Feds Investigating What Happened With This Drone Nearly Colliding With a Helicopter

Jeez
Screenshot: YouTube (CBS Miami)

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into a near-collision involving a drone and a helicopter near Hollywood, Florida, according to multiple reports. And it came damn near close to contact.

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After the FAA was informed of the video on Friday, the agency confirmed it was investigating what’d happened.

A local ABC affiliate described why the feds are interested:

FAA rules prohibit drones from flying near other aircraft and to be aware of FAA Airspace Restrictions.

One restriction states drones are not to fly over 400 feet. In the video comments, Masih Persian claims he was flying below that level.

Before it was removed by the user, most comments condemned Masih Persian for flying the drone irresponsibly.

The ABC station said the caption for the video showed the drone pilot’s aware he’s fortunate:

Enjoying an afternoon flight with my drone around Hollywood Beach, FL. A private helicopter flew right into my drone. I guess I got lucky that day nothing has happened. Phewww.

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By the look of the video, the drone flies within the helicopter’s course and just missed striking it by a few feet, the ABC affiliate says.

Be smart out there.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

DISCUSSION

1) I take issue with the title. Clearly the drone is barely moving and the helicopter travelling at a high speed. A pedestrian does not collide with a car going 40 mph, the car collides with the pedestrian. The helicopter nearly collided with the drone, not the other way around.  

2) I don’t think the drone operator did anything wrong here if indeed he was under 400ft. The helicopter travels at a speed which makes it nearly impossible for the drone operator to avoid it.

Unlike the drone operator, I know there is a helicopter coming so I’m looking specifically for it. I can first pick it out at video time 0:17. The helicopter nearly collides with the drone at 0:29. That’s a grand total of 12 seconds that the drone operator would have to recognized an issue and to avoid the collision. The helicopter is first recognizable as a helicopter to me at 0:26. Before that, not knowing a helicopter was coming, I can easily see someone thinking “WTF is that???” Using 0:26 as the time the drone operator would’ve realized the issue, he would’ve had 3 whole seconds to avoid the collision. How the fuck can you blame the drone operator for this near collision?

3) The real story here is that if indeed he was under 400 ft the 400 ft limit is way too high to allow legal use. Clearly this illustrates that collisions are not avoidable and it is only by sheer luck that they don’t happen regularly.