Drone vs Lightning is a video uploaded by a YouTuber named Tom Scott, and it is a test of a DJI Phantom 3 versus a simulated lightning strike. Even though most people know that lightning will surely always win, this test still unveiled some surprising results. Take a look for yourself and watch the video:
Where and How Was The Drone vs Lightning test Conducted?
The University of Manchester was kind enough to let Tom use the facility for drone testing. The lightning simulator is in the UK’s largest multipurpose high-voltage lab. The laboratory was once used for aircraft testing, but it is apparently now available for teaching. The video shown is footage of the laboratory’s first drone vs lightning test.
How Strong is the Lightning Generator?
The impulse generator is capable of generating up to 2 million volts, but only 1.4 million volts hit the DJI Phantom. In what sounded like a loud gunshot, the lightning strike pulsed through the drone and dropped the Phantom like a dead fly. Everything was basically fried, but the surprising result was the battery. The battery survived both lightning tests because it was covered with a metal casing. Tom Scott summed it up when he said that it was basically a faraday cage. A faraday cage is a grounded metal screen surrounding a piece of equipment to exclude electrostatic and electromagnetic influences, and the DJI battery is similarly designed.
Faraday Cage Lightning Test
In the Drone vs Lightning video, the lightning first contacted the DJI Phantom through the motor, which has metal, and it exited through the bottom arm. The two tests gave different exit results, so lightning was still concluded to be unpredictable.
Is This Covered by Insurance?
Surprisingly, lightning strikes and other “Acts of God, “or natural disasters, are covered by most drone insurances. Just check with your local insurance to see if you are covered.
Lightning Storms can Happen out of Nowhere, So Be Careful!
Don’t fly when it’s about to rain. Do not tempt fate and conduct a drone vs lightning test of your own. Lightning can happen in an instant. Be cautious when you fly since lightning can actually strike without rain! You may lose your $1000+ investment in the event that it gets struck with lightning, but at least you may still be able to salvage the battery. If more consumer drones become waterproof, flying during a storm may not be the best idea, especially if there is lightning.
Thank you for reading!