OSB Number: SOSB-23-V-01
Date First Published: 23 November 2023

Operational Risk

Large and/or heavy falling tree leaves impacting one or more propeller blades inflight may disrupt onboard motor control processes, potentially resulting in a flight upset and loss of control.  

Products affected

Skydio 2 and Skydio 2+

Description, Identification and Manifestation

Falling leaves colliding with one or more propellers may, under certain conditions, cause a sudden change in motor speed from one or more motors, directly leading to changes in lift.

Sudden external impulses from propeller collisions with branches or heavy leaves may cause disturbances in the estimation of the physical position and speed of the motors, resulting in motors that are out of sync. Pilots may notice uncontrolled changes in pitch and yaw as onboard flight controller systems attempt to compensate for or recover lift. In extreme cases, onboard control systems may fail, resulting in a near-vertical rapid and uncontrollable tumbling descent to the ground.

Recommendations and Mitigations

Consider the environment and weather, particularly during seasonal leaf fall. Avoid flying through the trees, select a flight path at a higher altitude.

Service or replacement instructions

If you observe a collision with a leaf or branch, consider landing and inspecting the propeller blades, motors, and navigation camera lens for damage, leaf debris, and smudge marks, and take appropriate action to return the components to flight readiness before launching. Navigation cameras and flight telemetry logs can help determine whether or not a leaf collision has occurred. Contact Skydio Customer Support if you need assistance. 

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