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The Drone Pilot's Crash Poll

Updated on September 9, 2018
KawikaChann profile image

Kawika is the President of an up and coming new business in the Pacific Northwest that specializes in various drone operations.

All Successful Drone Pilots will Crash and Learn

I purchased an Inspire 1 - brand new. It cost me money I didn't have so I told myself I wouldn't crash it even though everyone said that I would. It's common knowledge - and very little you can do about it.

The first day, I was so freaked out that I would crash it that I literally flew a few feet off the ground, forward and backward in a straight line. I was so relieved when I placed it back into its case in one piece. It's like throughout the entire flight my butt and jaw muscles were clenched tight and only when it was back in its case, was I able to relax.

I was unable to fly for a week because of other commitments but as soon as I had a free day, I was very excited to get out to a large open field. I knew that trees were the drone's worst enemy, so I made sure that I had an open area the size of a football field that was clear of trees.

The first battery load, I took it slow and just hovered and moved around cautiously to get used to the remote. Now, the last device I used with a similar remote that was fashioned with two joy-sticks was an RTC radio controlled off-road racer.

Juxtaposed to the RTC racer, it wasn't long before I was flying at 50 mph and the field that was the size of a football field quickly shrank to a few seconds long in either direction. My wife - as she usually does - tried to get me to slow down and be more cautious but I was already hooked by the drone's speed and agile maneuverability. I was hanging 180-degree vertical turns and diving into a speeding straight-away with such confidence. The speed, the bird's adroitness to cover my flaws and shortcomings in experience propelled my ignorance further into thinking that I was 'all' that.

This is the point where you should re-focus your conscious brain upon - the point where caution is literally thrown to the wind, and, the point at which you will usually crash.

After the crash, I was very quiet because I knew that I flew recklessly and needlessly risk my drone and new business. However, I was very happy that I had the foresight to recognize that I needed a little insurance to help me should I suffer a crash. I purchase a product called DJI Care which insured repairs or replacement to my drone if I ever got into a crash. If you are a new pilot or an existing one, I would suggest getting this affordable insurance to the longevity of your business or hobby.

If crashing is inevitable, this will be your best friend.

My Inspire1 After Crash Effects

A Myriad of Drone Technological Advances

Drones have become very popular over the past few years since 2015. Applications in photography, surveillance, mapping and even farming, to name a few, have become the new frontier for business start-ups and to further increase the business acuity in these fields.

Traced and recorded paths of the drone

The red dot in the picture indicates the drones resting place after slamming into the tree.
The red dot in the picture indicates the drones resting place after slamming into the tree. | Source

Before you Fly do a Check-up from the Head-up

* After going through your pre-flight equipment checklist, be sure to do the most important check which should be your mindset.

* Your flight plan should never be to go and dawdle around in the air, you should have a specific flight plan to accomplish specific things.

* When you fly, be sure to have a checklist of maneuvers that you want to improve or practice on. Decide ahead of time when you want to video or snap a picture instead of just running your camera praying and spraying.

Pre-flight Rituals to Ensure Flight Safety

Going through pre-flight compass check.
Going through pre-flight compass check. | Source

The Problem is that We Think our Drone is a Toy When it is a Tool

It all begins with the mindset that we are going to race ovals around the park just to open it up and send it wide-f'n-open down the field with little purpose or design of what my intentions were for the drone. Heck, if it's a toy for you and your intention was to do just that - or racing - then, carry on dude.

But if your intentions when you first bought your drone was to employ it into bringing another income into your family, then you need to stop and adjust accordingly.

You know, my wife is good at reminding me and cautiously bringing me aware of what might happen - she is the advocate of Murphy's Law. On that dark day just before I crashed my Inspire Drone, she came up beside me and asked me to slow down and make a video clip of the building that was nearby. But, I brushed her off and said I wanted to see how far I could push the bird... well, now that I'll be grounded for some time, I certainly wish that I had listened to her... as usual when something goes wrong I always have the comfort of knowing that she tried to bring me to my senses.

If I had taken a step back and thought that I should get used to flying the drone in the manner that I had originally intended it for, I might be flying past the two-hour mark of actual flight time. But, I didn't, and the result was not so well received. I had a lot of time to re-play that day of the crash in my mind and I knew that I let my emotions govern my flight activity that day.

Taking advantage of my grounded time, I studied and prepared for the Part 107 Commercial Pilots Test. This way, while my bird was being worked on I could at least be licensed to fly commercially when I got my drone back.

Checking Your Drone at Lift off

Your first few seconds of flight is very important; watch for any inconsistencies, drifting or disturbances in flight - any indication that something may be wrong.
Your first few seconds of flight is very important; watch for any inconsistencies, drifting or disturbances in flight - any indication that something may be wrong.

Pre-Flight Checklist

Pilot Pre-Check
Pre-Check Area for Flight
Pre-Check Drone
Visibly Check your flight path; power lines, guy wires, trees, buildings, etc
Run your B4uFly apps to determine if the area is safe for flight.
Inspect props for any signs of wear, cracks, or chips. Do not use if not in perfect condition.
Have a flight plan in mind. What will be accomplished for each flight, even if a practice manuever.
Note any warnings of electro magnetic interference, airport near, or no satlellites.
Full Battery and remote charged. Back-up batteries charged and ready.
Set your focus on having a safe flight for your drone and those around you.
Start DJI Go app and prepare for flight.
Run the drones internal compass procedures to ensure a safe flight.
Have a Drone Safety Vest and a Spotter if needed.
Fall back on your FAA Part 107 training for a safe flight.
Adhere to all warnings from your remote to ensure a safe flight.

Here is a simple checklist to keep in mind to ensure that all your flights are safe - with the goal of your drone returning safely from a flight without incident and prepared for the next flight.

Drone Crash Compilations

The Drone Crash Poll

How many days after getting your drone did you crash it?

See results

Crashing Your Drone Will Make You a Better Pilot

  • The thing that we fear the most does not haunt us.
    When pilots first start out - especially with an expensive drone - the biggest fear that we have is of crashing our drone. That is not to say that once we crash we can be reckless in our flights. It is to say that the emotional part of what brought us to crashing is now bowed to and we are all the wiser for understanding how it happened.
  • It's easier to see the mistakes we make only after we've made them.
    Mistakes are not easily forgotten when they are costly. Having crashed an expensive drone costs enough but there are other costs involved when you are grounded for weeks while your drone is being repaired. All work stops and if you are in the middle of a job or have to turn jobs away there is no telling how much this may cost your business.
  • Weighing how a crash could affect you changes the way you think.
    Projecting how your business could fathom a drone crash - especially if you only have one drone - changes the way you prepare for a flight. When you first get a drone, you just want to fly it fast and high... and see how far it will go until you lose control. However, after a crash, you realize that the only successful flight you have is one that involves your drone returning for safe use another day.
  • A crash gives you time to spend studying the things you should have already known before you crashed your drone.
    After the crash, I actually read the manual and did a lot of research as to how to fully utilize my drone. I learned how to use every single button on the remote and every single option on my flight screen. I also learned how to utilize the drone's camera to get the most ideal shot from different angles and flight plans.
  • Time to study for your FAA Part 107.
    Being grounded gives you an opportunity that you may not have had otherwise to study for your FAA commercial license. The FAA Part 107 test is nothing to wag your finger at - it is a pilot's test that will test you on things that only pilots care to know. You would be wise to study hard before this test and you should only want to do this one - repeated testing can be costly.

Inspire 1 v2 Landing Gear Raises to Clear 360 degree Camera Operation

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Kawika Chann

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