By 2018, the consumer drone market reached over $1 billion in sales. Given how ubiquitous unmanned drones are now, this is unsurprising; drones are used in everything from farming to photography, from scientific research to traffic management. They are also an increasingly popular private hobby for individuals and competitions. But just like any other machine, drones are susceptible to mechanical fatigue and wear and tear, with their propellers in particular being vulnerable to failure. In this blog, we’ll break down some key reasons for replacing your propeller.
Physical damage is the first and most obvious reason for replacement. Damaged props are noisier in flight as the surface damage disrupts airflow, and can cause damage to other components as well; damaged props cause vibrations in the drone, which leads to a lack of balance, which shortens the lifespan of the motor bearings. Therefore, if you see cracks, deformations, or nicks in the surface of your drone’s propellers, it’s time to replace them. If there are tips or chunks from the propeller missing, you should not fly it at all.
Noise production is also a good reason to upgrade your propellers. Populated areas often have noise ordinances in place, and a drone’s propellers are responsible for the large majority of the noise it creates. Fortunately, new propellers are almost ten decibels quieter than their predecessors.
As propellers are used more and more, they gradually lose stiffness and are less effective. This in turn causes an overall drop in agility. Switching to newer, stiffer propellers, prevents this loss in agility from happening.
Lastly, flying at high altitudes is a serious concern and a challenge that drone operators face more and more as their applications become increasingly varied. This is because as a drone gains altitude, the air becomes thinner, reducing the total amount of air the propellers can push to provide thrust. This means that to have the same performance at these high altitudes as it does at sea level, the thrust from the propellers must be greater. Newer, more modern propellers deliver better performance at high altitudes, maintaining control and stability.
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