I Found A Drone – What Should I Do?

So, you’ve stumbled upon a drone unexpectedly. Whether it crash-landed in your backyard, or you found it abandoned in a park, you’re faced with a unique situation. Drones have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they serve various purposes, from recreational flying to professional photography and surveillance. But what should you do when you find one unexpectedly? In this article, we’ll explore the steps you should take if you possess a drone.

To effectively handle the situation, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of what drones are and their various uses. Drones, also known as (UAVs), are remote-controlled aircraft that can be equipped with cameras, sensors, and other equipment for different purposes.

Initial Safety Precautions

Before you touch or manipulate the found drone, ensure safety for yourself and others around you. It’s crucial to follow these initial safety precautions:

1. Approach with Caution

Approach the drone cautiously, treating it as you would any unfamiliar electronic device. Avoid touching any exposed wires or damaged parts.

2. Power Off

If the drone is still operational, turn it off to prevent any unintended actions. Look for a power button or disconnect the battery if possible.

3. Inspect for Damage

Examine the drone for any visible damage. Check for broken propellers, loose wires, or any signs of malfunction. Document the condition with photographs if necessary.

Finding the Owner

One of your first responsibilities when you find a drone is to try and locate the owner. Drones can be expensive, and losing one can be distressing. Here’s what you can do:

1. Check for Identification

Look for any identification on the drone, such as a serial number or contact information. Some responsible drone owners label their devices with their details.

2. Use Social Media

Take to social media platforms and local community groups to post about the found drone. Share pictures and details, and encourage others to share the post. It’s possible that the owner might see it and come forward.

Legal Considerations

Handling a found drone also comes with legal responsibilities. Aviation authorities regulate drones, and you must adhere to the law:

1. Check Local Regulations

Research the local drone regulations and laws in your area. It’s possible that every area has its own regulations on what to do with lost drones.

2. Contact Authorities

If you are still looking for the owner and unsure about the legal aspects, contacting your local law enforcement or aviation authorities is best. They can guide you on the proper steps to take.

Responsible Disposal

If all else fails, and you cannot find the owner or resolve the legalities, you may need to consider disposing of the drone:

1. Recycle

Check with local recycling facilities if they accept electronic devices. Drones contain various components, and recycling is an environmentally responsible option.

2. Donation

Consider donating the drone to educational institutions or organizations that may have a use for it, even if it’s not in working condition.


Finding a drone unexpectedly can be a unique experience, but it comes with responsibilities. Ensure safety, try to locate the owner, follow legal requirements, and consider responsible disposal options. Remember, responsible drone handling benefits everyone.


Is it legal to keep a found drone?

It’s generally not legal to keep a found drone without making a reasonable effort to locate the owner and following local regulations.

Can I use a found drone for personal use?

Using a found drone without the owner’s permission may be considered theft. It’s best to follow the proper steps to locate the owner.

What should I do if the drone is damaged?

Document the damage and try to find the owner if you can’t, consider recycling or donating it.

Do I need a license to fly a drone?

The need for a license depends on the drone’s weight and your intended use. Check local regulations for specific requirements.

Can I sell a found drone?

Selling a found drone without attempting to locate the owner is typically not legal and may result in legal consequences.

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