Drone retrieval should be done by designated personnel only, preferably a person(s) given the role “Drone Handler”. The Drone Handler should be trained to quickly identify and assess the state of a battery, and should be the only ones handling drones and batteries on event day.
1. If Drone Handlers are stationed on the course, it is vital to ensure that they are in a safe area while racing is occurring. They must stay in this safe zone until it is confirmed that all racers have finished the current race, and the state of the course has changed from closed to restricted or open.
2. Clear and real-time communication between the Drone Handlers and all staff is essential. It is vital that the drone runners not be permitted to touch any drone that is actively controlled by a pilot. Adhering to a very strict “Controllers Down” policy when while handling drones will mitigate these risks.
3. Drone Handlers are only allowed to retrieve the drones after the course status has changed from closed to restricted or open. This ensures that the risk of an accidental arm or spin up are minimized.
4. Drone Handlers must remove the battery from any downed drone prior to picking up the drone. This is the safest way to ensure that an accidental spin-up does not occur.
It is critical that the Drone Manager manages the Drone Handlers and enforces all rules pertaining to drone maintenance and retrieval, underscoring that even when a drone isn't flying, it still poses a risk.