Last week in Colorado a 46% scale RC plane flying a demo at a charity event at a private airfield got clipped by a full scale biplane with two people in it. Apparently, the video has been taken down from Youtube but there is a short article and a copy of the video over on Jalopnik (I have attempted to embed the video above). You should probably watch the whole video and read the article to get a sense of the event and the airfield before jumping to any immediate conclusions regarding blame.
I think this is a decent indicator of the complexities and responses you can expect when incidents like this eventually occur that involve amateur, unpiloted vehicles...the general aviation guys will say "get those toys out of our way!" and the UAV people will probably say something equally one-sided.
You guys with a lot of experience at managed RC events will probably see a lot of things that I don't see. The FAA is investigating, of course, and I imagine that there will be plenty of blame for just about everyone involved by the time the report comes out. A few feet one way and it would have been a near miss we might never have heard about and a few feet the other way would have produced multiple fatalities that might have defined the future of this hobby.
Was there any problem in RC Planes schedule of running?
1. Though most of us are UAV enthusiasts now but we are/were RC pilots primarily and some of us are real pilots too. Separating UAV hobby from RC will be impossible unless we stop using RC controls in this hobby & alienate our selves from RC/FPV community..
2. These things happen , can happen and will happen. Who is to blame , where and how is another story..
3. Read " Sense, and avoid " as "Use sensibility and avoid mixing/overlap of two activity( manned and unmanned)."
Imagine the RC plane in this incident was demo amateur/DIY UAV and had this happened , what were the implications?!! Even without loss of life , this would have generated even bigger noise and attention. So , should we / DIY UAV ever participate in such event even if invited to do so? If so , what are the possible steps/ risk mitigation plan?
BTW hovering 30% RC plane presents better visual perspective to the Biplane's pilot than it would have been flying straight/normal IMHO. Biplane approached from back of RC pilot view, so hang the spotter if there was one.
Our AMA Field is the Runway of a Farm - the owner is a pilot and also a RC pilot. Actually many of the RC pilots are pilot, flight trainers, or otherwise in the same group.
Lessons to learn might include:
1. Pilots cannot see "Parked" airplanes. - Hovering your plane reduces your visibility to zero; it should not be considered "Cool" to do so. Fly the damn thing.
2. Runways are like the gravel ramps on steep hills - their primary purpose is to land planes - some of which may not be powered.
Don't Hover $8K on a Runway.
Anyway, it cr*ap what they did. The pilot violated a few FAA law, the RC guy violated a few AMA rules, and the event and people involved will have to answer to the FAA for awhile.
I personally think it's tacky that the dude was worrying about his $8000 plane while someone (or more) could have died.
It's still worthy to have this post here a reminder to us all to be careful with what we do as UAV DIY'er because if you cross the line, thing like this will happen.
However, what I wanted to say was that I am not shure any of the pilots was neccessarily to blame for the incident. It appears from the video there were some sort of airshow going on, and the the problem could also have been due to poor communication. Which in turn could very well have been under the responsibility of others, e.g. the local or sentral air traffic control, airshow management, etc.