It's no secret that drones are being used for many scientifically-relevant, research-oriented applications - and some of the stuff these researchers are doing makes be twinge with jealousy. When universities send teams of researchers out to gather information using UAV platforms that allow data to be collected in ways that were never before possible - I would say it is another point for "drones revolutionizing the planet."
It's when people who are NOT researchers start playing researcher that bad news stories tend to hit the airwaves - like the case of Erez Marom, an Israeli aerial photographer.
You can read the story by Malek Murison on Dronelife.com here, but basically, Erez wanted to get some really cool drone pictures of the lava flows at Mount Kilauea, the famous volcano on the big island of Hawaii, and he flew his drone a little too close to the lava. You've got to remember that the maximum operating temperature of a DJI Phantom 4 is 40 degrees Celsius. Exposed magma, which is called lava once it erupts to the surface of the earth, runs at somewhere between 630-870 degrees Celsius. You get almost any kind of photo equipment close to that kind of heat and you just KNOW things are going to get interesting!
Erez found that his drone started to melt as it was exposed to the intense radiating heat. He was lucky that his drone didn't malfunction and go for a swim in the orange river, and when he got it back he was actually quite happy to find that the card was not not damaged, and he was able to get some stunning images. You can check out some of the cool aerial photos of lava that he collected at his website.
We haven't had the opportunity to get drone pictures of lava, but we are constantly amazed at the opportunities that continue to present themselves in the UAV industry. We've had the privilege to take pictures of some prisons in Canada that literally no other people, in planes or drones have legally been able to take pictures of for years (as the prison manages the airspace above it). We cant share those images, but believe me, they're breathtaking!
If you're interested in entering the drone industry, as a recreational pilot or as a commercial operator, we urge you to ensure that you are properly trained and understand the rules for operating in areas where tourists tend to flock to (like Mt. Kilauea), or restricted airspaces (like prisons). Our UAV Ground School Course is available online for only $100 + tax (for non-Canadian residents). If you are a Canadian citizen operating your drone in Canada, you must also complete our in-class training session (This is not a bad thing! This is a huge opportunity! We will share with you tips and tricks for drone photography and data collection, and practical solutions to industry issues that are not available though a simple online course!).
Get more information about our UAV Ground School course to become a drone pilot in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, or any other ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) states around the world!