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Drone manufacturer Da-Jiang Innovations Science and Technology Co., Ltd. (DJI) seems to pay insufficient attention to safety issues. The Dutch Safety Board investigated an incident involving an unmanned drone that flew uncontrolled over the city of The Hague and ultimately crashed. In February 2023, the manufacturer received recommendations from the Dutch Safety Board to revise the user manual and instructions. The manufacturer has not sufficiently followed these recommendations.

Erica Bakkum, board member: ‘A user manual must clearly outline what needs to be done in the event of a problem. It is not enough to provide separate snippets of information in different places. This is the Dutch Safety Board’s first major drone investigation. Drones have more and more professional and private applications. DJI is a major player in the drone market. We are therefore concerned that this manufacturer appears to pay insufficient attention to safety issues.’

Action perspective in user manual is missing

The Dutch Safety Board lacks a clear perspective for action for the person flying the drone. The current manual provides loose information about how the crew should act if a problem arises. Very little information is provided on how a crew can proactively prevent a problem.

No indications to cooperate in security investigations

DJI is said to have the intention to cooperate in security investigations. However, the Dutch Safety Board has no indications that DJI’s approach in this area has changed or improved. This means that the safety risks described in the report continue to exist.

What happened; the incident in brief

On April 11, 2020, the National Police conducted a surveillance flight with a DJI Inspire 2 UAS, an unmanned drone with a camera, in Zuiderpark, The Hague. Shortly after take-off, the pilot lost control of the drone due to a compass disturbance. The drone started flying on its own; a fly away. The drone flew uncontrolled over The Hague for 18 minutes. The aircraft hovered until insufficient battery power remained and subsequently crashed on a pavement in an urban area. No one was injured in the incident.

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