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Drone Operator Located in Blackhawk Drone Strike

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“At approximately 7:20 p.m. Sept. 21, the drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle, and the helicopter collided. The Army helicopter sustained damage to its main rotor blade, window frame and transmission deck. A motor and arm from a small drone, identified as a DJI Phantom 4, were recovered from the helicopter,” the NTSB reports. “…In the following days investigators were able to identify and subsequently interview the drone operator. The drone operator also provided flight data logs for the incident… (dronelife.com) المزيد...

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tongo
Dan Grelinger 3
AOPA has published a better article on this story: https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2017/october/05/drone-pilot-provides-data-from-black-hawk-midair

It appears that the drone pilot did NOT turn himself in and was found by NTSB investigators, perhaps with assistance from the Drone manufacturer. NTSB investigators are only charged with gathering data and the likely disciplinary or criminal actions against the pilot will involve other agencies.

"The NTSB announced Oct. 5 that the motor arm recovered from the helicopter after the incident was identified as belonging to a DJI Phantom 4, and investigators were able in the days following the incident to identify and interview the Phantom’s pilot, who has turned over flight data from the drone."
avihais
Martin Haisman 2
I see two outcomes. The drone operator will be made an example of and busted big time or it will be quietly swept under the mat with the copter being too low.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
Not sure how an investigation could find that the helicopter was too low. It did not hit anything on the surface, which is the only way it could be too low.
Bernie20910
Bernie Behling 1
I want to follow this and see what the final outcome is.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Results are published.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Since you found it, would you care to post the link for others to read?
Bernie20910
Bernie Behling 2
Thank you. Looking at the information it seems pretty obvious to me that this was a case of a drone operator who put all his trust into that app instead of heeding the warning the app gave him about the app only being "advisory" and that it was his responsibility to confirm what the app was telling him. Had he properly familiarized himself fully with the regulations that applied to him, and taken the initiative to confirm that his flight would be legal then this incident would not have happened.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
Given his track record indicated in the report, he may be representing himself if it goes to court.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Upvoted your post. Very reasonable.
Bernie20910
Bernie Behling 1
He earns a little respect from me for at least using the app to check if it was okay to fly, but then he loses it again for using the app incorrectly and not checking other sources.

I can also understand his assumption that the drone simply crashed in the water. It was low on juice and doing a RTB. His connection with it was at its limit (and dropping out) so it's at least a reasonable assumption on his part. I have no idea how much of a splash (pun intended) the news of the strike made in the local NYC media (I moved from NYC in '99), or what media he might have seen/read that mentioned it, so I have no way of judging if he knew about it or not. My gut feeling is that he really didn't know, because if he did and was trying to hide from the FAA/NTSB then he would have purged his logs and claimed he sold the drone to "some guy" on Craigslist or "at the park where I fly, don't know his name but he paid cash..." Instead, the logs were still there and he seems to have cooperated fully with NTSB once they contacted him so, point in his favor IMHO.

He was still wrong for not being better informed about the flight rules in effect for him at the time of his flight, and the flight rules in general for drone operation, as well as for other reasons particular to this incident (not avoiding the helo, out of sight, etc.) but at least he was just some guy with money to burn and no regard at all for rules, regs and safety.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
I guess you could even come up with a lot of excuses for someone driving drunk. But I wouldn't, because it would be insensitive and irresponsible.

The NTSB was able to get him to voluntarily talk becuase he had no idea what he did with his drone. They called him and said they knew what happened to it and wanted to meet to tell him. that's why he agreed to talk to them. He probably did not get the news reports; it appears he even needed a translator for the conversation with the NTSB.

From the report, he said that he knew about the 400 ft altitude limit for small drones being operated under part 107, but then callously violated it as proven by his flight logs from that night.

Don't give this guy any pass. He is a menace, not because he wants to be, but because he did not make the effort to understand the hazard he was creating for others. Just like a drunk driver. We used to give passes to drunk drivers ("He really didn't want anything bad to happen"), but we've wised up and realize that the only way to fight the problem is to not make excuses for irresponsible behavior.
Bernie20910
Bernie Behling 3
You and I are in agreement that he doesn't get a pass on this. He had a responsibility to follow the rules and he didn't. Saying that I understand his thinking does not mean that I agree with it, condone his actions, or do anything more than simply understand. I understand Hitler's goals during WWII, that does not mean I agree with them.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Thanks for the info. Comment upvoted.
Bernie20910
Bernie Behling 1
* wasN'T some guy with money...

I hate when I make stupid typos like that.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Thank you sir.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
The line forms at the left.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
If this is true, I am glad that they found the drone pilot so that all facts can be determined. I wish the article stated how investigators "identified" the drone operator. If (s)he turn themselves in, hooray. If not, BOOOO!

This article is pretty weak. This statement in particular is poor journalism and indicates the journalist either did not perform simple research or has a bias: "It is unclear if any FAA regulations were broken by the drone operator." More reputable news organizations have reported the flight as "illegal". An examination of the appropriate regs shows that at least one, if not multiple, violations occured. Drone operators are required to see and avoid all manned aircraft flights, no matter at what altitude. Obvious violation of that reg occured. It has been reported that a TFR existed at the time of the accident that prohibited drone flights from the surface on up. I have not confirmed, but if true, another violation.

The mainstream news outlets have not seemed to pick up on this. I found this, one which looks a little more professional: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/drone-helicopter-new-york-collision/

Here is a new report of an actual drone collision with an aircraft. This one in Canada, and the aircraft was on final approach: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/10/16/a-commercial-airplane-collided-with-a-drone-in-canada-a-first-in-north-america/?utm_term=.91aa613d2a6f

Particularly pertinent is this comment: "Greg McConnell, the national chairman of the Canadian Federal Pilots’ Association, told CTV News that the incident “was just a matter of time.”
“There are a lot of drones flying, and there are a lot of people flying drones thinking they’re toys,” McConnell added."
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
I would not consider dronelife.com a news organization. From their About Us page

"DRONELIFE is here to make sure you, the consumer, are up to date on all the latest drone news, product releases, YouTube videos and legal precedents so you can stay informed about the rise of the commercial drone. DRONELIFE also helps companies to get the word out with branding, lead generation, and content.
".

I agree that, as a news story, the journalistic content minimal.

Perhaps a news organization will pick up the subject and run with it.

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