GoPro recalled the Karma drone the other night. You may have missed that news because it was announced in the middle of the 2016 election. Whether or not that was an extreme case of hilarious timing, a shrewd move by the PR team, or 2016 being 2016, it’s important to spread the word that the Karma has been recalled — because the reason for the recall is that the drones have been losing power mid-flight and falling out of the skies. And what happens after a GoPro drone falls out of the sky? You post the footage to YouTube, naturally.
The folks over at PetaPixel noticed that a rush of videos with the keywords “GoPro,” “Karma,” and “crash” have been uploaded to YouTube in the past few days. These aren’t crashes caused by user-error, either. They appear to be directly related to the reason for the recall, and they all follow a similar pattern: the Karma drone takes off, we get 1–3 minutes of serene aerial footage, and then the motors cut out, causing the drone to drop like a rock:
What’s interesting is that in this video and in one or two others, you can see and hear the motors start back up before impact. But there’s clearly a problem here, which is why GoPro instituted the recall in the first place, and why the company is coordinating with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the matter.
If you own a Karma, you should return it immediately. GoPro set up a section of its website to handle refunds, and it also has instructions on where you can return it. One new thing to note: if you bought a Karma with a camera like the Hero 5 Black, GoPro says you have return the whole package.
The company is not issuing any replacement units at the moment, so it seems like we might be waiting a while to hear that GoPro has found a fix. Until then, here are a few more crash videos. And while GoPro says no one has been injured yet, you can see from this first one here that at least one Karma came extremely close to crashing into someone: