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Can a drone survive flying through an erupting volcano?

Answer: Probably not, but we now know that they can get pretty darn close.

A volcano erupting lava.
A drone pilot in Iceland recently took his drone to its limits, but even the drone would probably agree that the up-close footage he captured of an erupting volcano was totally worth it.

Photographer Garðar Ólafs was out filming a volcanic eruption in Iceland recently when he decided to try and get some footage from directly above the volcano. The mountain in question, Fagradalsfjall, lies about 15 miles southwest of the capital, Reykjavik. “I was flying my drone around the eruption and decided it would be cool to see it from straight above,” Ólafs told PetaPixel. “I slowly lowered the drone until all I could see was erupting lava, and when I looked up, I didn’t see the drone anymore. Basically, I was inside the crater of the volcano.”

Fortunately, Ólafs didn’t leave his DJI drone so close to the volcano long enough for it to be destroyed, but it did sustain some damage. When he got home and examined the machine, he found that the light on its underside had been melted by the heat of the volcano. The obstacle avoidance sensors were also damaged, but the craft can still fly, although it doesn’t perform quite like it used to and it sends out a lot of error messages. But at least it survived.


View this post on Instagram A post shared by Garðar Ólafs | Iceland ���� (@gardarolafsphotography)