Drones can be used for the likes of photography and videos, but just like tools, they can be useful yet dangerous. The most unsafe part of a UAV are the spinning propellers. Companies have created drones that hide the propellers, but due to the goal of maximizing flight times, the majority of the best drones still have exposed rotor blades. This leaves a problem since propellers can be lethal, especially when a drone builds momentum by flying towards a person. Here is one example from a news aggregator website called Digg; the video explicitly shows why you don’t touch spinning propellers:
Don’t Touch Spinning Propellers!
The man in the video was clearly inexperienced at hand catching a DJI Mavic. Besides amateurishly landing a drone onto a moving boat, handling the drone like a football was a huge mistake. At least he only received a small cut.
Larger Drones Means More Damage
A show called Mythbusters tested to see if drones were deadly. The tests consisted of multiple sized drones ramming their way into a liquid filled mannequin. The drones crashed into the neck area of the mannequin to see if it would make a cut. The propellers used with the small drone were plastic, so they ended up bending on impact. The larger drone’s propellers were carbon fiber, and it was lethal since it was sturdier. To sum it up, the smaller drones did less damage than the hexacopters with larger propellers.
Drones with carbon fiber propellers are more dangerous, and they can even stab. Aside from Mythbusters, a test conducted by Aalborg University also concluded that propellers, especially carbon fiber ones, can be lethal.
According to researchers from Virginia Tech, most propellers on consumer drones spin at a rate of 8000 RPM, so keeping your hands away from the spinning propellers is always a good idea. Anti-drone crash systems are developed to protect the aircraft itself and people surrounding the drone, but it cuts down flight times. Propeller guards are still the best option for anyone looking to fly safe, and they can save a drone from being completely destroyed from a mere bump against a wall.
Spinning Propellers are Dangerous
From the various tests and videos which show the dangers of a spinning propeller, consumer drones must not be regarded as simple toys. Hand catching is best left for experienced pilots or professionals, but there are still risks with that maneuver. Drones can be used for fun, but don’t forget that they need to be handled safely.