Public Park Flying accident (People and Animals)


New member
I bought a Versa-copter a few months ago and recently was able to get time to build it. Before I got into multi rotors I had flown a number of foam planes and other designs that I scratch built from Australian foam board. My mini Scout worked great but its far too windy at the moment where I live to use these small planes.

I spent 2 days just hovering, learning how to correct small changes within a meter in front of me. Although I do usually fly at a large public park which is made up of 3 fields an area with a few trees and another field on the other side. Whenever someone came within 30 meters (98 feet?), I would land and pick up my quad then wait until they were out of range again before I restarted.

My uncle who is interested in the hobby but not particularly interested in flying the aircraft decided to come down to watch me on the third day. I promptly crashed it but nothing was seriously broken, just my pride. I moved the booms back and went back to hovering like I did the past few days. Unfortunately a dog came sprinting over unexpectedly. I was about to put it down and pick up the quad but before I could it was under it so I raised it further off the ground into a position I was uncomfortable with but continued to hover as best I could and keep it from hitting the dog.

In Australia you're meant to have a leash on dogs at public parks but I'm not here to bash about dog owners.

My Uncle ended up making the decision to catch and keep the dog off the quad which resulted in a deep prop cut and a dog bite.

What would you guys have done? Should I have just dropped it out of the air initially?

When it happened I found that I only had a few seconds to make a decision do you guys have an idea of what you do in a situation like this if it arises?

What I do know though is that I will now be carrying medical gear just in case for now on so I can prevent bleeding and infection if I hurt myself or someone else.

I do follow the regulations listed under CASA in Australia which is common sense stuff like 30 meters from people and not over crowds etc.

I guess the best course of action would be to find a less populated flying field even if I have to travel an extra 10 minutes or so it would be worth it to not annoy anyone.

Has anyone else faced a similar issue?


To me it sounds like you were doing everything as safe as you possibly could have. A rogue dog is completely out of your control. I may catch some fire for saying this, but if you could not have scared the dog away just enough to land and get your machine without getting bit, I would have opted for the dog getting injured from a prop instead of your uncle. If you have another area that is less populated that is reasonably close, it might not be a bad idea to practice there until you are a bit more comfortable with flying away from another situation like you had. I would not let it get you down. Keep practicing!

Did you ever see the owner of the dog? Legal action can sometimes be taken over dog bites like that.

One last questions. Did your uncle try to catch it while it was hovering, or did you cut the throttle and let it fall into his hand from a few feet up? I would opt for the second option, but with the dog involved all bets are off.


Winter is coming
That's a tough situation you had there. Sorry to hear your uncle got hurt and hope he'll recover quick. My rc club flys at a field that is also a dog park where owners are allowed to off leash their dogs, but have to use good judgement like we do about flying. I've seen most of the dogs have gotten used to our model flying, but sometimes a new owner and dog shows up and relative chaos ensues. Not much one can stop there except hope for there best and hope all parties learn. I've seen curious dogs step on wings, had more than a few sniff out my aircraft, has to do the same as you and pop a multirotor into the air and fly a pattern until there dog tired out and got bored of chasing it. Been thanked for helping exercise a energetic dog and may have turned a dog walker to a drone owner.


New member
He did try to catch it as I cut the throttle to drop it but the dog knocked him and it hit his hand instead. Usually the dogs are typically pretty good but this one was barking and jumping for it. My Uncle did try to scare the dog away but it was too focused on my multi rotor to take notice. I was lucky that he got to the quad as the dog was on it as soon as it hit the ground and as you know the battery on the versa-copter is exposed... I found teeth marks on it but the dog seemed to have switched to my uncle before it bit down on the battery.

Sadly the person got away too fast before I could get any details and I didn't have a phone on me. At the time I was more worried about my Uncle, he was bleeding pretty bad from the cut and bite.

As I said I'm not that experienced, good thing I followed Josh and Alex's information on starting with just hovering as it gave me the skills to keep it under control.

I did find a new location to fly it takes a bit longer to get down there but it should be less popular than the park I was using. It's a national reserve, I checked if RC was allowed but couldn't see anything saying it was not so I guess I will go there now instead to try it out.

Either way the medical gear would be a good idea anyway do you carry and medical gear?
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Senior Member
I'm beginning to hate dogs. Next to humans, one of the stupidest animals on the planet. Of course, I could just be grumpy from getting woke at 4am this morning by my neighbor's dogs. :D

On a (possibly) more helpful note, what I do when some one/thing enters my flight area is: move the aircraft to an area that would be safe to let it fall, try to adjust my position so that I can see them in my peripheral vision.

I'm lucky though, the park I fly in is rarely used. When it rains it stays half swamp for a week. Bad for most, good for me.

Be careful at the reserve though. Most people at least try to keep their dogs under control in a park. At the reserve they will just be roaming around free, probably with no owner in sight.


New member
Hopefully you haven't lost a plane or multi-rotor in that "swamp". The reason I was initially reluctant to fly at the reserve was not due to the possible dogs off leads but yeah you're right they would feel more inclined to let them off the lead than at a public park, thanks for the warning. There is a risk of Tiger snakes or Dugites, it's Summer here in Australia and they are active at the moment. I should be fine if I stick to the cut grass but I'm not going near the reeds of the swamp that's just asking for trouble. Haven't seen one down there in a while though since it boarders a residential area.

The longer grass makes it difficult to find parts maybe I should paint some of them with fluoro colours.

I like your Pilot status, I too am a noob.

Thank you for the suggestions guys, do you have to keep a look out for dangerous animals other than dogs too?


Build another!
Sorry about your uncle's injury.

I found myself in a similar situation once but it turned out much better. Owner had dog on leash, but dog pulled away and started chasing my Mini-Scout all over the baseball field. The poor owner was trying to call him off and catch him as I flew over, but there was no way.

My concern wasn't with the prop biting the dog, but the dog biting the plane! I flew it around for about 4 minutes, hoping to tire the dog while walking over to the apologetic owner. No way. Dog had more energy than I had battery! I told the owner not to worry and figured whatever occurred it might make a good story. The end was anticlimactic. I landed it very close, and as soon as the dog took a sniff of a dry paint covered 'dead thing' it lost interest.

Had to wait though, until the guy dragged the beast out of the park entirely, because as soon as I tried to fly again the dog came running back, sans owner who could not hang on to it. I told the guy at least his pup had a good workout that day.

Next time if I may suggest, get it close and low then cut power, or land it on top of a car or roof if possible.



Faster than a speeding face plant!
Tough scenario.

I would suggest this.

Do not get under your quad for any reason other than to protect another human life. Only the pilot can make this decision. Spectators stay back and out of the way at all times unless the pilot is a minor and the spectator an adult.

Crash or land the quad away from the dog and out of his reach if possible and disarm it. Stop the rotors ASAP and as safely as possible. If the dog gets it, follow him home. Once the rotors stop spinning you have taken your liability WAY down (there is still the lipo). You can no longer hurt anyone with your hobby. At that point it is on the dog's owner.

You can always replace your machine. I would opt for that over anyone getting cut if I have the option.

We are fortunate to have an Army medic fly at our club. We support him in any way we can. :)


Rogue Drone Pilot
What I would have done doesn't really matter. You are a beginning pilot and you handled the situation very well. It is difficult to control a copter when you are first starting out let alone trying to keep it away from Mr. Mutt... I'm glad your uncle is okay though. Prop cuts can be really nasty! If you ever have that issue happen you could try to land on something the dog won't be able to reach easily but I'm with cranialrectosis on this one... please don't let people catch your multi-rotor, there is no real safe way to do it.


Staff member
I don't think you made a bad call on this. Especially in the short amount of time you had.

The only thing that might help is to have a switch assigned to change to a self-leveling mode that makes it easier for you to get the quad stabilized. That way you can concentrate more on possible ways out of the situation instead of focusing most of your input on the quad.

Sometimes it's better to just crash the quad away from possible danger. I've learned that myself pretty early :).


Faster than a speeding face plant!
To be clear, what I know, I know as the result of years of experience. For a noob you did just fine and I would be happy to fly with or near you anytime.


New member
Thanks for the suggestions guys.

Sadly I did break a carbon fiber boom somehow and won't be flying the quad until I buy a replacement and have it shipped here or replace it with wood. I did find a piece light wood in a cylinder but it was slightly smaller than the carbon fiber and I couldn't get a nice friction fit on it everything else at the hardware store was bigger and I had no way to sand it down evenly.

Has anyone used the wood booms like they had in the reveal video for the Versa-copter, it seems they took out the circle plates but would that require cutting the side panels to fit the larger boom in?
(I kind of answered this for myself when I looked a bit further into the forums should be back in the air later today.)

Until then I will have to watch the wind and take out my Australian foam board mini Sportster it was so heavy I decided to put a 24 gram hexatronic bell motor on it with a 25 Amp esc ripped out of another plane and 1300 mah lipo. At least the cg seems to be alright now.
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