right before the video cuts out there's a powerline. I saw it after I picked it up off the ground, thought maybe but with the weird behavior and fact that battery was 10 feet away I thought maybe the battery disconnected in flight. Denial friends, denial.

Now I'm madly in love with my Skydio 2 and honestly I just didn't want to get in the queue to wait for a new one till October something so I conceded to the repair cost unbeknownst to me as they hadn't evaluated it yet.. I also had a big trip coming up at end of August where I really needed the Skydio to do a bunch of filming of action sports so I was desperate. Plus, it's already in the mail, so whatever let it ride! I sent email with reply. Inside I was all, fix it, fix it, fix it, quickly PLEASE!

Now things start to get a little crazy. I see my broken Skydio had been delivered July 29th. I send mail to confirm it's been received. Now the tech ghosts me. He stops responding to my mails for days on end. At first I'm kinda like whatever, I'm patient, so I wait a day to respond. Then two, then I send another mail. It's now July 31st. He finally responds on August 3rd, asks me if I want it fixed. Uh, drr I sent it in, said yes all along I've stated I want it fixed in the first email, so whatever I say yes in reply email, again. Couple days go by no response, more days, no response, I start sending two mails a day, just requesting that they acknowledge they are getting my emails. Now it's August 13th. I kinda hate myself for all the nagging emails as I'm actually a really patient person. Each email I'm telling him to go ahead with repair, requesting a confirmation he's got my mail in the least. August 18th he reply's, finally saying he will be sending an invoice, saying he's not getting my mails but responds to the last one I sent? Weird. They are all in my sent box, nobody has every complained that they don't get my emails, I use comcast web email, no app, in any event I reply with copy of every mail I've sent just for a little proof. Which he replies a day later with an apology and this invoice: $500 for the repair.

SkydioInvoice.jpg

Now it gets even more unsettling. The tech said Skydio didn't have a way to take a credit card or anything for the repair (uh weird they took my credit card to buy it) and requested that I send a wire transfer to pay for the repair costs. In the modern era of scamming wire transfers are always a red flag, I honestly didn't trust at all I was really sending the money to Skydio even though everything looked official, after the whole email debacle we'd been having my trust factor was low, but I reluctantly sent it. As I said I was desperate to get my Skydio back in time for my trip. So boom off goes $500 into the ether. This is August 19th. Wire transfer clears my bank that day, I send email to make sure they got it. No response. Same deal, I send a mail every day up until August 21st, no response, this is getting comical. I'm leaving for my trip the next day. I hang my head, stuff my old Mavic Air into my bag and head out on the road.

At this point I'm on the road, and have given up on Skydio just enjoying the moment. Bad luck shines again and my Mavic Air drops out of the sky on first day shooting, 10 minutes into the shoot, I didn't hit anything. I guess it's time was up. It's over two years old at this point, quite a life for a drone especially given how much I use it and breaks off an arm on crash. Droneless first day into filming a 10 day long skateboarding tour. Arggh, like I said, my luck has run out. I reluctantly buy a Mavic Air 2 on the road (which I actually really end up digging despite it's poor motion tracking abilities). My credit card is burning but I'm getting some great footage. All that matters right?

August 25th he finally responds confirming payment was received he's escalating my repair. He apologizes for lack of response tells me some stuff about being sick, lack of techs, something's wrong with their email system, bla bla bla... Great! The wire transfer that took some 4-6 hours on my side to clear, took a week to click reply on one of my many emails. I had pretty much started to think I got scammed after a week of silence or something. Wait did I?

SkydioMails.jpg


Couple more days go back with a lack of updates, I fire an email, of course emails aren't returned, and I'm over the silence, it's August 27th already.. a month since this all started. So I go back in the front door, contacting support from the Skydio website with a whole new request since it auto generates a ticket when you do so. I request they call me and confirm the status of my drone, don't bother emailing me. I also leave a message on their phone system because all techs are currently busy ignoring emails from other customers. The next day I get a phone call from the actual tech handling my case. Turns out he's a really nice guy, super apologetic about the whole thing, delays, mail problems, ect... I'm cordial and all, but inside I'm peeved about what an ordeal this is. He notifies me my drone is in the process of being repaired and will ship on Friday, August 28th. Great just in time to sit on my doorstep for a day or two before I get home from my trip.

September 2nd, I pull into my driveway luckily the drone is still there, so well guess my luck hasn't completely run out. Oddly enough, it doesn't look like they repaired my drone at all. No evidence it's the drone it once was, no scratch's, nothing, it looks like a whole new drone, in fact, it's got a different WiFi which pretty much seals the deal this isn't the drone I sent in. I'm not 100% sure but I'm stoked as (Mod Removed Language )Skydio is back even after the debacle of getting it repaired. Makes me really miss DJI Care which I immediately put on the new Mavic 2 two hours after powering it on. I reflected on the time I did have to get a drone replaced by DJI.. it was in my hands five days after shipping out the broken one. In any event, Skydio is back and I'm going out to film some jet boating with it tomorrow! I'm sure I'll forgive everything the minute she starts doing her unbelievable thing.

BakDNewSkydio4.jpg

Hope you enjoyed my tale of terror. Moral is, watch out for powerlines and don't expect the repair process to be smooth. I will be freaking the ( Mod Removed Language )out whenever I powerline now. Oh and back when things looked bleak, I went ahead and put a deposit on another Skydio. Not sure if I'm gonna cancel it just yet...
 
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Skyking

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My S2 hit a "small twig" and then fell straight down. Lighting was excellent and drone was flying forward at very slow speed, but Skydio denied my claim for warranty repair. It took 3 weeks in total to get a replacement for $400.

I do like my S2 for difficult situations but the camera of Mavic Air 2 is considerably better than S2.
 

baksideDisasterFlicks

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My S2 hit a "small twig" and then fell straight down. Lighting was excellent and drone was flying forward at very slow speed, but Skydio denied my claim for warranty repair. It took 3 weeks in total to get a replacement for $400.

I do like my S2 for difficult situations but the camera of Mavic Air 2 is considerably better than S2.
I was getting really cocky I think. I've been flying my Skydio since February and just have been super amazed how awesome the motion tracking is. Really haven't had any close calls and I've been so impressed on how it's dealt with obstacles. I started chasing my dirt bike in some old growth trees before this happened and it worked amazing but after this incident I'm a little more freaked out. I really need this baby for the coming winters snowboard season so I'm going to be way more pragmatic about where I fly.
 

skydioconvert

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@ baksideDisasterFlicks

Thanks for being so thorough and upfront in explaining what happened. Seeing actual Skydio responses gives that little extra bit of information that helps us work through similar situations when we might run into them.

You really make the point well that its foolish to think the S2 is un-crashable ....

The tech you got that came up with one excuse after another is the first occasion I've heard of that speaks poorly of Skydio tech support.

For the aggravation you had to put up with I'm glad you got a new S2 out of it... (y)
 

Ridefreak

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Glad you eventually got it fixed, it sucks with a trip planned that you know will provide some nice video.
 

deedeebulldog

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Im going to have to kindly ask everyone to please stop crashing your drones. Everyone they have to replace puts me 1 drone back. After I get mine you can go nuts. You have my blessing.
Also just to be clear that this is sarcasm I will put LOL here------> LOL
 

skydioconvert

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<Really BIG Grin>

Just hope that once we all get ours we don't find out that crashing is contagious.. 🤞
 
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Ridefreak

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Im going to have to kindly ask everyone to please stop crashing your drones. Everyone they have to replace puts me 1 drone back. After I get mine you can go nuts. You have my blessing.
Also just to be clear that this is sarcasm I will put LOL here------> LOL
I've crashed mine about 4 times, one time it needed a prop, every time the motors needed blown out, other than that nothing except a good cleaning and it's still flying great, it's a tough drone but doesn't survive a drop onto pavement well. Each time I crashed it it had hit a skinny branch (with no leaves) when it was going fast. What saved the drone was the alt was probably below 8' and landed in sand or a field after clipping something.

I've found that if you slow down when the drone approaches a danger area it can usually navigate it's way through it, I've never crashed when the drone was going slow, In bad areas I let the drone pick it's way through. When it comes to power wires all bets are off, IMO just consider there's no avoidance for them.
 
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