While you can have hours of enjoyment with your drone, you must never forget that you could also have a disastrous event too.
That statement is not intended to throw a wet blanket on your pleasure, but drones are not toys and shouldn’t be treated like one. We must remind ourselves of the potential damage they could cause through carelessness or mishandling from time to time.
Potential drone dangers
The good news is your drone probably won’t blow your arms off or shoot out one of your eyes. But let’s consider the damage that drones could cause.
Drones could burn your or someone’s house down. They could cut off a finger or poke someone’s eye out. They could cause a car wreck or plane crash, and they could easily ruin someone’s wedding or birthday party.
Of course, the probability of any of these events occurring is very low – thankfully. The simple fact that you are reading this and learning about flying drones prevents such things from happening. Whenever our drone flying skills increase, we lower the chances of having accidents – even minor ones.
Staying safe with your drone
There are three basic things at risk when flying your drone: yourself, other people, and property. We should be mindful of protecting them.
Let us examine the main safety hazards of flying and handling drones. If you are currently researching the world of drones, you’ll most likely hear about these items several times – and that’s a good thing.
Drone propellers are incredibly dangerous. While they may seem fragile and very lightweight, they’re spinning at tremendously high speeds. If we can get a cut from paper that bleeds, think of what a plastic propeller blade could do while spinning at 3000 RPM.
Propeller guards are the best option for preventing propeller injuries. Many drone models come already equipped with these guards, and many experienced drone operators swear by them. Propeller guards will keep you and other people much safer.
Never pick up a live drone
Some people call them an ‘armed’ drone, while others call it a ‘live’ drone, but they’re the same thing. It is referring to a drone that is ready to lift off.
It’s the point in the launching process when the remote flight controller and the drone motor are engaged. Drone controllers typically have an indicator that verifies everything is armed for liftoff. Never get close to a live drone – much less pick it up.
Never mishandle your drone’s LiPo battery
Of all things associated with your drone, its battery is by far the most dangerous. These LiPo batteries contain some very flammable and volatile materials. Under the right conditions, a drone’s battery could burn someone’s house down.
So let’s go over some basic battery handling rules:
Never overcharge your battery; turn off the charger when it’s fully charged. Some chargers do this automatically.
When storing or traveling with your drone battery, ensure that its charge is below 50%. The higher the charge, the more flammable the battery.
Keep your battery in a cool and dry location when not in use. This includes when it’s being charged.
Handle your batteries with great care. They are fragile and subject to damage if dropped.
Never charge a damaged battery. It should be disposed of as soon as possible.
When disposing of a battery, discharge it completely. Never throw it into your regular trash; take it to your hobby shop and let the experts dispose of it.
Never fly over 400 feet
As of this writing, the rule is to fly your drone below 400 feet. Keep in mind that this limit could change at any time – and it may change sometime in the future. The primary reason for this rule is to protect the local airspace. Drones pose an enormous hazard to aircraft.
More specifically, the jet engines on these commercial aircraft are very vulnerable to small objects and debris getting sucked into one of their turbines. This could cause major engine failure and bring the entire plane down – and risk every life on board.
This is why we must follow this rule and keep everyone safe.
Always maintain visual sight with your drone
Here is another rule that has become a broken record, but it’s essential. There is nothing more horrifying to drone operators than losing visual contact with their drone.
When this happens, anything could occur – and you are legally responsible.
Granted, sometimes this happens despite the most diligent precautions, but we can learn to anticipate worst-case scenarios like this. For instance, we can choose to fly in locations where visual sight is easier to maintain – or where fewer people and property are located.
As you gain more experience with drones, you’ll not only a more skilled drone operator; you’ll also become more skilled at identifying potential dangers.
Some of these dangers can be learned from day one; others can only be learned from experience. But we must never forget the hazards that a drone presents to ourselves and our community.
One last thing, get yourself some drone liability insurance – just in case.