Because we humans tend to roast if we’re anywhere near Mustafar temperatures, jumping into a volcano is a no-go. But for drones, well, it’s pretty much the same story. Except with plastic. Photographer Garðar Ólafs, found that out first-hand recently when he flew his DJI Phantom into the erupting Geldingadalir volcano in Iceland.

Digg picked up on Olafs’ harrowing video (above), which he posted to Instagram with the caption: “Can you feel the heat? Melted my drone for this shot.” The video—which you need to listen to with the sound on—is only about 15 seconds long, but delivers an exceptional point of view of the volcano’s spewing fissure.

“I was flying my drone around the eruption and decided it would be cool to see it from straight above,” Olafs said in an interview with the photography website, 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.”

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Olafs was flying the drone into the crater of Geldingadalir; which, along with the adjacent Fagradalsfjall volcano, recently erupted for the first time in 6,000 years. (Of course it would now.) And while it’s hard to say what the temperature was at the drone’s altitude, the crater was likely 2,200 °F. “I was really surprised that the drone was still in the air since it was basically inside the crater,” Olafs added in his interview.

Despite its incredible proximity, Olafs was still able to fly the drone back to safety. As for damage? Petapixel shows the drone now has a partially melted underbelly, and several deformed sensors. Olafs also says that the drone’s vision sensor no longer works, and gives constant errors during flight.


The Icelandic photographer still says the shot was worth the damage, however. And it sounds like Olafs, who lives 15 minutes from the volcano, couldn’t be happier about the eruption itself. In part because it’s putting his home region of Iceland on the proverbial map. And also because he now has an extensive library of volcano content available for perusal and purchase.