Get insured for drone crashes
Accidents do happen and drones can crash for a variety of reasons including malfunction or pilot error. Having insurance in place will provide peace of mind in the event of a drone crash. A drone may malfunction which causes it to crash or a drone may crash as a result of pilot error. Typical examples of the types of pilot errors and drone malfunctions are outlined below.
Causes of Drone Crashes
Most crashes are caused by pilot error when operating or if a pre-flight check has been missed and the drone malfunctions. See below for some common reasons why drone crashes happen.
Pilot Error & Drone Malfunction Examples
We insure your drones against all of the below and more. The most common pilot errors resulting in drone crashes are:
Propellers - If a drone has self-tightening propellers and the pilot fails to check that they are screwed on properly the propeller could fly off mid-flight which could cause the drone to crash. To avoid this happening it is vital the pilot checks all propellers and do a test spin before take-off. Never presume or hope the propellers will self-tighten during a flight.
Combination Stick Command - New and inexperienced pilots often crash their drone by pulling up the sticks to the bottom inner corners. This will stop the motors immediately and should never be done mid-air unless it is an emergency.
Return to Home - Setting the return to home altitude too low could result in your drone hitting an obstacle and crashing. Most drone crashes occur when the drone goes out of signal or is behind a tree or building. When the return to home is triggered the drone will fly directly into the obstacle unless it has obstacle avoidance sensors. Always set the return to home altitude higher than any potential obstacles ensuring you minimalise the risk of crashing your drone.
Low Battery - If the battery on a drone is running critically low a drone will start to auto land wherever it is. If this happens you cannot cancel the auto landing but may still have some control over the pitch and roll of the drone. The pilot can limit the potential drone crash damage by ensuring they are not flying over water or populated areas.
Flying Out of Sight - It is dangerous and not advised to fly your drone out of visual line of sight (VSOL). The pilot would only be able to see the video feed from the drone and nothing surrounding the drone such as buildings, trees or power lines. Be sensible, keep your drone in VSOL and limit the outcome of the drone crashing and damaging property.
Flying Backwards - Flying your drone backwards could cause a drone crash because the pilot would not be able to see where or what the drone would be flying into. Standing behind the drone and flying it backwards means the pilot will always have a good view of what could potentially be in the drone’s flight path and ultimately avoid a drone crash.
Flying indoors - If you fly a drone indoors there is usually no or little GPS signal and the drone could drift. Switch the drone into altitude mode which does not use GPS positioning but does require good piloting skills. Practising and perfect flying in this mode outside without the GPS stability to improve drone piloting skills and ensure the pilot avoids an indoor drone crash.
Return to Home - If a drone has a RTH function and has a low battery and is more than 20m from home it will automatically rise up to the RTH altitude and start to fly home. A pilot may panic thinking the drone is flying away out of control. Just ensure that there are no obstacles the drone could crash into and if there are cancel the RTH and land the drone manually thus avoiding the drone crashing.
Environment - Drones can be affected by their environment. Flying a drone in a poor environment can result in a drone crash or near miss. Examples of a poor environment which can affect the performance of a drone, interfere with signalling and cause a drone to crash are:
- Tall Buildings
- Power Lines and Power Stations
- Launching on metal or in magnetic areas
- TV transmitters
- Mobile phone signal transmitters
Braking Distance - Flying a drone at high speed can be exhilarating but if a pilot underestimates the distance required for the drone to safely stop can increase the chances of the drone crashing and/or causing damage. A pilot should always start slowing the drone in plenty of time as opposed to stopping suddenly and crashing the drone.
GPS Lock – Most drones are equipped with a GPS lock ensuring the drone will return to the take-off and landing location using GPS coordinates. If the GPS lock is set and the pilot loses connection with the drone, it should return to the GPS locked location. However, some drones do not forget their GPS lock. If the pilot flies in different locations and fails to reset the GPS lock every time they fly, if the drone goes out of range it could return to a different location due to the GPS lock.
How To Reduce The Risk Of A Drone Crash
There are so many factors which can contribute to a drone crashing and it is difficult to plan and anticipate every eventuality. However, there are several key things a pilot can do to reduce the probability of a drone crash.
Fly in good weather: Check the weather forecast. If the weather outlook is good flying with no wind, mild temperatures and no precipitation reduces the risk of the drone malfunctioning and crashing.
Battery life: Keep an eye on your battery levels and either bring your drone home quickly if the battery is running low.
Use a spotter: Consider using a spotter to watch your drone. Whilst the drone pilot is restricted to the view of the camera streaming the flight, a second pair of eyes can help the pilot keep away from danger.
Check your environment: Scout the area before your drone is airborne and check for any potential hazards which could be in your drone’s flightpath.
Whilst avoiding a drone crash may sometimes be unavoidable taking sensible steps to reduce the risk of a drone accident by following these simple rules is essential.