Flying a drone, or a quadcopter, can be a fun and exhilarating experience, and more and more people are starting to explore drone flying as the prices of drones come down and become more accessible to more people. Drones can be used in a professional capacity, for racing as a sport, or simply for fun. As more people start investigating drone flying, one of the top questions that are asked is, “are drones easy to break?”
Lower priced drones break easily because of the cheaper materials used in their construction and lack of safety features. More expensive drones don’t break as easily. They are made from more robust materials that are more resistant to damage and have safety features built-in to help prevent crashes.
When you hold a drone n your hand for the first time, they can seem surprisingly delicate and fragile. Many people conceive of them as robust flying machines, so their light weight and flimsy-looking components contradict their perception of these machines. Let’s find out how much punishment drones can take, especially in the hands of a beginner drone pilot.
Do Drones Break Easily?
When covering this topic, it is difficult to generalize, because as with most other things in life, there are variables that influence the situation.
When most people start looking into drone flying, they are drawn to cheaper models because they are concerned about buying an expensive drone and then crashing it.
This kind of mindset is what gets most beginner drone pilots into trouble and results in drone crashes and drone damage, but we will get into why this is the case a little later.
Cheap Drones Break Easily
Cheaper drones are generally made out of more inexpensive materials, which are not as robust as better materials. This is why these drones can be sold at a lower price than other drones.
These lower-quality materials are the main reason that these drones break easily, especially in the event of a crash.
Lower priced drones often do not have the same safety features as more expensive drones.
The manufacturers forego the inclusion of these safety features and drone protection programming in an effort to keep the cost of the drone at a minimum.
The combination of the lower quality materials that the drones are made of and the lack of safety features make these drones easy to break, especially in the hands of an inexperienced drone pilot.
Quality Drones Don’t Break Easily
When you hold a quality, more expensive drone or quadcopter in your hand, you will immediately notice a difference in comparison to a cheaper model.
The first thing that you will notice is that the drone is heavier because it is made of more robust materials. The quality of the fitment of the components together will also be noticeably more professional, and the drone will feel solid and compact in your hand.
The quality materials that go into the manufacture of a more up-market drone will enable it to withstand accidents and sustain less damage than a drone made of cheaper materials.
More expensive drones have additional safety features built into the unit and programmed into the software that controls the drone. These safety features are intended to assist new pilots in becoming familiar with flying the drone while minimizing the errors that new pilots make.
This helps to prevent beginner mistakes and, thus, prevent crashes that cause damage to the drone.
More expensive drones with these features are actually easier to fly for a beginner and more difficult to crash because of these safety features.
What Breaks On A Drone When You Crash?
As someone who is investigating getting a drone, you may wonder what parts on a drone are likely to sustain the most damage in the event of a crash.
The damage that your drone will sustain in a crash will depend on some variables regarding your drone and the nature of the crash.
Factors that will determine the extent of the damage will include the following.
- Quality of your drone. As we have seen, a cheap drone will generally sustain worse damage than a more expensive drone.
- The type of object the drone crashes into. The type of obstacle that the drone crashes into can determine the extent of the damage the drone will receive. Buildings and trees are some of the more common obstacles that are involved in drone crashes and inflict the most damage on your drone. Other obstacles such as clotheslines, fences, low hanging branches may cause less damage than when your drone flies into a more solid object.
- The height from which the drone falls. Gravity will cause your drone to crash to the ground if it runs out of battery or collides with an object. The height from which your drone falls to the ground can play a significant role in the damage that your drone will sustain.
On a cheaper drone, the damage that the drone could sustain could be catastrophic, and the drone could end up in pieces. This can happen to a more expensive drone too, but only with serious crashes.
The parts on a drone that most commonly break are the following components.
- Propellers. Propeller blades are the most common casualties in a drone crash, but fortunately, they are fairly easy and cheap to replace.
- The engine mounts. This is a more serious form of damage and may require structural repairs to the drone with adhesives or the replacement of the part.
- Chassis casings. This damage is usually more cosmetic than serious and can usually be repaired with an appropriate adhesive and some paint.
- The camera gimbal if the drone is fitted with a camera. The camera gimbal is an expensive component that is often damaged because of its external location on the drone. Often, the gimbal takes the brunt of an impact against a tree trunk or similar obstacle. On upmarket drones, you can purchase a gimbal shield, which you can install on the drone to protect the gimbal without restricting its movement.
What Are Common Causes Of Drone Crashes?
As a beginner drone pilot, there are some main causes of drone crashes among beginner pilots that you should be aware of so you don’t make the same rookie mistakes.
Here are some of the most common causes for beginner drone pilot crashes.
- Indoor test flight. Unboxing your drone indoor and deciding to test it on an indoor flight where it will be “safer.” Don’t do this. Fly your drone outside where it can establish a GPS signal.
- Incorrectly mounted propeller. Make sure the propellers are all mounted in the correct orientation so they work together and not against each other.
- Flying without a propeller guard. If your drone has a propeller guard, use it. As a beginner, this is the most commonly damaged component.
- Leaving antennae of remote control unit folded. This results in lost signals and drone crashes.
- The drone battery is not inserted correctly. Insert the battery till it clicks into place. Loose batteries can dislodge during flight, causing a loss of power.
- Starting with a low battery. Always start with batteries that are fully charged to avoid power loss during flight.
- Launching from long grass. Long grass can get caught up in the propellers and wreck the propeller and the motor.
- Use all battery power. Don’t fly till your battery goes dead. The drone will simply fall out of the sky.
- Flying in bad weather. Only fly in good weather. Bad weather can result in GPS signal loss, and winds can blow the drone into obstacles.
- Flying near trees and buildings. Give yourself space as a beginner pilot.
- Flying too high or too low. Flying too high can result in signal loss from the controller. Flying too low risks crashing into obstacles.
- Return home altitude set too low. If the drone’s return home altitude is set too low, if it loses signal, it will try to return home at that altitude and crash into obstacles. Set the return home altitude to clear trees and buildings in the area.
Mae yourself aware of these common beginner drone pilot mistakes and make sure that you don’t wreck your drone or damage it on your first flight!
If you are looking to get a drone for the first time, we would recommend that you do not buy a cheap drone. A cheap drone will be damaged easily by an inexperienced pilot, and you will lose heart and give up on the activity.
Rather buy a more expensive drone that at least is built a little more robustly and has some safety features built into the drone, such as obstacle avoidance and a return home function. These features will help you to learn to fly with less risk of damaging the drone while you gain experience.