Two guys were arrested on Monday for flying a drone at an NYPD helicopter. It now sounds like it was the cops who flew their chopper at the drone.
Drone operators Mendoza and Remy Castro were arrested on felony reckless endangerment charges for flying "very close" to an NYPD chopper near the George Washington Bridge, as Motherboard reports. The chopper had reportedly needed to take evasive maneuvers to avoid the drone.
New air traffic control recordings (here it all right here, starting about 12 minutes in), however, give a different account.
The NYPD helicopter followed the $500 DJI Phantom drone, possibly because it "has to be military. He's moving. He's right over top of us now, LaGuardia. He did a 180 really quick." The police continued, "going down the East River at this time. I just want to make sure it's not a drone." There is nothing that sounds like the the cops were afraid of crashing, or that there was a near collision at all. It just sounds like some old guys who don't know much anything about consumer drones.
The New York Daily News interviewed Mendoza and Remy Castro, who claimed their drone was pursued by the NYPD chopper. The Castros said they tried to fly away from the helicopter, which continued to chase after their drone. That's when they decided to land their drone, but the chopper stayed hovering over them, and they ended up arrested.
The Castros and a neighborhood witness claimed they never flew up from "0 to about 2,o00 feet in less than two seconds," as the police alleged. It should be noted here that a climb like that is impossible in a consumer drone like the Phantom.
The local witness claimed the Castros never flew out of their neighborhood, and the Castros claim they have video proof for their statements. That video hasn't been released.
No matter who is in the wrong, it's clear to see here that most people have no clue what the hell drones are, or how to police them.
Photo Credits: Getty Images, DJI