The National Transportation Safety Board determined Dec. 13, 2017, that the operator of a drone that collided with an U.S. Army helicopter failed to see and avoid the helicopter because he was intentionally flying the drone out of visual range and did not have adequate knowledge of regulations and safe operating practices.
The incident took place near Hoffman Island, New York, Sept. 21, 2017, when a DJI Phantom 4 small unmanned aircraft system and a U.S. Army Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter collided at an altitude of about 300 feet.
The helicopter landed safely; the drone was destroyed.
A 1-1/2″ dent was found on the leading edge of one of the helicopter’s four main rotor blades and parts of the drone were found lodged in the helicopter’s engine oil cooler fan.
According to NTSB officials, the drone operator was unaware of the collision until an NTSB investigator contacted him.
He also was not aware of temporary flight restrictions that were in place at the time because of presidential travel and a United Nations General Assembly session. He was flying recreationally and did not hold an FAA remote pilot certificate.
The full investigative report is available online.
Next we look for the citation and the fine that makes this guy pay for the damages to the Blackhawk that we taxpayers paid for, the threats to the lives and families of the flight crew, people on the ground near the emergency landing airport, and all of the other parts of this that could have gone terribly wrong!
Tom Caruthers says
I like this idea.
Jim Carter says
I agree Michael, but I’m not holding my breath. I’d also like to see this report published by the major media outlets so other drone operators might be more cautious / aware.
Hope it’s not just a slap on the wrist. They need to send a message. He could have killed many people.
All drones should be required to have collision avoidance sensors. Add some ADS-B to?
Drone pilot says
And make a fun hobby unaffordable. Stupid idea. Just follow the laws in place and this won’t happen.
In a nutshell, withe exception of privacy trespass, this accident report summarizes the reasons why Congrees must address the huge and growing problem of clueless ‘recreational’ drone operators.
Jim Carter says
John, there are already rules in place but they aren’t being “publicly” enforced. If the typical drone operator was aware that his/her violation would be dealt more than a wrist smack, i.e. civil or criminal charges and hefty fines for safety violations, then we’d all be better off.
We can see almost nightly how other criminal acts are punished by jail time, but we never see anything about a drone strike or even a drone induced missed approach being seriously prosecuted. The media still hasn’t realized drones can be dangerous when improperly used, and probably won’t until a news chopper or large aircraft goes down due to one.