Flight School: 6 Epic Drone Fails

1 in every 3 Americans owns a drone…ok maybe not but it kind of feels like it with their growing popularity. Drones have the appeal of a toy, but often come equipped with HD cameras and a myriad of fancy flying features. So it’s easy to see why everyone wants one. So many people own drones these days that even the FAA now requires they be registered before taking flight.

Drones are all over the place in every size, shape and color and with price tags ranging from $20 to $2000 and up, there are loads of drones being bought by inexperienced pilots. An expert drone pilot can take amazing footage or survey inaccessible locations with ease. However for most new drone owners, learning to fly has come at a cost, but the bonus is we get to watch some hilarious and often cringe-worthy drone disasters. Luckily the hubris or short-sightedness of others can help us be better drone pilots ourselves – here’s a few lessons we’ve learned.

Lesson #1: Sometimes you get lucky

It’s Christmas morning, you’re geeking out on your new Walkera QR X-350 Pro you were just gifted, and you want to take it out on its maiden voyage. Although it appears in the video that the drone plops into the nearby pond, in fact the drone remained dry while the GoPro and gimbal did not.

Lesson #2: Your dog and your drone will never be friends

What do you suppose dogs think drones are? Flying chew toys? Giant insects? In either scenario, it sounds like your drone might get attacked by your canine companion, so it’s probably best to keep your drone flights out of Fido’s airspace.

Lesson #3: Don’t go in for the “close-up”

I get it – you’re out with your skateboarding friends, you bring the drone along to catch some awesome aerials, you see someone go for a trick and you have the impulse to zoom for the closest shot. Well, don’t, unless you packed some Band-Aids and an ice pack.

Lesson #4: Monkeys are smart, especially when you annoy them

How would you like it if you were just hanging out in your tree branch and all of a sudden some contraption came buzzing and flying all around? You’d do what any sensible monkey would do – swat it with a big stick.

Lesson #5: Drone rescue scenarios can be dangerous

When your drone crashes, you go looking for it, right? Maybe not when an angry ram just charged at it, is still lingering around the area, and looking to ruin your day.

Lesson #6: Avoid water landings at all costs

We’ll end with a lesson of hope – not all drone crashes end with broken or dismembered drones. Here we see a successful drone rescue at exactly the right moment before it plops in the ocean. Feel free to fast forward to minute 1:20 for the action.

After all of this, you still want to buy yourself a shiny new drone, huh? Well, don’t worry, there are plenty out there that will do the trick without burning a hole in your pocket or lacking any of the fun or features of the expensive models:

And remember, drones have cameras for a reason, so we can all see your epic crashes online when you upload the footage!


  1. Mos Def
    April 5, 2016

    He ran that 100 yards pretty quickly……and I bet that ocean was a bit chilly.

  2. Rob
    May 16, 2016

    the most epic save I saw was one in New Zealand. the pilot was on a large ferry and decided to fly around the boat while in transit. He forgot to account for the headway and after taking some stunning shots, struggled to catch up to the boat. his battery was basically depleted when he made it back to the deck. it was a nailbiter.

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