Crashed drone lays on the ground and damaged

When and Why Drones Fall From the Sky?

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

As a drone hobbyist, being worried about your drone falling out of the sky for any reason isn’t as far-fetched of a thought at all. In fact, knowing all about it can make your overall experience much better.

If you wonder, when do drones fall from the sky, and why does something like that happen? Then, you’re in the right place because that’s precisely what I’m here to tell you.

Drones can fall from the sky for various reasons. From physical issues to communication errors and poor flying skills, the reasons are many. That’s why ensuring no such issue comes up can be a challenge for new flyers.

In this article, we are going to find out why drones fall from the sky. We will also discuss if these drones can be harmful.

We will look at popular instances where drones fell from the sky and how you can ensure the same unfortunate event doesn’t happen to you.

So, without wasting any time, let’s get right to it.

Drones falling from the sky at night.
Drones falling from the sky

Why Do Drones Fall From the Sky?

Studies suggest that hobbyists and professional drones, both tend to fall from the sky for the same reasons. And these are either mechanical or skill faults.

Let’s take a look at some major reasons why drones fall from the sky, so you know what might be causing it for your drone. 

·        Lack of Experience – One of the most common reasons for drones falling from the sky is lack of flight experience. You might end up clicking the wrong buttons or pulling the wrong stick, and it can cause your drone to change its course, crash landing to the ground.

·        Communication Error – Another very common reason for this situation to occur is your drone stopping its communication. This happens when it goes out of its regular range of motion and loses the capability to take instructions from the remote controller.

·        Mechanical Fault – At times, your drone might have some internal damage. If that’s the case, you can expect the drone to exhibit such behavior and just fall from the sky despite no apparent problems.

·        No Obstacle Avoidance – If the drone you’re using doesn’t come with built-in obstacle avoidance, then it might fall from the sky. With obstacle avoidance, this can be reduced.

Can Drones Falling from the Sky Be Harmful?

Drones can be dangerous if they fall from the sky out of nowhere.

This is true regardless of the size or complexity of such a device. Whether it’s a hobbyist drone or a professional and advanced machine, if it’s falling from the sky, it can harm people and properties.

According to the flight rules of FAA, you need to make sure you’re flying drones out of the reach of residential buildings. This way any kind of danger or threat to the public can be avoided.

So, in any case, you should try to fly your drone in the right place.

The right place being a field or space which is approved for drone flight. Here you won’t get in trouble or someone won’t get hurt and file a lawsuit against you due to the drone scraping them.

Ultimately, drones falling from the sky can be harmful. If you want your FAA license to stay approved and also want to steer clear from any kind of legal problems, make sure your drone doesn’t fall.

Instances of Drones Falling From the Sky:

Over the course of the decades that drones have been in the market for professional, hobbyist, and military purposes, they’ve fallen from the sky quite a few times.

Some of those times are so memorable and popular throughout history that learning about them would definitely give you an idea of how wrong drone issues can go on a professional level.

Let’s take a look at some of these instances.

Botched Chinese Drone Light Show:

China is known for innovating and when it comes to their alternative for polluted fireworks in the form of light shows, they’re extremely mesmerizing and make for great nighttime advertising in the sky.

That is until the drones start to malfunction and something goes horribly wrong.

That is precisely what happened in Zhengzhou, in the Henan Province of China when a nighttime light show of a fleet of bright and shiny lit drones fell from the sky in an abrupt manner.

According to sources, there were more than 5000 people present at the scene but luckily no one was injured. However, the situation was as bad as it could get due to live telecasting of the scenes.

The organizers of the light show claimed that there was a drone communication error due to an ill-intentioned signal.

The signal was sent out by a rival competing drone company which caused the malfunction to occur, however, later on, it turned out to be an operation error.

This is one of the most well-documented encounters of drones falling from the sky and could’ve been unbelievably disastrous if there were people in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, there’s a lot to learn from it.

2012 Surveillance Drone Crash:

This is another very alarming incident in the history of drones falling from the sky. What makes it worse is the fact that this was a surveillance drone in use by the military.

In the year 2012, a Navy RQ-4 surveillance drone ended up falling from the sky and crashing towards Maryland’s East Coast.

You can get an idea of the size of the drone from its wingspan which was right around the same as the Boeing 757’s.

This instance unfortunately wasn’t as damage-free as the recent botched Chinese light show. Due to this drone falling nose-first onto the shoreside, it ignited a wildfire which damaged the area and the environment to a certain extent.

This, according to the Defense department, was a rare occurrence which wouldn’t replicate as they have complete confidence in the drones, their working, and architectures.

There have been many such incidents in the U.S.A. due to their excessive use of drone technology for military and surveillance purposes.

We can only hope that no such incidents take any lives or cause any excessive damage that puts a stop to the growth of drone technology.

Navy RQ-4 Drone
Navy RQ-4 surveillance drone

How to Make Sure Your Drone Doesn’t Fall from the Sky?

Drone falling can be more harmful to your drone and yourself than anyone else if you’re flying in the right places.

To make sure you avoid wasting money on repairs again and again, here are some of the steps you can take to ensure your drone doesn’t fall from the sky; 

Keep Practicing:

One of the ways you can avoid making the wrong moves is simply practicing flying the drone more and more. Do it until you’re confident and professional enough to fly perfectly.

You can create a schedule, fly the drone around at home, in your backyard. It’s also possible to have someone supervise you who is a better flyer.

You can also learn online and enhance your flight skills. The possibilities are endless when it comes to learning about flying drones.

Create a Checklist:

A checklist is always welcome when it comes to drone flight. If you haven’t already been using a flight checklist, then it is now time to do so because it can help you quite a lot in the long run.

This is especially true if you’re looking to go for a professional drone-flying occupation.

You can place a battery checkup element in the checklist. It’s also a good idea to conduct a wings and props checkup.

The simple movement checks and some other steps help to ensure there is no mechanical fault in the drone when you’re flying it, so it doesn’t fall due to such issues.

Preflight Checklist for drones
Always have preflight checklist ready

Don’t Fly Drones Out of Range:

Drones typically tend to have a range that is mentioned on the box, especially when they’re hobbyist or professional videography drones.

The higher the price, the longer the range tends to be. Let’s say your drone has a range of 100 meters.

In that case, if you don’t want your drone to lose control and fall from the sky, you should make sure you keep the drone within the 100-meter range at all times.

This will help the drone stay within an ideal range and be able to communicate with the remote easily.

How Falling Drones Can Affect People and Aircraft?

When a drone loses its control and starts to fall, your objective is not to protect the drone but the people on the ground.

FAA has released a report on the extent of damage a drone may cause upon colliding with a person
on the ground.

This study tells us that such a collision may cause cuts if a sharp object,such as a propeller blade comes in contact with the skin. In addition, a drone strike may also cause something known as “blunt force trauma”.

These are injuries that do not cause a break in the skin. However, they may result in internal bleeding and serious head wounds.

And finally, a falling drone may also cause deep, penetrating wounds in a human. These can be dangerous if the impact is powerful and because of these dangers as well as the possibility of a drone crashing down due to an internal error or pilot mistake, FAA prohibits flying drones over people.

As far as aircraft is concerned, a falling drone can cause serious damage to an airplane’s body, wings, and propellers. As a result of this damage, a plane may not be able to land safely.

In rare cases, drone collisions have caused small planes to experience a crash landing. Due to safety reasons, airports do not operate or allow planes to land on the runway if there are drones flying around in that area.

The extent of collision is quite strong when a drone strikes with a flying plane because the quadcopter usually at amazing speeds. Imagine a drone flying at 238 mph hitting a plane’s wing and what exactly can happen after

Wrapping Up:

Drone falling is just as common as drone flying. As long as you’re keeping a checklist and continuously strengthening your flight skills, you’re not going to face many problems.

However, since it’s always a possibility, you should take precautions, so you’re well prepared when it comes to your drone falling from the sky.

With a high-quality drone that offers long-range and a durable design, you’re not going to have to worry about this at all. It’s also a good idea to fly your drone only in places where it is allowed, so you don’t end up hurting anyone.

All the best!


Article Name
When Drones Fall From the Sky? What Happens?
In this article, we are going to find out why drones fall from the sky. We will also discuss if these drones can be harmful.
Publisher Name
Remoteflyer Private Limited.
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