Video: Tom Scott took a pair of DJI Phantom 3 drones to the University of Manchester’s High Voltage Laboratory, where they can manufacture lightning strikes measuring over a million volts. The goal was to see what happens to a drone were it to get struck by lightning while flown in a storm, and the results will probably surprise no one.
The first drone was completely fried and knocked out of the air by the instantaneous blast of electricity, but the other drone’s fate was even worse. In an attempt to protect it from the bolt, the second Phantom 3 was outfitted with a makeshift lightning rod. But it did nothing to deflect the intense voltage, which blasted two of the drone’s props clean off, sending it crashing to the ground.
The moral of this story? Don’t fly your drone during a storm unless you’re well insured.