A-- Hat drone owner/pilot

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Hephaestus

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Isn’t it a violation of regulations not to operate an installed ADS- B out, regardless of airspace, unless complying with a NOTAM?
Up in the great white north... Our illustrious leaders have failed at every step to get adsb implementation resolved. We just need it to head south of the border.
 

JMKD

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Oct 23, 2019
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drone showed the underside of the drone and nothing but sky behind it-- looked to me like the helicopter was looking up at the drone.
You're quite right - I had remembered the end of the video where it looks like the helicopter and drone cross altitudes. That does imply the drone was very likely to be above the grid altitude limits. That's not necessarily illegal, but a waiver for that altitude would come with additional operating restrictions, almost certainly including talking to or notifying ATC, so it's unlikely that the helicopter pilots wouldn't have been told by ATC about a drone in the area, if it was flying under such a waiver. But, these processes aren't well known and are in flux, so it's possible someone could have goofed.

1619888633803.png
 

dog

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You know its just as likely that this drone is bieng operated by local law enforcement or any
number of agencies,state,federal,military,who might ,you know,just act like they can do whatever they want,cause they are not going to
get charged with anything ever.
Now if it actualy causdd loss of life and property,then its the "sheriff" or whoever in there dress uniform,in front of mics,holding a piece of paper and passing the buck,lets say,
something something,"lack of funding for,pick your favorite"
 

Vigilant1

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Thanks, JMKD.

If it turns out that the total penalty is just $500 for hitting a police helicopter after deliberately flying a drone, at night, into an area where the droner knows a helicopter is operating, then it is logical (if immoral) for some droners to just ignore all the bothersome rules, grids, permissions, etc. Be free! Just pay the fine if something happens. It likely won't. Very unfortunate if the drone gets damaged.
 
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Vigilant1

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You're right that if this is the statutory limit, then it's not much of a deterrent. But, it looks like he actually could have been given a year in jail, and as it was got a year of probation on top of the $500 fine. The judicial system isn't required to throw the maximum penalty at people for every offence; and the specifics in any situation matter.
In a fully rational world (which, admittedly, isn't the one we inhabit), people evaluate the benefit of a behavior against the cost. Cost, in this case, equals total risk of getting caught x expected penalty if caught. Yes, the possible penalties ranged from zero to one year in jail. But the actual penalty in this first case of its kind is the most meaningful data available to those weighing the factors as a predicate to their own future actions.
Responsible drone operators who want to retain access to airspace should be ready to demand the "Full Monty" for the next guy like Mr Hernandez who doesn't care about the rules. No excuses, no "he didn't know," no "these drones are no riskier than a bird," etc. As far as I can see, there were no mitigating factors here. He acted with willful disregard of the rules and the risk to others, he didn't willingly come forward after the accident, etc.
 
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Pilot-34

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A lot of drones are no bigger than a crow or turkey buzzard. Flying individually they're not that easy to see in time to avoid them. Fortunately in the case of birds there is a second brain at work on the scene. Maybe not the smartest being a bird but I think it's still smarter than a lot of drone pilots.
If a drone was the size of a crow wouldn’t do about the same damage as a crow?
 

Vigilant1

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If a drone was the size of a crow wouldn’t do about the same damage as a crow?
Yeah. A crow that has swallowed four metal motors and battery.

The drone that hit the LAPD helicopter fell to the ground and part of it >broke the back window out< of a parked car. That doesn't sound like damage I'd expect from a falling crow.

Adult American Crow: 300-600 grams
DJI Mavic Air 2: 570 grams total
Battery in Mavic Air 2: 198 grams. All in concentrated lump.
Happy Bonus: Battery may catch fire if subjected to mechanical damage. (Crows seldom catch fire when struck)

For comparison: Standard D cell alkaline battery = 140 grams (Mavic 2 battery is more than 25% heavier).
Typical 12 gauge rifled slug = 28 grams

If you get a choice, definitely choose to run into a crow.
 
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Bill-Higdon

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Crow
Yeah. A crow that has swallowed four metal motors and battery.

The drone that hit the LAPD helicopter fell to the ground and part of it >broke the back window out< of a parked car. That doesn't sound like damage I'd expect from a falling crow.

Adult American Crow: 300-600 grams
DJI Mavic Air 2: 570 grams total
Battery in Mavic Air 2: 198 grams. All in concentrated lump.
Happy Bonus: Battery may catch fire if subjected to mechanical damage. (Crows seldom catch fire when struck)

For comparison: Standard D cell alkaline battery = 140 grams (Mavic 2 battery is more than 25% heavier).
Typical 12 gauge rifled slug = 28 grams

If you get a choice, definitely choose to run into a crow.
Crow may not have parts penetrate the structure, drone very likely will
 

TFF

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You report MSL not AGL to controllers. The time I flew in Denver was cranking on my head because I’m 500 ft in a helicopter reporting 4000. 4000, where I’m from is nose bleed. If you are a local flyer the numbers have a feel to them. Only if you spend most of your time flying to other parts of the country do you know conditions are really variable. I don’t want to fly 800 MSL in Denver.
 

Vigilant1

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You report MSL not AGL to controllers. The time I flew in Denver was cranking on my head because I’m 500 ft in a helicopter reporting 4000. 4000, where I’m from is nose bleed. If you are a local flyer the numbers have a feel to them. Only if you spend most of your time flying to other parts of the country do you know conditions are really variable. I don’t want to fly 800 MSL in Denver.
FWIW, the Tamiami airport nearest the site of the incident in the OP is at an elevation of about 6 feet MSL. In this particular case, folks flying in the area are probably used to having MSL be darn close to AGL.
 

GeeZee

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You're right that if this is the statutory limit, then it's not much of a deterrent. But, it looks like he actually could have been given a year in jail, and as it was got a year of probation on top of the $500 fine. The judicial system isn't required to throw the maximum penalty at people for every offence; and the specifics in any situation matter.
As all you aircraft owners know the insurance company’s that insure aircraft
are all very keen on “subrogation“ meaning they will pay for the damages to the aircraft then will go after the party that caused the damage. If a drone damages any kind of aircraft it wouldn’t take much to cause $10k or more of damage. Especially if we are talking about multi million dollar helicopters. So a drone operator may only get a $500 fine but the insurance company is going to get their pound of flesh.
 

Vigilant1

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So a drone operator may only get a $500 fine but the insurance company is going to get their pound of flesh.
Yes, if the drone operator has significant assets that are worth the legal expenses AND which will actually lead to a recovery of money. If our droner lives in a rented apartment, the insurance company won't be interested in seizing his 92 Kia to help offset the cost of a helicopter fuselage panel.
Even criminal court has limited recourse. If there was a requirement for a drone license, it could be revoked or suspended as a way to help stop a reckless operator from doing more damage. Fly again, get caught, go to jail. (I'm not pushing for licenses, but others may very soon). In the LAPD chopper case, or any case with damages, it is appropriate that the court order restitution be paid to those injured by the reckless drone operator. The criminal court's order has some teeth that a civil ruling lacks. There's a person who needs a new rear window for their Toyota, and the LAPDs chopper needs some bodywork. A $500 fine and probation is ridiculous. I'm hoping that at least one condition of the probation is that the guy not engage in drone operations for an extended period of time.
 

Appowner

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Also what happens if the battery "Self destructs" in a fire in side the airframe somewhere
Battery Tech is improving. The LiPo batteries are the bad ones. But the newer LiFe batteries don't burst into flames when abused. The LiFe are making their way into the sUAS world.

I also use the latter in my Motorcycle and for RC Boats.
 

Pilot-34

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Lew
A $500 fine and probation is ridiculous.
Why do you say that ? Do you know the guy are you familiar with his situation?
How big a fine would you say is appropriate and so we can relate what is your yearly income?
 

Vigilant1

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How big a fine would you say is appropriate and so we can relate what is your yearly income?
See post 76. Full restitution to all parties harmed by his recklessness, probation terms to prohibit further drone ops for an extended period (likely would be statutorily limited to the max jail term he faced: 1 year).
 
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BJC

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Lew

Why do you say that ?
Because the potential consequences of the drone operator’s behavior stupidly interfered with law enforcement, put peoples’ lives at risk and did damage to two vehicles.
Do you know the guy are you familiar with his situation?
How big a fine would you say is appropriate and so we can relate what is your yearly income?
Fines are not issued relative to an offender’s income or wealth, but to the offense. Do you support fining DUI drivers based on their income?


BJC
 
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