Admin warning: There are graphic scenes of propeller induced lacerations in this video

After many years experience working in the military and as a hobby it finally happened to me. While the drone was landing a few inches from the ground I approached about 2 feet from it. Well, it did not like the spot it was landing on and it moved towards me cutting in to my leg. This was my mistake, instead I should have waited for it to land and disarm. 

This makes me think of the many people flying their drones in public places. Many videos have been posted in social media were something goes wrong and the craft goes out of control and down it goes toward the ground and even worst people or property. 

A 10 inch plastic "slow flyer" prop was able to cut in to my leg all the way down to were muscle and bone was exposed. In this instance it was a clean cut with no major damage. In the vid you can see the muscle moving inside when I moved my foot. (Yes very gnarly)

Imagine this being a child or anyone for that matter when an aircraft "looses control". For the longest time, RC enthusiasts have had to follow established rules by the FAA and AMA. The sudden influx of this technology hitting the world markets have created a different type of costumer, an ignorant one. Many flying fields would not allow you to fly if you do not posses an AMA membership which comes with insurance. At that, it is my understanding insurance will not cover irresponsible usage. 

My point is, do not do this hobby or work a disservice by your irresponsible usage. Flying higher than the mandated ceiling, flying on the mandated areas, and never over unsuspecting public. Look at what it can do! and that was only at lower RPM's and a few inches from the ground. Imagine a 3 lb drone hitting a child after falling from over a 100 ft. Don't be selfish, your stupid video is not worth killing or injuring an innocent life. 

Those of us who use this technology in the professional field please be an example to others and feel free to call out a moron that is giving us negative attention. I am looking forward to heavy regulation over the professional and hobby industry to minimize incidents. 

Thank you every one, and safe dronening :-)

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  • Thank you for your wishes Fernando. I am divided on prop guards. I see the use indoor flying or when kids are playing with them and some other occasions. Also with proper preparing, checks and responsible usage there is no need for them. What do you guys think?

    My job is to find root cause. For example, if you have headaches and keep taking Tylenol but keep coming back. Well you treated the symptom not the root cause. What is causing the headaches? Could be many things, a tumor, hypertension, improper hydration ans so on. So in reference to the prop guards, what is the root cause of the cuts? We already know props spin fast and no one would purposely dare to touch one, so what now? What other factors do we look in too for further analysis? And if the danger can not be avoided, what can we do to minimize damage or suspendthe activity? How many of you use the scientific method in your decision making? Give me your thoughts
  • Hi Man , I hope you get well soon .  I already taste that flavour my arm ...and it went deep very very near my veins ...Since then I got traumatized and I really fear these machines . A lot of Respect is needed when working with them.

    For me , double check on everything is not enough ,for me ADEQUATE  PROPELLER GUARD IS MANDATORY.  

  • Good job Rai. The preflight check could be the most important one. You have flight planer already checking electronics so doing a mechanical check on the ground is next. This will vary depending on your particular platform. For example, check the motor mounts, these can come loose especially if no lock nuts or loctite was used. Props are tighten, battery is charged and secured,connections are secured, ect. Also knowing the area will be flying in to just like you have been doing. If no regulations are in place I would appeal to your moral judgment to keeping everything safe. Regular maintenance could catch any future problems. I can't cover everything here, but those are some basics. Training new operators takes months in the Air Force with periodic check flights. Now we have these available to the public with similar capabilities and no training. So be mindful of shortcomings and keep searching for knowledge.
  • Hi M.A.N, thanks again for bringing up this discussion (although through the pain again I am really sorry for that and wish you well soon). Regarding the check list (ToddH) I guess at the moment that's what we can do and maybe need to do to minimize risks. Anybody can share their list? Usually I (we in Indonesia, there is no regulation on UAV 'yet') try to double-check as much as we can (mechanic i.e. propeller, etc.) also if possible electronics. We never fly auto directly, we fly manual, alt-hold and loiter first and if everything is ok  then we started auto mission. We also check the commercial flights path in the area (we have never been able to check military flights :p). Anyway, I don't know if it's enough (we printed the check-list in a paper). I wish to learn more from anybody in this forum. Maybe you all can share to us all here. Thanks lot.

  • Thank you, for your comments. And technicus you bring up a valid point. Safety measures became a new field of study and many safety jobs came out it when companies started being liable for injuries. Safety today in my field is number one and all operations regarding aircraft are written only around safety. Why such an idiotic concept? Because lives depend on it.

    Todd great job with the check list. We use those for different scenarios, before and after flight. You are being mindful of all that involves a flight. And certainly it minimizes the possibility of being financially responsible for someone's injuries or repairs to property.
  • And? What is about this stuff? Soldering iron dangerous too and drill and even a toaster, do not put your fingers where you should not, it does not need special training, unless you're an idiot. lol

  • Echoing the crowd when I say that I am glad your alright.

    It is extremely important to respect yourself, others, the surrounding area, your aircraft and the hobby itself no matter what your operating.  Take the time and necessary precautions to make sure everything and everyone is safe.

    I myself stand back one final time before each flight and do the safety checklist once more in my head, just in case I may have missed something or to see if something in my area of flight has changed. 

    Its easy to overlook something so take another minute or two and double check everything, it could be the difference between a great flight and a not so great flight.


  • I'm glad to hear from safety mined individuals. Prop guard would definitely be a good recommendation minimizing some of the danger. However educating everyone on already established recommendations by the AMA and joining could be a start. It seems like we have created a new type of RC user that has separated from established guidelines. I don't know why but the usage is essentially the same so including this information with every purchase should be a requirement. I will venture to say that responsible sites like this one not to accept videos of unsafe use.

    Newcomers need to know that in order to be welcomed rules must be followed. It's a bit out of control at the moment and unfortunately government has to be involved to keep safety. In the meantime lets keep the saftey conversations going.

  • Moderator

    Wow, glad to see you are OK. I posted a safety oriented slide show about a year ago compiled from images of injuries sustained by propellers on Model Aircraft. This is one of the deepest lacerations I've ever seen!

    I don't think the material really matters that much, I've seen plenty of damage caused from wood, plastic, carbon etc. Sharp, dull, makes no difference really except in the type of laceration. Do you want a clean cut or a jagged one? Neither you say, then stand back and be ever vigilant about your personal safety!

    The biggest danger is in the fact that we are dealing with efficient, high torque ELECTRIC motors that don't stall out and quit when they come in contact with a hard surface. They are more than happy to continue to "slice and dice" so to speak.

    Wood will shatter and send shrapnel of arcing off at high velocity. Glass reinforced plastic will break in much the same way, but with a cleaner edge usually. The danger with carbon fiber is in it's strength, it's very brittle and will break down on the edges very easily producing a serrated type of edge, but it doesn't break off in large pieces nearly as easily, so it has the capacity to do a lot of damage when combined with a nearly unstoppable electric motor.

    This is a good safety reminder for all hobby/model aircraft enthusiasts in general, not just us multi-rotor enthusiasts.

    Question: We were always told that for safety you should always stand clear of the prop arc on a fixed wing model aircraft. How can we adapt that to multi-rotors? It's a danger for a full 360°. Anyone have a solution for that, a shield perhaps?

    Glad you're on the mend!



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