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Drone Crash Guide - Industry Best Practices

There are two types of drones: those that have been crashed and those that have yet to crash. A grim joke, but true nonetheless. Crashes happens to the best of us, and it is inevitable risk of flying.

In the moments after an accident, there can be a lot going on this can impact directly impact a pilot's ability to make the best and most informed decisions. This is a guide put together by Han Tse of Repair A Drone that will give you the proper instructions on how to act in the unfortunate event of a crash. Please review and keep a copy with your drone kit at all times.

RepairADrone.com specializes in drone repairs, aftermarket parts, and custom builds. We have several locations throughout Southern California and provide service across the nation through our mail in service. Han Tse is an aerospace engineer with a passion for drones and photography. He is a Part 107 pilot and have been building and flying drones since 2011. He is the owner of RepairADrone.com and Sensofly.com (drone training and services).

Han Tse, Owner of RepairADrone.com
Han Tse, Owner of RepairADrone.com
"Flying Drones is the perfect hobby because It touches upon my passions in photography, aviation, and robotics.”

Instructions - The moment after

1. Safety is the number one priority. First thing is to execute the emergency motor to turn off the motor procedure. This is to ensure the drone will not move or spin the propellers and cause any further damage to itself or people. For the DJI drones, this can be activated with the combination stick command (CSC).

Keep the controller on, so the Return To Home (RTH) won't be activated from a lost connection and possibly turn the drone back on.

Screenshot of how to control drone motors
Controlling Motors


It should be noted that this will only work if you have set the “Stop Motor Method” ahead of time. Please do this BEFORE taking off with the drone.

Step 1
Step 2

2. Next, keep everyone away from the drone (at least 20 feet). In the damaged state, anything can happen - including starting back up again.

3. Document the situation with photos and videos. Pay attention to damage to the drone, damage to property/personnel, record locations and pieces of the drone. 

4. Gather contact info if the damages involve people or private property. Not required for situations like crashing to a pole, tree, ground, etc.

5. Gather all pieces of the drone (as much as you can find) and store them carefully. Damages can still occur from transport even after a crash since the drone is in a more fragile state. Pay particular care to the gimbal as it is the most fragile assembly and one of the most expensive to repair.

6. Remove and store the battery in a separate bag. Do not use it again even if it appear fine. It may have been damaged and should undergo inspection to determine if it can be used again. 

7. Remove and store the propellers in a separate bag. Do not use them again even if they appear fine. Cracks that the human eye cant detect may propagate and cause failure mid-flight.

8. Contact your drone insurance company as soon as possible.

9. Find a shop to repair, trade in, or dispose your drone. Repair a Drone offers all these services.

Water Damage

If you experience water damage, immediately retrieve the drone. Every extra second can cause major damage. Several seconds is enough to brick the entire drone. Immediately encapsulate your entire drone in a bag of rice, with the fan vent opening down for water to drain out. 

Most water damaged repairs cost almost as much as a new drone. Be straight with drone shops, they have their methods of knowing if your drone has been subjected to water damage. Your best move is to consider trade in options for what is still usable, or disposal. Feel free to contact Repair A Drone to hear about the services available to you.

Important Regulation

If damages were to people or property (value or repair cost over $500), then you must report the accident to the FAA within 10 calendar days. More insight and information about drone laws, please visit here.

Last but not least, remember to fly safe!

“Most crashes are due to a lack of situational awareness.“

Always remain aware of your surroundings before you even take off. The best way to avoid crashes and keep your insurance cost down is to practice flying in an open field or consider taking lessons like through sensofly.com

Drone Flying

Have questions/comments? Contact us directly at admin@repairadrone.com.

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