What Happens When You Fly a Drone into a Paramotor?

As a Paramotor pilot and drone operator, I've always thought about the dangers of flying a drone around an aircraft with a fabric wing and lines being the only thing keeping the pilot from plummeting to the ground.

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Don't Try This

As a Paramotor pilot and drone operator, I've always thought about the dangers of flying a drone around an aircraft with a fabric wing and lines being the only thing keeping the pilot from plummeting to the ground. I know paraglider wings are extremely safe and they can deal with losing many lines and still fly, but the thought of an FPV racing drone zipping around near me while I'm flying still sounds pretty scary. YouTuber Greg Anthony Harris made this video to find out what would happen and then he pulled off a very dangerous stunt that I cannot stress enough should never be attempted as the risks with an open prop frame like they used are super high.

The video is still worth a watch to see that the drone can do some damage, but isn't going to cause a catastrophic event. The worst case scenario where the prop explodes when a drone flies into it, really isn't as bad as it looks. Debris may cause secondary damage to the wing and lines, but it isn't going to lead to a fatal crash. The wing will still fly just fine and bring the pilot back to the ground safely. My biggest fear as a paramotor pilot would be the drone flying into my face or body. The impact could knock me out or cause a severe laceration. So if you are a drone pilot considering filming some paramotor pilots, make sure you take all precautions, coordinate with the pilots and please fly safely.

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Sep 28, 2021, 08:37 AM
Regards - Randy
BigFQQT's Avatar
Well - duh!

The last little stunt was more stupid than entertaining.
Sep 28, 2021, 08:55 AM
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Jim T.'s Avatar
That was super interesting.
Sep 29, 2021, 01:49 PM
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godfrey's Avatar
First thing I would do is tear that engine down and stick the shaft on a lathe and see how out of round it is. All that weight on one side could easily trash the motor.
Sep 29, 2021, 02:47 PM
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CG Photo's Avatar
Ouch!
Oct 07, 2021, 05:56 PM
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Angelo's Avatar
"The worst case scenario where the prop explodes when a drone flies into it, really isn't as bad as it looks. Debris may cause secondary damage to the wing and lines, but it isn't going to lead to a fatal crash. The wing will still fly just fine and bring the pilot back to the ground safely."

Really? How do you come to that conclusion, based on what happened in the tests? Suppose it cuts one of your brake lines? There was no video of what a broken prop would do if it went through a wing. If it went through sideways, it could take out 5-6 cells, maybe even cut the wing in half.
Oct 09, 2021, 07:39 AM
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2Doggs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelo
"The worst case scenario where the prop explodes when a drone flies into it, really isn't as bad as it looks. Debris may cause secondary damage to the wing and lines, but it isn't going to lead to a fatal crash. The wing will still fly just fine and bring the pilot back to the ground safely."

Really? How do you come to that conclusion, based on what happened in the tests? Suppose it cuts one of your brake lines? There was no video of what a broken prop would do if it went through a wing. If it went through sideways, it could take out 5-6 cells, maybe even cut the wing in half.
It could take out 5 - 6 cells, maybe even cut the wing in half, maybe carry on and cut it's way to the Earth's core.....

I can see it cutting one face of nylon, beyond that is just more speculation.

A safer way to do such tests would be to fly the drone into a suspended dummy paraglider, without risking anyone either in the air or below, and giving both drone and paramotor pilots a bad name.
Oct 09, 2021, 10:04 AM
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Angelo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Doggs
I can see it cutting one face of nylon, beyond that is just more speculation.
Saying "it isn't going to lead to a fatal crash" is also pure speculation.

The simulations are all separate. While the frame survives the drone strike, there is no line or sail attached to it, so you can't see what propeller shards would do to them. A two foot section of propeller going through the sail is not the same as it getting hit by a drone, as in the second simulation.

You can't look at these 3 separate tests and say what would happen to a flying, whole paramotor.


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