What to do when you crash your drone?

There are two types of drone pilots:

  • The ones who already crashed the aircraft for at least one time
  • Pilots who were lucky for a while, but will crash the drone in the future

Making a mistake or facing something unforeseen while flying your drone is almost inevitable.

The amount of experience and fast reaction might be the biggest help in this situation. But no matter how skilled you are, crashing a drone is normal.

In these moments the following question might be the first one coming to your mind:

What should I do now?

The first thing you need to do after crashing your drone is to check if it caused any damage to anything or anyone. Based on the result you might or might not report to the competent organs like FAA or NTSB.

what to do when you crash your drone

Keep reading so you can find out every detail you will need to know in case you crash a drone.

What should I do if I crash my drone?

After crashing your drone you should consider taking the following solutions and steps:

  1. Prepare yourself for possible property damages or even an injured person

You don’t have to be scared, but I think being prepared for every possibility is a rational way of thinking.

  • Taking a charged phone with you is always the most simple, yet important decision

Keeping a fire extinguisher around you might seem an overreaction, but the batteries may explode in certain situations.

Fortunately, as far as I know, fire extinguishers are mandatory in cars in every country. So, if you own a car, you have an additional safety net.

  1. Find your drone and inspect the possible damages

First of all, you have to find out if your drone caused damage to someone’s property or not. Hopefully, you don’t even have to think about injuring someone.

  1. If your crash did not cause any damage or injury you don’t have to report it to anyone
  2. Causing injuries with your drone

US drone pilots need to report severe injuries to the NTSB immediately.

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If you hurt somebody with your drone (even if unintentionally) reporting the case is necessary, and the NTSB will investigate the circumstances.

Please note that if you are a Hobbyist drone pilot, you don’t have to report to NTSB. More and detailed information you can find in this NTSB document.

  1. Causing financial damages or injuries as a consumer drone pilot

If you are using a consumer drone regulated under Section 107.9 of CFR, you need to report only to the FAA Regional Operations Center if:

  • The crash caused serious injuries to someone
  • Someone lost the consciousness after the impact
  • Any collision or crash that is ending with a damage over $500 needs to be reported in 10 days

If the financial damage is present only on your side, like hitting a pillar, a concrete building, or a tree, you don’t have any additional duty to report the case.

  • You can complete the report on the site where you registered your aircraft: Click here
  • Completing the form won’t take more than 10 minutes, and you won’t need any complicated data for it

Relevant articles:

Things to do after crashing the drone without injuries or property damage

After making sure that you don’t have to report to FAA or NTSB you can examine the damages of your aircraft.

If you are lucky enough you might get away without broken parts. Landing on a soft surface might save your drone.

But in most cases, the propellers or the parts of the camera will suffer some level of damage.

· No matter if the drone has broken parts or not, carefully removing the battery might be the first step

· Make sure the battery is not deformed, dented, or even swelled (chance for possible explosion)

Propeller damage

Breaking only the propellers is almost a lucky situation. In the majority of cases, they are easy and cheap to replace.

After mounting a new one the repair is not 100% done. Before launching your drone again it is a wise idea to check if the motors are working properly after the shock.

They are the strongest part of a drone, the metal cover is strong enough to bear even a more serious impact.

Crashing the frame or the camera

In many cases repairing the drone by yourself is simply not possible. A good example of these are DJI drones. The way they are designed and built is almost forcing DJI drone pilots to send their aircraft to service.

Taking apart a device that complicated might make the situation even worse. You can try to check if only a simple cable is disconnected or there are major issues.

But I think experts in services will always make a better job on your crashed drone. Just think about it.

It’s probably your first or second time you are breaking something on your quadcopter. You won’t have too much knowledge about the techniques and necessary spare parts.

On the other hand, the expert from the service is working on several different drones on the same day, probably for months and even years.

Of course, the service fee will also mirror their knowledge. Even a smaller repair might cost over $100 on DJI drones.

In some cases, repairs might be free because of the warranty. Simple crashes because of human error won’t be repaired for free.

But if you can prove that your drone is broken because of motor, software, or sensor malfunction you can be eligible for free repair.

In these cases, I wouldn’t even think about doing it myself.

Can you repair a crashed drone?

As I already mentioned in some cases even DJI or similar drones can be repaired at home. But the other categories I didn’t mention here are FPV or homemade drones.

These quadcopters are assembled by talented and motivated drone enthusiasts. Their parts can be ordered in premade packages or even by separate parts.

The frame and also the smaller components are simpler. This is the main reason why repairing them is easier.

You might also want to read about propeller guards for drones or injuries by drone blades

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