Let me start off by saying I have always had good experiences when I have dealt with Yuneec customer support on behalf of customers who have had issues, or just when I called with questions about products, shipping dates, etc. They have always answered the phone promptly and provided exceptionally friendly advice and support.
Well, now I'm going to get to put Yuneec's customer service through it's paces on my own behalf. As many of you know, in addition to running VH Drones, I also enjoy getting to do a little flying myself, from time to time. To that end I bought my own Typhoon H to learn more about it and to do some flying for filming and fun. Unfortunately, drones are complicated machines that occasionally have problems and mine happens to be one of those that does.
On my first flight, my Typhoon H made several violent maneuvers in an attempt to hold position in a light breeze. This included one just before touching down on landing, which caused the Typhoon H to tip over. There was almost no damage because it fell from essentially zero feet. After reattaching the 2 gimbal dampers that popped loose and replacing one broken prop, I called Yuneec customer support, described the problem and was told I needed to update the firmware. Being excited to get flying right away, I had neglected this step (against my own advice). I updated the firmware, re-calibrated the compass for good measure and that problem did not resurface.
However, on my second and third flights, I began to notice that my Typhoon H was drifting around a little when I wasn't touching the controls. At first I thought it may be the dreaded "toilet bowl," where the Typhoon H makes larger and larger circles over time. After further investigation, I determined this wasn't the problem since the drone wasn't moving in circles, it was wandering around aimlessly. After my third flight, I noticed the altitude when I landed said 28 feet. This seemed reasonable since my MSL altitude at the time was approximately 25 feet. But I was a bit suspicious so I decided to do a little more testing after waiting for the weather to clear.
Finally, today, I took it up for a hover test and it drifted around again. I watched it continuously descend while the altitude readout on the ST-16 remained constant. Everytime I would raise it back up to altitude, the altitude readout would increase and then stay steady as the drone wandered around and gradually descended. I didn't let it descend all the way to the ground but on a couple occasions, it got awfully close before I grabbed the controller and flew it higher. I'm convinced it would have flown itself into the ground had I not corrected it. I was able to safely land, and this time after 20 minutes of flying it thought it was still 54 feet up while sitting on the ground.
Call to Yuneec Customer Support
Upon calling Yuneec, I was asked by an automated voice whether I wanted to wait or leave a call back number. I have waited in the past and it has never taken more than 4-5 minutes but I decided to test the call-back feature this time. The voice offered to call me back on the number I had called from, which saved me the trouble of dialing in the number, making the process relatively painless.
Only (literally) a few seconds after I hung up, I got a call from Axel from Yuneec Customer Support. I described my problem and the steps I went through in troubleshooting. He agreed that it was most likely an issue with either the IMU, GPS or compass and that I would need to send it in to be repaired under warranty.
He took my information, put me on hold for 2-3 minutes during which I got two emails. The first was a shipping label to use to return the unit to Yuneec, the second was RMA paperwork to include in the package. Axel came back on, asked me if I got the paperwork, then told me I needed to include the RMA and a sales receipt or invoice when I shipped the drone back. He also said to hang on to all the included accessories to make sure they don't get misplaced during handling. Axel was very helpful and professional and made the process as easy and pleasant as I could have hoped for.
The Wait Begins
Now my Typhoon H is on its way to Yuneec via UPS ground. It's 5-6 days shipping each way from Virginia to California, and I expect it will take a week or two to fix, so I'll probably be without my Typhoon H for at least a month. I certainly hope they fix it quickly and get it back to me soon so I can get it back in the air.
I'll let you know how the rest of the process goes in Part 2 and Part 3.