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DJI Battery TB50 and TB55 In-Flight Power Failures

Background

We have become aware of a small number of incidents outside the Isle of Man where particular DJI small unmanned aircraft have suffered a complete loss of power during flight, despite indications that there was sufficient battery time still remaining. In each case, this resulted in the aircraft falling directly to the ground due to the immediate loss of lift with the remote pilot unable to control its subsequent flight path. The small unmanned aircraft (SUA) were damaged upon impact, but there are no reports of injuries to people or property. Investigation by the manufacturer has confirmed that this issue is not confined to any specific firmware version and is thought to be related to the batteries TB50 and TB55. The full details of the occurrences are still being investigated.

The UK AAIB has recently published its report into an accident involving a DJI Matrice 210 which occurred in Jersey at the end of last year.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) has recently issued a Safety Notice on this subject including the imposition of operational restrictions on multi-rotor small unmanned aircraft utilising DJI battery model TB50 or TB55, including all DJI Matrice 200 Series and the DJI Inspire 2.

The Isle of Man Civil Aviation Administration has decided to mirror the UK CAA measures.

Actions to be taken

Provisional Suspension of Operations

The following direction is issued:

“Affected SUA” are any multi-rotor small unmanned aircraft utilising DJI battery model TB50 or TB55, including all DJI Matrice 200 series (which includes the 200, 210 and 210 RTK platforms) and the DJI Inspire 2.

Small unmanned aircraft (SUA) operators should follow the advice and guidance provided by the manufacturer to install the full suite of firmware updates provided for users of the TB50 and TB55 batteries. Guidance can be found on the manufacturer's website.

Depending on the status of the firmware update that has been installed, the following operating limits apply:

If firmware updates have been applied

If operators of an Affected SUA are able to confirm that the full suite of firmware updates that were released on or after 16 November 2018 have been successfully installed, the Affected SUA may be operated in accordance with the requirements of the Air Navigation (Isle of Man) Order 2015 and any permission or exemption that has been issued by the Department.

If firmware updates have NOT been applied or cannot be confirmed as having been applied

If SUA operators of the affected SUA cannot complete the firmware updates or cannot confirm that the battery firmware has been updated:

In accordance with the Air Navigation (Isle of Man) Order 2015 article 147(2)(c), operators of the Affected SUA shall not fly or permit any flight that involves overflight of any persons at any height until further notice. Note: this restriction applies regardless of whether or not the persons are under the control of the operator or remote pilot.

In accordance with Air Navigation (Isle of Man) Order article 144, any element of a permission issued by the Department for Enterprise to an SUA operator which permits an Affected SUA to be operated:

  • within 50 metres of any persons; or
  • 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; or
  • over or within 150 metres of an open air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;

is provisionally suspended until further notice.

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