First UAV Near Miss with Ag Aircraft Reported in Pacific Northwest

RSP_0276

From the SUAS Feed

Earlier this week a pilot from Idaho was preparing to begin a spray run through a field. Barely visible ahead of him was a small stationary object. He decided it must be a kite since a bird would not remain motionless. As he neared the object, it rapidly shot straight up. The pilot took evasive action but it passed so close to the airplane that he was unsure if it had missed the aircraft and spray system. It was close enough for him to be able to identify the make and model of the quad-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). He did not see the vehicle again as he finished the field but he did see the suspected operator/pilot in a car near the field. When he went to the next field, the car followed him where he observed the car’s occupant taking pictures with a hand-held camera.

Full article here: UAV near miss with crop duster

Views: 4304


Admin
Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on July 25, 2014 at 12:32pm

I think that this is a good example of the lack of understanding that hobby sUAS operators have concerning their liability and their lack of liability insurance when flying over both public and private areas.

Regards,

TCIII Admin

Comment by Toby Mills on July 25, 2014 at 1:08pm

My suspicion is this drone operator had a little bit of knowledge and may have been surprised to see a manned aircraft operating under 400ft.

It is an incorrect assumption for drone operators and RC pilots to assume that anything under 400ft is safe for them to do whatever they want. This is a good reason for the line of site rule.

The drone pilot was likely taking photos in order to 'report' the pilot of the crop duster for flying too low.


Of course what many don't know is that crop dusters have exemptions in most countries to fly under 400ft.

A crop duster can appear over a hill from nowhere with little warning in rural areas and the last thing these guys need is to come face to face with a drone on the other side of a hill.

They already have enough hazards from birds, trees and power lines.

If you are operating in a remote rural area, it does not mean you can do whatever you want, you still have to be aware of air traffic, and in some cases it can be below 400ft which can make rural areas even more dangerous than urban areas.

Take it easy out there guys.

Comment by John on July 25, 2014 at 1:50pm
Theoretically you should only be flying at ama sanctioned fields.
Comment by John on July 25, 2014 at 1:51pm
You wouldn't go driving your rc car on the highway or in the middle of a busy street.
Comment by David Boulanger on July 25, 2014 at 2:04pm

John,  Can you elaborate on why you say you should only be flying at AMA sanctioned fields.

Regards,

David R. Boulanger

Comment by Tom Mahood on July 25, 2014 at 2:13pm

Of course no charges were pressed against the quad operator. The operator was doing nothing wrong. He (I assume) was operating his quad per FAA guidelines in a rural area. Can't be much more prudent than that. If anyone was at fault here it was the pilot of the duster, who started spraying the field before checking to see if it was truly safe to do so. Clearly it wasn't, as there was someone engaging in a legal activity which could pose a hazard to the pilot's aircraft. I'd be willing to bet serious money that as soon as the quad pilot saw the duster he immediately yielded the airspace.

Were it me, surprised by a duster pilot coming out of nowhere and forcing ME to take evasive action with my quad, I'd be more than a little interested in having a chat with that pilot.

Comment by Zinc Whiskers on July 25, 2014 at 2:17pm

"close enough for him to be able to identify the make and model"...?

Comment by Toby Mills on July 25, 2014 at 2:21pm

Zinc, there is only one Quad that I know of that you could identify the make from a distance.
DJI strikes again.


Admin
Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on July 25, 2014 at 2:22pm

@Tom,

Have you considered the fact that the sUAS operator may have been trespassing with his sUAS on private property that was being sprayed by the crop duster?

Had he requested permission to be on the property he would have been told that crop dusting operations were in progress and not to fly over the area being sprayed.

Regards,

TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Tom Mahood on July 25, 2014 at 3:14pm

@Thomas, I am only going by the facts as stated in the source news article, which is silent as to that. But it appears the farmer knew who the individual was. It could well be that a general blanket permission had been granted ("Fly your little copter? Sure, any time") and thus no specific dusting schedule mentioned. It could also be the quad pilot launched from a public roadway, and flew over private property. While I will concede that is at best poor manners, but it's not trespassing as long as he remained off private property. Overflight of private property is not trespassing. Not yet, anyway.

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