Amateur drone video of 777 airliner landing leads to investigation

The Canadian regulators are rightly investigating the above video, which seems shockingly irresponsible. From Global News:

VANCOUVER – More than five months after a YouTube video was first published, concerns are growing about possible conflicts between drones and aircraft.

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and are soaring in popularity.

However, a video posted by ‘Quadrotor Dragonfly’ shows a remote-control drone shooting video of a jet landing at Vancouver International Airport. The drone appears to be at about the same altitude as the jet and not very far away.

“Air Canada 777 observed a small helicopter, he thought it was a real helicopter,” said Bill Yearwood from the Transportation Safety Board. “But when he got closer he realized it was a remote control helicopter.”

He said encountering something like this on final approach in a jet can be disconcerting, if not outright dangerous.

“Quite a sophisticated toy,” he added. The technology is quite good, it makes it easy for somebody to operate and it can operate far away from that person, so that combination can present a hazard if used by irresponsible operators.”

In an email statement from Transport Canada they said:

“Transport Canada is aware of the videos posted on YouTube showing a unmanned air vehicle (UAV) flying near Vancouver International Airport and Vancouver Harbour.

Transport Canada is very concerned about the operations of this UAV and we have been working with the RMCP to determine the operator’s identity. We are continuing to investigate the incident. We urge anyone with information on the videos to please call Transport Canada or email the Civil Aviation Issues Reporting System to report this or similar incidents.”

Yearwood said even if a jet engine ingested a drone, it probably wouldn’t cause a crash as the jet could keep flying on the other engine, but they do not want to investigate any aircraft / drone collisions.

Views: 4110

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 25, 2014 at 1:52pm


I've actually been in contact with TC to see if I can aid the investigation in any way.  Sounds like they're close to tracking him down. I hope they do charge him.  We have to get the message out.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on April 25, 2014 at 2:04pm

Whoops -- sorry for the repost. Perhaps okay given update on the investigation?

Comment by Jack Crossfire on April 25, 2014 at 3:48pm

Another swing & a miss from the Canadian movie industry.

Comment by Mario on April 25, 2014 at 4:31pm

sorry guys...not a 777...

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 25, 2014 at 4:32pm

I don't get it?

Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on April 25, 2014 at 7:53pm

Just out of interest, I had a quick go at estimating his altitude.  If you estimate the aircraft's position when it crosses the horizon, I would estimate it that to be slightly east of the Oak Street Bridge, which is around 11500' away from the 26R touchdown point.  On a 3° glideslope that the aircraft was presumably using, this puts him at 11500*sine(3°) = ~600' AGL

Naughty boy, indeed!

Comment by Sgt Ric on April 25, 2014 at 9:05pm
That's not even counting his location in relation to the harbour and the floatplane lanes!
Comment by Mark on April 26, 2014 at 2:10am

It looks like A-320 on a video, definitely not a B-777.

A pilot observed a small R/C helicopter? I'll tell you a small story. On a clear flying day (I flew gliders back then) an  An-2 (much bigger than RC plane) requested a fly-by the airport legally declaring the direction, position and altitude to the controller. I was flying in the area and only after a minute of scanning the area I have noticed An-2 aircraft 2000 feet away 1000 ft lower. I knew where to search for it. It is not an easy task to spot the aircraft in the air.

I would doubt a B-777 pilot, busy with landing procedures noticed an RC quad or similar. Something's smells really fishy here.

Comment by Mark on April 26, 2014 at 2:18am

Another story from the 2013 in Beltzville, PA. We are flying duo Grob and below us working Discuss (single seater) about 3500' of altitude. We are directly above the airfield. 

Passing traffic single engine did not see Discus in-time and had to take real hard evasive maneuver to avoid head-on collision. I am sure the power pilot was aware of glider operation in the area. I almost had it on video.

It is impossible to see a quad in the air from B-777 period.

Comment by Dwgsparky on April 26, 2014 at 4:42am
It does not matter if the copter could be seen or not! It's still irresponsible and potentially dangerous.
I wonder what you would say as a passenger if the copter took out an engine "it's ok we did not see the unfortunate multicopter, never mind" I think my words would not be suitable for this site!


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