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  • 38

Drone hits military chopper over Staten Island

Soumis
 
An army black hawk helicopter was struck by a drone at approximately 500 feet over a residential neighborhood on Staten Island. The helicopter, based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., was in New York City for the United Nation patrol. A piece of the drone bounced off the rotor and became lodged in the aircraft. (abc7ny.com) Plus d'info...

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RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 16
I operate a registered drone in a small town. I still have to keep it below 400 AGL, 5 NM from the Airport, and be mindful of helicopters from the Hospital which are usually not that low. Incidents like this give proper operators a bad name.
bbabis
Bill Babis 4
You are so right! There are improper operators of damn near everything that give people a bad name.
krispykreme
krispykreme 2
So, I'm curious about something. The rules don't differentiate between controlled and uncontrolled airports, much less airports that are rarely used. There's a grass strip less than 5 miles from some property we will be building on soon, so I can't fly a drone there unless they change the rules? As a matter of fact, there are dozens of grass strips in a very rural area, with very little airspace more than 5 miles from one of them. Is that your understanding, as well?
krispykreme
krispykreme 2
I forgot to mention that I believe one may fly a drone within 5nm of an airport if you file a NOTAM and provide a written notice to the airport manager.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 3
NOTAM not required, but notice is!
am60s
Tim Baker 1
From my perspective it only includes an Aerodrome, meaning a registered airport.
am60s
Tim Baker 0
Can a land owner 6 miles away from a grass strip complain about a small aircraft over flying at 1500 feet agl? How about at 500 ft agl? If I seen a rv6 at 300ft over my land to bad so sad.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 2
Anyone can complain about anything, but to answer what you wanted to know, you have no recourse when the land owner flies over at 1500 feet AGL. If you live in a "congested area" (e.g. in the city), then 500 feet AGL is too low and you can file a complaint with the FAA. If you are in the country, the FAA won't consider your complaint for the plane flying too low. At 300ft above your land, the pilot must maintain 500 feet clearance from all people and structures.
am60s
Tim Baker 2
A pilot at 300 ft over my land hits a rc model at 300 ft, the pilot will make it a thing. Just because you fly doesn't mean you are king.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 3
Drone operators are required to yield to manned aircraft. That is the law. If you don't like it, don't fly a drone. If you cannot comply, don't fly a drone. It is that simple.
am60s
Tim Baker 0
I have a 2kg foam fixed wing high wing trainer is it a "drone" probably. Any air craft less than 400 ft above my land is either doing a precautionary landing or breaking my fly-over minimum height restrictions and subject to being swatted by whatever institution I deem applicable.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
YOUR "fly-over minimum height restrictions" are not binding on anyone. Depending on where you live (e.g. "congested" or not, structures on your land, etc.) there may be REAL restrictions that may apply to the flight. I suspect you are just blowing smoke, but regardless of any illegal pilot actions, any action on your part that would cause harm to persons in any aircraft would be immoral, unethical, and illegal.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
A perusal of the FAA definition of an airport seems to leave it vague. Private-use airports seem to fit the primary definition, but don't seem to be included in the details of types of airports. I would assume (not validated) that for the purpose of the drone regulations, airport means "charted non-restricted airport". I'd accept clarification to these comments.
ianmcdonell
ian mcdonell 16
What really annoys me is that "boys with toys" drone operators really think they have a right to fly them wherever and whenever - despite what the laws in various countries say
As an owner pilot of a light aircraft it scares the hell out of me
fedexman2
Eric Schmaltz -2
I'm with ya! The "girls with toys" drone operators are FAR less scary!
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
I have not heard of any...
welcha
Austin Welch 5
Kills me when people call them Choppers.... yuck!

Anyway.... here are my thoughts....

I am dual-rated Commercial Pilot both in fixed wing and rotary wing and have a decent bit of experience. I recently acquired a DJI Phantom (which I love by the way) and really enjoy flying it. Now, having flown that and knowing how easy it is to get ahold of those things, it terrifies me as a pilot. Were I to encounter my DJI Drone while in low-level cruise flight in a helicopter, it would create a huge hazard.

I think that UAS operators of anything that can fly above 100 Feet AGL should be required to attend (at a minimum) some sort of ground school. Right now you can pick one up off the shelf and go fly it... if it doens't have protective/restrictive software, some of these things can really go quite high. If operators are serious about becoming "licensed drone operators" that will create a lower demand of folks and perhaps weed out the less competent ones that think its okay to flight in active flight areas, near airports, in TFRs.... etc

A final thought.... I have never seen a Drone in flight until after I have passed or nearly hit one. They are nearly impossible to see unless flying at night and well lit up. These are a serious danger and the FAA has done next to nothing to help keep folks safe.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Agreed.

Pilots care about this because they don't want to die. Drone operators don't have that kind of skin in the game and many (most?) find it too easy to essentially say "If you don't want to take the risk flying near my drone, then don't fly."

Trying to integrate drones into the airspace system is like allowing little 12-inch-long remote control cars on the interstate. If we did that, we'd get an uproar from the general public saying "What the hell are you thinking?" Most non-pilots don't get that we are dealing with the same thing.

If a manufacturer sells a drone that will go above tree-top height, it needs to be identifable in case of an accident. Those that don't agree are just afraid of getting caught doing something wrong.
bbabis
Bill Babis 3
Keep comparisons in check. RC cars on the interstate would be like drones in the flight levels and using airports. RC cars are limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, etc... the same as small RC drones have altitude and airspace limitations in our above ground level structure.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 3
Yes, we work to keep the RC cars as far away as real cars travelling at normal speeds as possible. Cars travelling at 50+ mph will not be on sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, etc. And, as drone operators are required, it is expected that RC vehicles yield the right of way to real cars in parking lots and side streets. In this case, the best data indicates that the drone operator was illegally operating his craft without regard to altitude limitations and see and yield requirements that you refer to. The comparison with RC cars is very pertinent. If an RC car operator put his vehicle on a highway and hit a car, we would not be suggesting that the driver of the car was at fault. Let us be consistent and stop suggesting that the helicopter pilot has any responsibility here. The drone operator is the only one who holds the responsibility for the accident.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 3
I would like to know why the drone was flying at night? Also, if this was an approved helicopter route, it must have been used frequently. I can't imagine a helicopter flying over my house at 500' on a routine basis. I live near a hospital with a helipad. They come in high and hover down over the pad. They don't come in at 500' until over the hospital property.
welcha
Austin Welch 3
Peter, it's a great question. The drone I saw was not at night. The point that I was illustrating is that they'd be MUCH easier to see at night.. My DJI looks like a Christmas tree when it's turned on and I know that were that in the air, I could see it a lot better. Perhaps they ought to be equipped with high intensity strobes.

As for the flying low stuff... that's what we do. Low, close to the trees, and fast. It's a preferred flight profile. That said, we never fly that like that over people's homes. Just in more forrested areas. They are "flight corridors" but someone without a pilot's lic would have no idea how to look or identify those types of things
tongo
Dan Grelinger 2
Helicopters (civilian) are required to fly an approved route through an area if there is one. If there is no route, they can fly where they want, given they adhere to airspace limitations. Military operations typically have their own rules, of which I am not familiar. In this case, there is no indication that this was a commonly travelled route. Regardless of whether helicopter flights were common in this area or not, drone operators are required to fly in such a way that they can see and yield to all manned aircraft operations.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 2
Given the NOTAM in place when the Staten Island collision took place, it appears that the drone operation was illegal at any drone-practical altitude and any time of day. The notam states in pertinent part ( note the last 3 activities):
"The following aeronautical operations are not authorized within the New York Class B airspace LGA 20 nautical mile, JFK 20 nautical mile, and EWR 20 nautical mile boundaries, from the surface, up to but not including FL180: Flight training, practice instrument approaches, aerobatic flight, glider operations, parachute operations, ultralight, hang gliding, balloon operations, agriculture/crop dusting, animal population control flight operations, banner towing operations, model aircraft operations, model rocketry, unmanned aerial systems (UAS)."
Looking at the NY VFR TAC chart, the specified area includes ALL of Staten Island, including Midland Beach where drones are wont to fly. So no UAS or model aircraft should have been airborne in Manhattan or Staten Island during the validity of this notam. I retract any statement I made indicating the contrary.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 2
Do drone owners actually look up NOTAMS?
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 1
Probably not, usually; indeed, few who are not manned aircraft pilots would know how to do so. They had better find out, as such an excuse will not be accepted after barging through TFR airspace in ANY aircraft, including a drone.
welcha
Austin Welch 2
Bill, agreed. That said, it's the UAS' in the vicinity of the airport that is particularly scary... and we get reports of that ALL the time. There's nothing like sharing an ILS with a quadcopter.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 1
Interestingly, at first, all drones used outdoors and weighing more than a certain small amount had to be registered. Now, only those flown under part 107 need such registration. I confess, I was surprised by the partial retraction.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
I believe the partial retraction was the result of a court order that determined Congress had not given the FAA authorization to require the registration of all remote control flying vehicles.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 2
That's right.
topgunnh
Peter McGrath 0
Not having a drone or really seen one being operated up close. can anyone tell me if there is an altitude readout on the software to let the operator know how high the drone is?
welcha
Austin Welch 2
The DJI that I fly has an AGL altitude readout. Also, it physically inhibits the drone from going over 400 feet AGL
tomtreutlein
tom treutlein 1
That's very interesting. Do you know how it determines AGL altitude?
tongo
Dan Grelinger 3
https://forum.dji.com/thread-78643-1-1.html

Apparently at take-off the pressure altitude is zeroed out and altitude is calculated based upon change in pressure after takeoff. That works pretty good when terrain is flat.
tomtreutlein
tom treutlein 1
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 1
I have seen a few and not one of them had an altitude readout.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 1
The DJI Phantom 4 pro certainly does!
patpylot
patrick baker 4
you may dislike federal intrusion through regulations, but can anyone make a better case for the feds to commit rulemaking and enforcement here? Worst case, some moron will run a drone into the intake of an airliner on short final, to possible horrific effect.
davelloyd4881
Dave Lloyd 3
Running a drone into the intake on short final would surely cause some engine damage, but shoudn’t have much impact on the pilot’s ability to land the plane. Now, if it happened on takeoff, that’s a whole different story and could have put lives in danger.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
I will direct you to Capt. Sullenberger landing in the Hudson River. If that Blackhawk ran into an emergency where in Hell would he autorotate? Right into those homes. Stupid. Military or not. I am former Air Force fixed wing and I would NEVER fly over hundreds of homes at 500'. Airplanes glide pretty well. Helicopters do not.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
I thought helicopters could autorotate and land at a specific point. Aren't there roads in that neighborhood?
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 2
Looking at satellite imagery of the Staten Island area, there are plenty of parks and creek/river areas where they could have set down if needed, but 500' for an autorotation is pushing it though there is no reason why it cannot be done as long as the pilot was really on the ball. We often practiced them from 1700' and differing speeds, one for glide time/distance and another for getting on the ground fast.

A Blackhawk would need an area of at least 55' by 70' to land in without hitting anything else with the blades. CALs (confined area landings) are tricky in daylight, much more so at night if not using NVGs.
am60s
Tim Baker 0
Plenty of morons run out of gas and crash into houses or farmers fields. Their estates get sued by innocent victims families. If a "pilot" is flying low for kicks there may be consequences such as death because they are buzzing a buddies house. Some times the morons have that neighbor inside that plane.

Pilots do not come across as extraordinary people many in fact are fairy knobs that feel freeee and alive when flying.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
And some try to achieve a Darwin award. Licensure in any field is no sure protection against stupidity.
jimpa18
jim knopke 11
We knew it would happen, it was just when that was unknown. Need to after the owner/ operator to the fullest extent of the law, presidence needs to be set.
I'm sure the FBI, TSA, AND ALL OTHERS are aware of the possibility of a radical usage of drones to further their causes.
bbabis
Bill Babis -3
Yes, I say draw and quarter them and put their head on a post in Central Park! Good Lord, tens of thousands are killed and maimed every year by the use of phones with vehicles and a military chopper flying too low over a residential neighborhood ruining someone's birthday present is intolerable.
MikeMohle
Mike Mohle -2
What if the (or any) drone had explosives and detonated? What about 10,000 of them at the same time?
bbabis
Bill Babis 4
You've been reading too much Tom Clancy. Let's stay in the real world.
MikeMohle
Mike Mohle -1
I was thinking more like ISIS.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 -1
No, you were thinking like a hack writer trying to come up with a spectacular idea for a movie, regardless of the fact it simply cannot work in the real world. (not enough radio spectrum for that many in a small area)
Kairho
Kairho Carroll 2
Only commenting on your last thought ... actually there is more than enough bandwidth to control such a huge number of devices. Way more. (read up on multiplexing) As Mike notes, the physical airspace is a much bigger issue.
ptrimby
ptrimby 2
Completely correct - just a matter of cost. Intel put 500 up in quite a coordinated effort: https://www. youtube .com/watch?v=aOd4-T_p5fA
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 2
Actually, Bernie, if you saw last year's superbowl, you saw a perfect demonstation (done under waiver) of a coordinated drone swarm. So that swarm being armed with explosives is certainly not beyond the pale.

P.S.: how about using your real name, as the rest of us do, taking full responsibility for what we post? It's easy to write flames under a nym. You don't seem to be in the public-record pilot registry under that nym.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Just my guess, but I think Bernie may be using his real name. Given his confusion on just about everything aviation related, he almost certainly is not a pilot. He MAY be a drone pilot, and I find that scary.
MikeMohle
Mike Mohle 2
OK thanks Bernie. I did not mean 10,000 in the same geographical area, just at the same time. Also, we were caught with our collective pants down on 9-11 too if you recall.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 4
Yes, we were, but that's no reason to engage in fearmongering with wild and exaggerated suppositions. Let's worry about reasonable threats, not imaginary ones.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
With all the references and citations to the regulations covering drones, I can't help but think that those regs are about as effective as Court issued restraining orders in domestic violence cases.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
That is a good statement of the problem we face. There may be many ways to solve the problem, but requiring all drones to be identifiable and traceable has to be one of the ways.
dennislhopkins
Dennis Hopkins 3
I darn near got hit by a DEA drone over a remote, known pot growing area of the U.P. of Michigan last year. I was flying at 7000ft MSL! What the heck was a Govt drone doing up there??
spdmrcht
Ron Lorenz 0
Big Brother is always watching!!
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 3
A NOTAMs issued for the area would include a good portion of Staten Island. http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_7_3963.html was issued for VIP flights in the area out to 10 NM or about 11 1/2 miles. The drone pilot should not have been flying. Back during the 1984 Olympics in LA, military aircraft (helos from MCAS(H) Tustin) were used to fly VIPs around and were kept to lower altitudes due to the amount of traffic, commercial or otherwise, in said area.

The NYC area has 3 major airports as well as other GA airports so there is plenty of traffic to contend with.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 3
Looking up the NOTAM, in effect at the time of the drone flight, we find in pertinent part:
"...The following aeronautical operations are not authorized within the New York Class B airspace LGA 20 nautical mile, JFK 20 nautical mile, and EWR 20 nautical mile boundaries, from the surface, up to but not including FL180: Flight training, practice instrument approaches, aerobatic flight, glider operations, parachute operations, ultralight, hang gliding, balloon operations, agriculture/crop dusting, animal population control flight operations, banner towing operations, model aircraft operations, model rocketry, unmanned aerial systems (UAS)."
This makes the drone flight appear illegal at any drone-legal altitude while the NOTAM is in effect.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 2
Also, that blade is toast. It is a fiberglass/composite blade and cannot be repaired at the organizational level. It has to be replaced and means one now has to be flown up to the airfield it is at if there is not one there already (I don't think they have a spare one laying around) as well as the equipment needed and the man hours needed to replace it then test fly the bird to get the new blade into track with the rest of them.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 4
Other news reports stated that the blade was replaced and the helo returned to service within a few hours, so evidently, they did have spares laying around. I have no idea if the blade really was toast or not but someone on the scene thought it needed to be replaced so you're likely right on that.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 3
Miller Field is within the 10 nautical miles of Jersey City where the NOTAMs is in effect, albeit just a couple of 10ths shy of the limit, and at about 8' MSL, that puts the drone above the 400' AGL allowable limits at 500'.

As a former rotorhead, who has changed out rotorblades and has had to retrack them afterwards, I can tell you that yes, that blade was toast. Looking at this picture, http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/wabc/images/cms/20170922130144.jpg , the damage appears to be about 1/2" deep and that does not account any possible cracks at the other 2 impact locations. That blade will have to be sent to depot level maintainence shop so it can possibly be fixed. If the main spar is cracked or damaged, it cannot be fixed that I know of.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 2
This is assuming the collision actually happened at or above 500'. Every report I've seen says "approximately 500 feet". What does approximately mean in this context? Does it mean within 100' for 500'? What are the boundaries? I believe that it's entirely possible here that the drone was being operated legally (those tenths of a mile could be passed depending on the measuring points and the actual location of the operator - yes, a technicality, but just as a technicality can be cause for a criminal conviction, so too can it be a cause for an exoneration) up until the impact. Yes, I acknowledge that the drone operator has a legal obligation to yield the airspace to the helo, regardless of the altitude, but they could have been, and likely were, operating entirely legal up until then. I also believe that the helo pilot bears some responsibility in this case. Let's be honest here, current non-military GPS technology simply isn't capable of providing pinpoint AGL readings, and such readings can be off by 50' or more. In addition, AGL altitudes are going to, by definition, mirror the terrain, and two aircraft that are both at 100' AGL with 100' lateral separation may well have one quite a bit above the other because the terrain rose or fell. In short, at least for me, it comes down to that "approximate" 100 feet of AGL separation being far too little to ensure safety and greater separation should have been used.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
The NTSB has proven your possibility incorrect. The drone was being operated extremely illegally, as was the only reasonable conclusion.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Could you share the link to the NTSB report you read, so others can read it as well?
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20170922X54600&AKey=1&RType=HTML&IType=IA
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Thank you again, sir
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Link to NTSB docket
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/hitlist.cfm?docketID=60650&CFID=1397804&CFTOKEN=43d4add4d34aa38e-A186F2DD-A31C-F5B9-BF95AC51E9A925C1

(hit send too quickly)
tongo
Dan Grelinger -3
You contradict yourself. You say the drone operator was operating legally until he illegally did not avoid the aircraft that had the right of way? Let us focus on what is pertinent, the drone operator illegally operated his aircraft. The rest of your post is pure nonsense as the helicopter pilot had not requirement to determine where 500 feet MSL was. FAA defines minimum safe airspace down to the surface for helicopters. You may disagree with the FAA, but considering that they have jurisdiction, and you don't, I'm going with them.

Bottom line: Helo pilot was totally legal. Drone pilot was illegal. Please, no more nonsensical "Blah, blah blah."
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 2
There's legal, and then there's right. Legally a police vehicle may exceed speed limits and ignore traffic control devices. While that may give the driver a legal right to drive through a crowded farmer's market on a closed side street at high speed, it does not make it prudent or safe. Likewise, a pilot may have a legal right to fly a helo through an airspace where drones are being flown but that also does not make it prudent or safe.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
It is only unsafe because of outlaw drone operators. Is it unsafe to drive at night because of drunk drivers on the road? Using your logic, I would suggest that you not drive at night because of the drunk drivers.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 1
According to Google maps distance measuring tool, the airfield where drones are commonly flown from (Miller Field) is 14.29 miles from the UN. That should have put it well outside the area affected by that NOTAM.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
Wrong, yet again. Read the NTSB report, and perhaps use more caution with your wild speculations.
redcataviation
Sidney Smith 2
I hit a seagull just after takeoff in a Seneca. I thought the wing had come off it was such a hard hit. Seagull left a 1 1/2 dent in the leading edge. On an old Piper, easy fix. Can't wait to see the cost of the Blackhawk rotor blade will be.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 2
I thought maybe a quote from CFR14 Part 119.110 might be helpful.

§91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

(d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface—

(1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA.

Please read (d) and (1). Do you really think flying over a neighborhood at 500' at night complies? Was this a route specifically prescribed by the FAA? If so, why? Don't tell me it's because of traffic at the three airports. There are plenty of other routes at 500' feet.

Does anybody know if there is a heli pad on Staten Island. Maybe he was going to land?
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
Flying over a neighborhood at night complies with the FAA's definition of minimum safe altitude. The provision about routes or altitudes applies only IF they exist. Assuming that they don't exist for the pilot's route of flight, there is no requirement to comply with something that does not exist.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
Yeah, that's like taking off in a seaplane on a lake with no seaplane base or indication on the charts with a lake full of boaters pulling skiers and kids on inflatables just because there is no rule preventing this.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
If your applying fixed wing expectations to helicopters as if they were the same thing, then yes, you may come to that conclusion.
sullyman
Brian Sullivan 2
Not the first time nor the last time unfortunately.
1rhuff
Robert Huff 2
It is all too clear symptom of the "times". No one has to take any personal responsibility for anything they do anymore it would seem. Part of the "Everyone is a Winner/Nobody Loses" mentality. The lack of responsibility and taking accountability of one's actions has been deferred for too long. Time to "man up" and be responsible and care....
ah6oy
Jim DeTour 2
Having been army let's look at portrayed events. "The drone hit the helicopter" "at approximately 500 feet".....
The above is after a chain of words of mouth and army public relations. Firstly saying "the drone hit" is comical to me. Is the drone a missile, killer bee, enemy fire or cousin of a RPG? No it's a kids toy teched out. Well here we are at "at approximately 500 feet". Been there done that hoping my body can be identified because the dog tags won't have anything to hang around. Just ask some army guys if they make darn sure about there dog tags preparing to get on a helicopter. Approx. 500 feet is another way of saying 500 feet is an altitude out there some place and read about that altitude some place but we were just cruising and 500' sounds good.

But being more realistic let's stick to the U.S. Army short and sweet report. U.S. Army 1 Drones 0.
AvPac
Andrew Smith 3
FAR Part 107 says drones may operate at a "Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure.

http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf
bovineone
Jeff Lawson 9
Part 107 actually only applies to "non-hobbyist" (ie: commercial) uses. People can still operate them under the older hobbyist rules, which still basically allow flight over 400 ft AGL when away from airports if you are careful. It's a contentious subject though.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 5
The question that keeps popping up in my mind is why was a military helicopter at (approx) 500' AGL over a residential neighborhood? Minimum altitude over NYC for helos used to be 1,000' AGL, no idea what it is now, or if that would apply to a military flight but still, why was it there? "UN patrol" doesn't tell me much, in fact, it just raises more questions. The UN is more than 10 miles from there, so what was it doing at that height over a residential neighborhood at night? I also note that it was only "approximately" at 500' AGL. What's the margin for error here? 100'? So, it could have been that much lower? And the margin for error of the drone equipment? Maybe also 100'? I know you folks will downvote me for this but I'm leaning towards the drone being operated legally and the helo being below minimums in an area it had no business being in.
bovineone
Jeff Lawson 5
Regardless of altitudes, unmanned aircraft must always yield to manned aircraft. Any collision between the two will always be considered the fault of the unmanned aircraft.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 -1
Can you accurately estimate the altitude of a military helo, at night? If you can, bravo for you. I can't, and I'll wager your average drone hobbyist flyer can't either. In such a scenario I know for a fact my thought process would be, "Well, helos aren't supposed to be below 1,000' here, and the GPS module in my drone should limit it to approximately 400' (plus or minus about 50' with most hobby level GPS units) so I should be fine."
bovineone
Jeff Lawson 2
If you cannot accurately estimate distances, then you should maybe not be flying at night. Pilots of manned aircraft are held to the separation standard of simply: "No person may operate an aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard". Generally ATC tries to separate manned aircraft at least 3 miles laterally or 1,000 feet vertically. If an unmanned aircraft operator sees a manned aircraft anywhere in the vicinity, then they should probably attempt to immediately land, particularly with the unknowns of propwash and other turbulent air that will be present near manned aircraft.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 3
If a helo is moving at speed over terrain with obstacles (buildings) and the drone was 400 feet over a nearby building, the drone operator could have been in perfect compliance with the altitude restriction and had but a few seconds to perceive the other aircraft, assess the threat of collision, and properly react to give way. Quite difficult, perhaps. I speak as both a manned aircraft- and UAS-rated pilot. Perhaps we should all wait until the actual, factual, report is available before drawing conclusions.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
Bruce, I think you are confused. The 400 foot over a building allowance is for part 107 rules. Part 107 rules limit operations during daylight hours and within 30 minutes of sunrise to sunset, with required anticollision lighting. If this was operated under part 107, then it was illegal (assuming no waiver) because the collision occurred 75 minutes after sunset. The flight most likely was operated under part 101. The primary requirement for part 101 is "The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft". The real issue is the pilot did not adhere to this regulation. Let me know if I am wrong.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 2
Your quoting of the regs appears correct. Your identification of the regulatory part under which the drone pilot was operating, while not identified (yet) from a report I've seen, is probably correct too. If not, the drone pilot (absent a night waiver) is in serious trouble.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
He is serious trouble regardless. Whether Part 101 or Part 107, he was exercising the privilege to fly his aircraft under rules that he broke. if they catch him, he is toast.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 3
Given the NOTAM in place at the time of the collision, yes, he is definitely toast.
gearup328
Peter Steitz 0
One more time. Do drone pilots actually read NOTAMS?
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 2
The FAA app B4UFLY gives access to info re: TFR and other controlled/restricted airspace. Not the greatest interface, but it does work.
It is available for iOS and Android.
Ignorance of airspace rules and restrictions is not accepted as a valid excuse for airspace incursions, let alone a resulting collision. This applies to ALL pilots, including drone pilots. Drone and model aircraft pilots, under 14CFR Parts 101 and 107, are required to remain clear of, and give way to, all manned aircraft. Failure to do so means that, if caught, you are going to have a bad day and some difficult conversations.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
your point has been made a number of times. The crux is 'if caught'. There is a difference between Mr. Ford's KSNA taxiway afternoon landing and an unmarked, probably untraceable drone bashed in the dark.
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
Your first time referred to then as 'drone owners'. Given the number of VFR pilots who have found themselves flying with an F-16 after overlooking a NOTAM regarding AF1, I would assume there will be drone operator/pilots who do not.

With the apparent reading comprehension skills of some people I have observed flying drones, it may not matter if they did read them.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Responsible ones do. It is only the irresponsible ones that don't.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 1
Accurately estimate distances to what degree of precision though? We're talking about a situation here where, if the drone were being operated to its legal maximum height the separation would have been "approximately" 100 feet. We don't know a precise figure because the helo's reported altitude was only approximate. What we also don't know is the lateral distance from the drone operator to the drone at the time of the impact, nor do we even know if they were facing towards or away from the helicopter as it approached. If the drone were directly overhead of the operator I don't know of anyone that could estimate that height with any reasonable degree of precision, day or night, and I don't know anyone who can accurately (within say a 5% margin) estimate the height AGL of a fast approaching military helicopter at night. This is also in an area where such overflights are exceedingly rare. NYPD Aviation units can and do patrol that area, but from a much greater height, and even they are relatively uncommon. (I know this because my father lived a few blocks from there before he died and two of my brothers, one NYPD and one NYFD also live in the area and use Miller Field.)
ExCalbr
Victor Engel 2
If you are flying a drone, it probably has GPS, from which you can get height (within tolerances). If there was a collision, then the helicopter and drone were likely at the same level, ergo, you have an idea of the height of the helicopter.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 0
Especially since drones with GPS are usually limited to 400' by the GPS system, within tolerances. The dicey part is in those tolerances. I have a friend, a mathematician, who is a specialist in GPS systems. According to him, and you can test this for yourselves with your own GPS nav systems, consumer grade GPS systems can be off 100' or more when it comes to height. Then too, terrain is variable. There's hills and valleys to account for. My house sits on a small hill, next to a ravine with a stream running through it. It's about 150' difference in height from the stream to the hilltop. If a helo is at 500' AGL above the stream, and I fly a drone to 400' AGL above my yard, that drone is going to be 50' above the helo.

The area where this incident happened has a place (Miller Field) where drone owners go to fly. The area also has several parks and a public beach, all spots where drones are frequently flown. No helo should have been at 500' AGL anywhere near this area for exactly this reason.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
The drone operator is required by law to see and avoid all aircraft. Drone operators do not have the right to operate their toys in such a way as to cause a risk of harm to LEGALLY operated aircraft. The helicopter was being legally operated.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
"The area where this incident happened has a place (Miller Field) where drone owners go to fly. The area also has several parks and a public beach, all spots where drones are frequently flown. No helo should have been at 500' AGL anywhere near this area for exactly this reason." I've looked for documentation of this and cannot find any. I looked for established RC aircraft clubs the fly out of Midland Field and did not find any. If it is not documented anywhere, then can the information really be expected to be known?
gearup328
Peter Steitz 1
I did a Google Earth search of this area. There are hundreds of homes all over. They look to be older, maybe 1960 type homes and are packed in like sardines in a can. Miller Field is easy to see with baseball fields and open grass. For the life of me, I cannot fathom a 500' approved military route going over this area. Linden Airport is 8 miles from Miller Field so the helicopter was on the ground in a matter of minutes. I'd like to know exactly what was the mission that the Army was doing. 14CFR, Part 91 talks about not flying lower than 1000' feet above the highest obstacle and always having a plan to not crash into a populated area. What if the Blackhawk had to go down over this neighborhood? What if the drone had done enough damage to cause the chopper to go down.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 2
UN security patrol in an area specified in NOTAMs reserved for UN VIP flights. The NOTAMs prohibits any UAS type flights in said restricted airspace.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Peter, This was a helicopter. The rule you mention is for fixed wing aircraft. That same Part you reference has a section specifically for helicopters, and that is what applies. "91.119   Minimum safe altitudes: General - (d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface—
(1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA" I looked for any specific helicopter routes in this area and found none. Assuming I did not miss anything, there was no route to comply with and the reg stipulates a minimum safe altitude for helicopters only as necessary to avoid hazard to anything on the surface. The helicopter pilots were perfectly in compliance. As you probably noticed, no part of Midland Beach is more than 3500 feet from wide open spaces. I think it is more reasonable to assume this professional military pilot was operating the helicopter in such a way as to be able to hit the beach or shore or open park in case of emergency, even from 500 feet AGL.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
More misinformation. Read FAR 91.119.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -3
Then your thought process is infected with misinformation. Helo's, by FAA regulation may be operated at altitudes below the minimum safe elevation for fixed wing aircraft, as long as precautions are taken to prevent harm to persons and property "on the surface". Check out FAR 91.119 "Minimum Safe Altitudes" before spreading more misinformation. Also, the 400 feet is a hard limit. The operator must compensate for any altitude error. For REAL pilots, that means a safety factor of about 200 feet. The rule of 400 feet is hard and fast, not, "well I can break that law if my equipment can't figure out where the limit is.
joelwiley
joel wiley 4
Given the relative velocities, I'd say it was more likely the helo hit the drone rather than the way it was reported.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Now that the NTSB report is out, we can clearly see that you were "leaning towards" being seriously wrong.
outward
Jimmy Robinson 1
I was thinking the same thing. The minimum altitude should have been 1000' so my feelings are that someone, maybe the CO, should be talking to the Blackhawk pilot and asking why he was flying so low. 500' for a drone is really not that high, if you are looking at it, but it is very low for a helicopter to be flying if it is not on an approach to an airfield.
Hlanfear
Harold Lanfear 2
Helicopters are exempt from the minimum altitudes; See FAR 91.119(d)1
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 3
Correct. But because something is legal does not mean that, under the circumstances, it is a good idea. Under 14 CFR 91, it is perfectly legal to take off on an instrument flight plan in zero-zero conditions. Of course, if a problem occurs, you can't come back and land! So, is that legal act a good idea?
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
I don't understand your point. Do you mean to say that because drone operators irresponsibly (and illegally) interfere with manned aircraft operations, that manned aircraft operations must now account for that and NOT fly as they are legally allowed?
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 2
Not exactly. I mean that all pilots must exercise aeronautical judgment and decisionmaking when operating, and refrain from doing things which, while technically legal, might be operationally a bad idea, given the circumstances. Low-altitude high-speed flights in the vicinity of a model aircraft field is probably not a good idea, even if legal, because the model aircraft operators, even with the best will in the world, might not have time to perceive, react and keep clear. We're not talking about class D or E airspace (which go down to the ground), or a published heliport in proximity, here, but a rare, random, and unexpected flight in uncontrolled airspace. This collision could have happened (and probably did) with all aircraft in legal compliance.
Looking at the Terminal VFR aero chart for the area, we see that the floor of the Class B airspace in the pertinent area starts at ABOVE 500 feet. This means that both the helo pilot and the drone pilot were in uncontrolled (class G) airspace, and probably explains why the helo pilot selected that altitude (or at least claimed that he was operating there) and not a higher one: maximum terrain clearance without having to talk to, and obtain a clearance from, ATC to operate in the Class B airspace above. All perfectly legal -- but maybe not a good idea. Call ATC, and when you get your clearance, get up to 1000 feet where it's safer!
BP
CFI-A, Comm, ASMEL IA, REMOTE PILOT, SUAS
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 2
Current NOTAMs for Jersey City are out to 10 nautical miles (and not statute miles) which includes Miller Field where it does look like people do fly drones there and said park is open to 10PM. The restricted airspace is for UN VIP flights and would include patrols of that airspace by helicopters to fly for security, which the linked article about this said that the Blackhawk was doing.

The NOTAMs specifically prohibit any flight within said area by UAS as well as other type such as ultralights and even paragliders and such.

The drone pilot was completely in the wrong from the looks of things.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
Bruce, I'm looking for information on any model aircraft fields anywhere within 5 miles of the location of the accident and can't find any. Where did you get your information?
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 1
I don't see any such charted field, either. It certainly isn't on the NY TAC chart. I got the information from other posts identifying this putative field, but I can't confirm it from official sources, so the info may be wrong.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
How would the pilot know of any model aircraft fields, I've never seen one on a chart. It was over an hour after sunset and during nautical nighttime. I don't agree that it is reasonable to expect the pilot to expect model aircraft to be flying at 500 feet AGL over 75 minutes after sunset and have to make changes to his flight procedures as a result. And the burden of determining if a model aircraft operator is flying in such a manner as to ensure compliance with the see-and-avoid rule rests solely with the model aircraft operator. It is the law. If they are not sure they can comply with the law, they should modify their flight procedures (e.g. altitudes, distances from operator) until they can assure compliance. Are you suggesting by "all aircraft", that the model aircraft operator was in legal compliance. It is clear (and has been reported) that the model aircraft flight was not legal. Even in uncontrolled airspace, the requirement see-and-avoid ALL manned flights is a requirement, unless a waiver was filed. The FAA is certainly acting as if there was no waiver. The reported information clearly indicates that the model aircraft pilot failed to adhere to clear and unambiguous regulations for the flight. And there can be very good reasons for the helicopter pilot not to call ATC. In Class B airspace, a pilot loses quite a bit of control over his flight and surrenders it to controllers. Without knowing the details of the mission of the military helicopter, it can't be assumed that the pilot did not have a good reason to fly below the class Bravo airspace. There seems to be a tendency by some to lean toward excusing a recreational drone pilot of breaking clear and unambiguous laws and at the same time expecting an unreasonable amount of caution from a military pilot on a mission that is complying with all requirements.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 2
Well, well taken points. If an accessible official report comes out, I will read it with great interest, since the relevant facts will then be determined and disclosed. It is pretty clear the Helo pilot broke no regs, much less clear that the drone pilot didn't. We'll see.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
Jimmy, care to issue a correction to your post?
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
We downvote you because you have no idea what you are talking about, but you keep posting.....
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 3
Totally off-topic: I love love love the blurb at the end of the article "Report a typo". At last someone somewhere has tumbled to the fact of the horrendous lack of professionalism in reporting recently.
jmilleratp
John Miller 3
This is only the beginning...
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
Of what...
MichaelVisser
Michael Visser 2
The beginning of...
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 1
The Air France incident with the loss of engine cover makes me wonder what sort of quality control exist and oversees ground crew work. The Daily Mail (headlines magazine) posted an interesting article with many photos and video.
Kairho
Kairho Carroll 1
Is this new? Or are you referring to a few days ago when a KL 777(?) lost a wing root fairing?
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Perhaps you intended to post in a different squawk?
Perhaps this one:
https://flightaware.com/squawks/view/linked/email/alert/62942/
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 1
you are absolutely right.
Jaidee3ster
Jim Dollan 1
How did a "Drone" manage to get through the prop-wash of a Black Hawk helicopter with sufficient memento to actually cause some damage?
Kairho
Kairho Carroll 1
(not trying to be a pain but ...) momentum.
666adt
I think the remains of the drone are the memento...
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
The drone did not have to get through the prop wash of the helicopter to damage the prop. Your question assumes that the helicopter was at low speed and the drone encountered it below the prop. If the helicopter was moving at normal operating speeds, the drone would not encounter any prop wash before striking a blade, and if the drone was above the helicopter's altitude by a small amount, the prop wash would suck the drone into the prop.
avihais
Martin Haisman 1
Fortunately a military chopper and not a little Robbie. Agree with Jim Knopke There are too many close calls and hopefully they can match marks/paint to a particular type and I would assume the military are searching the area for parts and evidence.
Maustintx
Maustintx 1
So a Blackhawk attack helicopter flying 500 feet over a "residential neighborhood on Staten Island" doesn't scare anyone?
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter is a utility/cargo/troop helicopter, not an attack helicopter. You are thinking of the AH-64 Apache which is an attack helicopter. And no, if it was tasked to do the job that the Blackhawk was doing, then no, it wouldn't.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
Uh, no. Why should it?
hloraine
Hugh Loraine 1
This seems to be a silly story. Why do surveillance with a noisy Blackhawk over a quiet residential area. Terrorists woul hear it a mile away and just hide. Resting citizens, like babies would just be Elena and scared. Why not do surveillance with many quiet drones. I think the military has a few of those. I don't think this was surveillance, but rather a show of military strength to impress foreign attendees.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
Manned aircraft is damaged by irresponsible drone operator, could reasonably been much worse, and you think it's a silly story? Your silly.
captleo
captleo 1
Just imagine if one of the rotor get out of balance it will shake so much that there is the possibility of the whole chopper coming apart, i am a commercial pilot flying cargo plane and i have many friends with heli and i refuse every offer to fly with them, i am just plain scare of helicopter.
awsauerman
To those who wonder why the helicopter was at that altitude, the second sentence of the article tells you why, and why it was patrolling. The drone was in the wrong by interfering with a flight and possibly causing a crash. The blade had to be changed because of the possible damage to it.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 2
Possible? It was damaged. I would have downed that bird to if I were the crew chief (former rotorhead).
davelloyd4881
Dave Lloyd 1
Unless the Army helicopter was landing or taking off, I’m sure if would be considered UNSAFE to be flying at 500’AGL over a residential neighborhood. And, drones are (by law) required to be flown at 400’AGL or less. So, BOTH were at fault. FAA’s rules of flight are very explicit in this regard.
welcha
Austin Welch 3
Dave, I didn't see the mission set for this particular flight, but this aircraft was on a sanctioned patrol. When enforcing a no-fly zone or restricted area, it is common (and absolutely permissible) for a military aircraft to be at a low altitude such as was described here. A drone operating at above 400 feet AGL (and required to yield to any actual aircraft) is twice (and solely) at fault in this particular instance.
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 2
Austin is correct. Note that drone operators are on the ground and do not have peripheral vision. It is therefore critical that any flying they do remains under their strict control and responsibility.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
When I was a crew chief on helos some odd years ago, we often flew at or near those altitudes. We often flew below the level of the landing zone to do what is known as a pop-up or buttonhook. Pilots have to learn/practice it as a way to minimize the time exposed to enemy fire. While not necessarily a high density residential area, there are plenty of homes in that area.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 1
NYC is not a high-density residential area? Then pray tell, what area is?
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
The real answer is, for helicopters, it does not matter. Again, check the regs!
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 1
Yes, it DOES matter. You cannot do that with a helicopter in NYC outside of some very narrow FAA prescribed pathways. The 1,000' minimum for all aircraft over NYC was set decades ago. If you're not familiar with it maybe you should actually look it up instead of arguing.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
Still waiting...... Either produce the reg or admit an error.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
Well, its been 11 days since Bernie suggested this regulation exists and has then refused to provide a reference for it. I suggest he makes up facts to suit his opinions, rather than shaping his opinions to suit the facts. I'm certainly open to being corrected, but no such correction has been forthcoming.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
Again. Provide the reference please.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
Well, I've scanned the regs and checked the VFR TAC for the New York City area and can't find any reference to what you say. Have you sent me on a wild goose chase?

The burden of proof is on the person saying it this reg exists. Provide the reference to the reg or I can only come to the conclusion that you made that up, too.

BTW, I've scanned all the articles on this incident and have not found a single legitimate news organization suggesting that the military helicopter was doing anything illegal or unsafe. A few of them (including the New York Post) clearly state that the drone flight was illegal. Also telling is that the military pilots are being congratulated for their flying skills while the drone pilot is being sought for arrest. Don't defend the criminals who have no care for other peoples' lives. And please respect the lives of those who put them on the line in order to serve. There is one real cause of this incident, and the entire blame rests with the drone 'operator'. I hope they find him. Even the Secret Service is looking for him now.
spdmrcht
Ron Lorenz 1
Yah, but what if the Helicopter wasn't at 500? Say 400',
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 0
Because, you know, "approximately"...
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
You do know that military aircraft have an instrument that is known as a radar altimeter right? A pipper is set that to a minimum altitude and once the bird goes below that setting, a light flashes or a sound/alarm goes off. The reporter was most likely told that or something similar. Unless the radalt was lit or sounding or the pilot was staring at the altimeter when he hit it, all he knows it was at the altitude he was flying at and had been flying at, which would be known.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 1
Approximately.
DaveLloyd
DaveLloyd 0
There’s always what-ifs.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
No difference whatsoever. As long as the helicopter did not damage anything "on the surface", he was legal for flight at any altitude.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
Dave, If you are sure, then you are "surely" wrong, and at odds with the FAA. And, no, the helicopter was not at fault. Read the regulations. Drones must give way to ANY manned aircraft, and it is perfectly legal for the helicopter pilot to fly where he was at.
fedexman2
Eric Schmaltz -8
Maybe the story should read "Military chopper hits drone". I checked Reuters and I couldn't find any info about there being a "war" going on in any residential neighborhoods on Staten Island.
kman101
Kevin Romero 8
Perhaps as Ken said, if this was a GA or commercial aircraft the comment would be different but the event the same. Drones unregulated in shared airspace is a concern that needs to be addressed before loss of life happens. It's not a political statement, it's one of action that needs to be taken before one of these stories reads "no survivors in drone accident".
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 3
Minimum altitude for helos in NYC used to be 1,000' AGL (not sure what it currently is), so what's this "shared airspace" you speak of?
tongo
Dan Grelinger -4
Fake News! Get educated before you comment again, PLEASE!
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 3
So, you're contending then that it's perfectly legal to go flying between buildings in NYC? Perhaps you should research that a little.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
OK, so I looked in the FAA Pilot Registry. I find no Bernie or Bernard Behling. If you are licensed as a pilot, what is the name you are registered under. If you are not, then I suggest using this forum to learn, not to provide false information to others.
joelwiley
joel wiley 4
Mr. Grelinger, are you going trying to restart that old argument that only licensed pilots have standing on FlightAware? The FAA is not issuing licenses to opine.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
No. I did not state that and don't even suggest that. What I am suggesting is that Bernie has a lot to learn about what the regulations really are. Stuff that you learn when training to become a pilot. I have pointed out at least half a dozen false statements and misunderstandings that Bernie has made about what he thinks the regs are. Has he acknowledged his errors? I don't mind people posting what is true. When they post stuff that is false and act like they know what they are talking about, I get a little testy. He seems to have no knowledge of FAR regulations on safe altitudes for helicopters and assumes that all aircraft are the same. He totally ignores clear cut rules on who has right of way in all airspace. He would get at least my respect, if not the respect of a lot of others, if he would post only factual information on the regs, and when making a mistake, admit it and issue a correction.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 1
And I suggest that you not try to dox me lest you find yourself explaining your stalking behavior to a judge.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -3
Paranoid, now? FAA pilot registries are public infomration. Look me up, you'll find me there. You will also find that I co-own an airplane.

I guess your post is your way of telling me you are an uniformed member of the general public, and not a pilot. That was my point. But, nice attempt at a deflection from the truth.

Back to what is pertinent... Where's the FAR reference for your "flying between buildings in NYC"? From your comment, you obviously have not been able to find it. Maybe you should stop suggest things you can't back up. Or perhaps you think you get to make up all the rules...
bbabis
Bill Babis 3
Get over yourself Dan. This is an aviation focused website. Many non licensed posters are much more informed and aviation minded than some of the licensed contributors. You seem to be making a good case for yourself as one of the later.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -1
If I have said something incorrect, please point it out. Otherwise why suggest that I might be less informed and aviation minded?
bbabis
Bill Babis 3
Plenty Dan and I'll list just a few:
1. Helicopters do not have props. They have rotary wings, hence their FAA category.
2. Helicopters can legally operate at any altitude. This is a red hearing. So can anything that flys. It is totally dependent on the circumstances.
3. The drone did not yield the right of way. I believe it did but was run down by a much faster machine being operated too low for the circumstances. Yielding does not mean landing when another aircraft is in the area.
4. lbermo's ATP clearly says that there is aviation knowledge well beyond yours talking. He/she did not speak down to you. I agree with lbermo that the damage looked very superficial. As aviation professionals, we also know that looks and monetary repair costs are not related. Superficial damage often condemns blades, props, windows, etc...
5. Bernie Behling has my respect for his comments and aviation knowledge. You, so far, have very little and continue to fall.

Please make your comments without the certificate flaunting and personal attacks on other posters giving opinions that mean just as much as yours or mine.
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 3
I suppose this is somewhat pedantic, but as propeller blades are airfoils, they could all be classified as "rotary wings."
That said, you could also classify helo rotors as specialized propellers used to support the weight of the aircraft instead of merely to "propel" it, as a conventional propeller, or "airscrew" to our British friends, does.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
1. When I used the term prop, I chose to use the same term the original poster used in a post. Blame him. And, it is not incorrect usage. Perhaps not preferred, but definitely not correct: "Propeller - a mechanical device for propelling a boat or aircraft, consisting of a revolving shaft with two or more broad, angled blades attached to it." Helicopter rotors seem to fit this dictionary.com definition, don't you think?

2. If anything that flies can legally operate at any altitude, then why will the FAA accept and investigate complaints of fixed wing aircraft flying under 1000 feet AGL over congested areas. The regs don't support this assertion you have made. They do support mine.

3. Yes, you are correct. The drone did NOT yeild the right of way, as required by law. Yielding means getting out of the way. That did not occur. The drone operator put his aircraft and himself in a position where he apparently could NOT yield the right of way. That is what is wrong. Your "belief" has no bearing on the law and reality.

4. Do you understand the term superficial? The knowledgeble responses on this board confirmed that the damage required the aircraft to be declared unairworthy (grounded) because of the damage. By definition, superficial does not do that. Hence, the damage was not superficial.

5. Even after all of his errors in telling others what's in the regs when it is not? And you can't find anything truly incorrect with what I've said? You only have your opinion to disagree with me?

Your last sentence is the only one that holds anything of merit. Yes, I have been harsh. My life is on the line. I take seriously people cavalierly ignoring that.

But, I was not attacking you, you attacked me first. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Your criticism seems to much like the pot calling the kettle black.
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
You make my point Dan. Everything is open to opinion and interpretation, points and counter points. That is what makes this board work. The discussions make people think. Yes, we all get and usually deserve criticism at some point, but I consider it another's opinion, not a personal attack. Personal attacks have no place here. I hope we are above that. I consider you a fellow aviator and aviation enthusiast. Blue skies and safe travels.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
Perhaps I have a higher standard for others on this board. Generally, I have not taken exception to opinion presented as an opinion. I have taken exception and called out others when opinion is presented as fact. Trying to pass off FAA minimum safe altitudes for fixed wing aircraft as the same for helicopters in order to try and shift the blame to the pilot(s) of the helicopter is totally inexcusable, "in my opinion". Perhaps others think such behavior is OK, but not me. You've made a judgement of my posts ("Get over yourself, Dan"), why criticize my judgement of others' posts? It would be easy for Bernie to receive a mea culpa from me. All he has to do is back up his assertions of what the regs are, with real references. Is that reasonable?
tongo
Dan Grelinger -3
Wow. I give you FAR references, and you give me...... Crickets....

Reference the reg, if you can find it.

Are you a pilot? My certificate number is 3305109. What is yours?
whip5209
Ken McIntyre 1
There WILL be a war when a bunch of people get killed. This is coming sooner or later. A drone flies into restricted space and causes a passenger jet to go down. Or, a helicopter to crash into a crowded city.
bbabis
Bill Babis 2
Do we really need another war? How's that war on drugs coming along? We have more drugs than ever. The war on poverty? You guessed it, more poverty than ever also. If you want something to really take-off, just declare war on it in our silly sense.
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 0
Well maybe if they didn't operate them in restricted airspace...? The helos I mean, since last I checked the minimum altitude for helos over NYC was 1,000', not "approx" 500'. (Can we say "approximately at the altitude drones are LEGALLY allowed to fly at"?
awsauerman
Apparently you didn't read the article. The helicopter, based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., was in New York City for the United Nation patrol. That is a federal flight to keep the UN idiots safe.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -3
You don't even know what restricted airspace is. Restricted airspace has nothing to do with minimum safe altitude for aircraft. And as I pointed out in the FAR's helicopter minimum safe altitude is to the surface, as long as precautions are taken not to risk harm to people and property "on the surface". Man, you post a lot of misinformation...
btweston
btweston 0
Why is the Army patrolling over New York? Even the ancient Romans knew that was a bad idea.
bobhirst
Robert Hirst 2
That's why ancient Romans never did.
Kairho
Kairho Carroll 1
Also their helos couldn't carry enough fuel to get back to Rome.
billy2j
charles yancey 0
Why is it we always want to punish everyone for the actions of one? Track the purchase of this drone and prosecute for violating the 400ft. ceiling for the drone. There is such a thing as personal responsibility.
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 1
There maybe a possibility to use soemthing like an ip address or wifi id but it isn't there yet.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
Are you asking for something that is currently impossible? If so, then what changes in the current regulations do you propose such that your wonderful idea can move from fantasy to reality?
AvPac
Andrew Smith -6
500” - Drones are allowed to 400AGL. Me thinks the Heli was low.
bovineone
Jeff Lawson 9
Helicopter operations may be legally conducted below the minimum altitudes set for fixed-wing aircraft. Additionally, unmanned aircraft must always yield to manned aircraft, regardless of the altitude.
watkinssusan
thank you jeff for a short and logical explanation..i live in the flight path for a major airport, as well as a few miles from a small (but well used) airport for private aircraft..this small airport offers flight training in both fixed wing and helicopters,and used to be a landing point for training helicopter medivacs.the larger commercial jets at times come over low enough to read the logos or aircraft numbers, and some of the larger international carriers even have the airlines name printed on the bottom where it is readable...my point is,the use of drones does need regulation with regard to how high,and exactly where the drone can be flown (in my area for example,it might cause damage to an airplane or a helicopter)..realty agencies use them frequently for overhead shots,various goverenmental agencies use them for surveys and law enforcement reasons, and most recently, in my area,drones were used to fly over and video the total damage and flooding caused by hurricane harvey..if you want to use one as an expensive "toy",then use it in your own yard,or in an open field,and fly it low,just as you would a model airplane...
Bernie20910
Bernie20910 1
There are already exactly the regulations you're asking for, and this incident took place over an area with multiple public parks and a public beach, including one park (Miller Field) where drones are commonly flown, and well outside the normal flight path of any nearby airfields. The drone was struck by a military helo flying below minimum altitude for that airspace. If you're going to fly a helo through airspace commonly used for drone flying then you stand a pretty good chance of hitting one. Everything you're calling for was in effect here. The only thing we don't know is the exact altitude it happened at, just "approximately 500 feet", so approximately just 100 feet of separation in the best case. That seems pretty reckless to me on the part of the helo pilot, but I don't expect many here to agree with that.
rec9140
rec9140 3
You are right that you are not going to get any PILOT support here. I am not a pilot, I work with helocopters in the medevac and LEO air patrol part of work.

REGARDLESS if FAR's permit it. COMMON SENSE tells you that OPERTING a helo over a RESIDENTIAL AREA AT THAT LEVEL IS, just plain STUPID!

UNLESS

1) Active LE pursuit for a crime. Not patrols!
2) Active SAR
3) Active fire surpression
4) Some other active real life threating need to be at that level

Yes, we've all seen the cites on FAR. Now, lets start by engaging BRAIN and COMMON SENSE. Just becuase it is legal, doesn't mean it MAKES SENSE to do this on a normal opreations basis.
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
BUZZZZZZZZZ! Wrong answer. Read the FARs!
tongo
Dan Grelinger -2
Man, did you put your foot in your mouth. Will you correct yourself?

Per FAR 91.119;

(d) ·Helicopters. ·Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed In paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.

And, military aircraft are very often exempt from most of the civilian rules.
Dl8698
David Loh -2
People who bothered to register are not likely to be the ones to worry about. It's the wild cowboys and cowgirls who will one day be likely to cause a fatal crash. Drones should be banned! That's my opinion so don't even bother to debate with me about it.
upchucked
C. WESLEY GRADY -2
We can argue all day about who was at the wrong altitude, about who was responsible for 'seeing and avoiding' ..... But, what bothers me the most.... a $500 drone, weighing a pound or two, collides with the most sophisticated military attack helicopter in our arsenal and ..... "the pilot wasn't inured and was able to land..." really? Heaven help us if North Korea starts up a drone air-force to fend off the capitalistic pigs from the US.... probably could spend a lot less than they do on one missile and based on this story could pretty much counter any advantage we might have with our $ Billion air superiority construct.

Maybe we should forget about the F-35 and just buy a bunch of DPI drones......
flypilot12
flypilot12 3
This was a UH-60 Blackhawk. Appears to be a 'Mike' model but, hard to tell from the pics, it could be a 'Lima'. This is no where NEAR our most sophisticated attack helicopter. It is a troop and and cargo transport Utility Helicopter built by Sikorsky.
gerardogodoy
gerardo godoy -1
What law is respected in the USA???...there is anarchy there. So the "boys with toys" will continue to to put airliners and other planes in harms way....No one cares there anymore.
yarnoca1
John Yarno 0
It seems to me that these drones are aircraft, by ant definition of the word. If that is true, they should be subject to all of the regulation in place now. Is there exemptions for "Radio Controlled" models? Are they allowed over cities and residential housing? What do the regulations say about models (unmanned small aircraft).
n2tl
BRUCE PETERS 2
To find out, read 14CFR 101 and 107. You are correct; drones are legally defined as aircraft, and thus subject to FAA regulation. Exception: indoor flights.
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 0
Don't know how accurate this story is. http://freedumjunkshun.com/flight-crew-takes-a-knee-and-walks-off-leaving-new-orleans-saints-stranded-on-runway/
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
If you don't know the accuracy of something, perhaps you could do a little research before posting it.

Then again in the case your website you could have taken a second look at the rest of it, especially the section "about freedum junkshun" at the bottom of the page.
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 1
I was asked and missed the clues. I was hoping that someone may have known something factual about this.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
Double shame for posting this.
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 1
So is this a fake?
tongo
Dan Grelinger 0
tahoe967
F---ing nuisance drones! Shoot them down!
Moviela
Ric Wernicke -5
One would think with the sophisticated weapon and identification systems on that aircraft the automatic protection systems would have identified the intruder and used its squirt gun to shoot it out of the sky. No?
tongo
Dan Grelinger -3
The issue is that in order to stop these events, the perpetrators need to be identifiable. In this case, I would not be surprised if the criminal is not found, as is the case with all criminals, they tend to keep their activities and whereabouts hidden. Hence the need for a transponder requirement for all drones, similar to other aircraft. If we as pilots need to do it and tolerate it, so must others who want to use the same airspace.
jbermo
jbermo -4
Damage here looks very superficial. Any historical evidence of real drone damage over the years? Everyone talks about the potential of hard drone damage but I have yet to see an example of it. Many of these drones are lighter than a large bird.
bovineone
Jeff Lawson 2
According to NBC, "The impact dented one helicopter, cracked a window and damaged its rotor blades." Maintenance and replacement costs and labor for those parts on the helicopter is hardly trivial--vastly more than the cost of the drone.
ronberaha
Ron Beraha 1
The same superficial damage that you are describing could be the very damage that causes you to lose your airworthiness. Then the results are deadly in a rotary wing and potentially so in a fixed wing.
bovineone
Jeff Lawson 1
I'm not sure how much the blades on that Blackhawk would cost, but at least one internet source says: "if a piece of metal or some other foreign object flew into the rotor blades of a Bell 407 damaging just 2 of the blades beyond repair, it will likely cost the owner over $200,000 to get the helicopter back in flying condition"
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
"Very superficial"? You are obviously not a pilot or aircraft operator and are ignorant of such matters. Perhaps you should ask questions to become more informed rather than making assumptions that have no merit or basis. If it was superficial, why was are aircraft grounded as "unairworthy" after such "superficial" damage?
speshulk99
john kilcher -5
the drone should ahve knocked the effin' military aircraft out of the sky.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
It is because of that kind of attitude that we have laws and jails.

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