Drone stuck on 115,000-volt power line


"Watching Saturday’s events unfold, Jones said he knew the job must have cost City Light “quite a bit of money” because there were eight line workers and a fleet of trucks and service vehicles. But when he asked workers what it was costing, he didn’t expect $35,000.

“That is a staggering sum of money — all for the benefit of the liberty to fly some toy around in an environment where it doesn’t belong,” he said."

Full story by the Seattle Times here.

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  • 115kV lines are nothing to take lightly. Yes $35,000 is probably a fair sum for all the effort to fetch that thing off the wires. The e-field energy around them as well as the m-field  could have been a contributor to the event. I doubt DJI tested their aircraft for those conditions. The operational environment for an aircraft to be used for power line inspections will require certification/testing for risk reduction/mitigation. The numbers for these power lines were crunched long ago.

    This was probably not considered in a $3000 consumer product made for 'the shot'. The linemen are usually dealing with metal foil balloons for birthdays/parties causing havoc. Now they get to start adding little drone stickers to their helmets  (I'm kidding... sorta).

    Credit goes to the flyer for sticking around and not ducking out. A mindset of anti-authority/anti-responsibility is a fast way to get onerous legislation for this activity.

    Don't get me started about flying in/around crowds. That's just dumb.


  • If only we had some type of technology that allowed cameras to shoot from above safely. :-)

  • Moderator

    No points for being so foolish in the first place, in the ticket sales did the entire audience give the right for a dangerous machine to be flown over their heads? Oh the humanity I know. A risk assessment would have shown that was a dumb dumb thing to do. Now that a crowd has been flown over for a big name like that plenty of folks will believe its ok. 

  • Wow! Will the PH2 and new Solo smart battery also have this feature to fly to the nearest power source on low battery warning?

  • I don't think drones like when you start tugging at them when they're trying to stabilize themselves... they tend to bite you.

  • Gary, I think the drone was being used by the tour to get crowd shots. It says he sometimes grabs it mid-air to take shots of the crowd himself but "something went wrong" (and he missed). Points to him for sticking it out for the rest of the show though.

  • 3D Robotics

    Not a great day for Inspires indeed:

  • 'Self destruct' as in explosion or melting down or some type of vaporization?
  • This is a good example of why drones should come equipped with a 'self destruct' feature.

  • Moderator

    Enrique Iglesias injured on stage by a multirotor http://www.suasnews.com/2015/05/36305/enrique-iglesias-grabbed-a-dr... His own fault but not a great day for Inspires.

    That Inspire in the power lines must have been activated on the app so DJI knows who owns it. The Police won't take long to find the owner and get the money for the recovery back.

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