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  • Simply disgraceful; bordering on criminal.

    A  proper preflight would have included a safety check of the exclusion zone, had one even been established. There was no preflight; period, as established by the presence of persons, vehicles, etc. A preflight includes more than just function checking your craft & GCS; it encompasses everything needed to mitigate the risks established in the hazard analysis of the job. Errr; I guess that wasn't done either.....

    His piloting abilities, for flying close range in a crowded environment, are not up to snuff. Losing orientation on a large Hexa/octo, at ranges les than 300' LOS??  Those are not what I'd call "mad piloting skills". 

    I'll throw stones at this one all day long, as we all should. These are common sense flying practices, that were both ignored and disregarded, and for that, this anonymous pilot (has he come forward in ANY forum?), should be held accountable. 

    Risks were not evaluated. Controls to mitigate risks were not in place. Craft was not airworthy. Pilot skills substandard. safety of persons & property disregarded. Pilot failed on so many levels.

    This documented example will be used by many regulators, as an example of why our hobby should be heavily monitored and drowned in policy and paperwork.


  • Seth, regulations of the type you are requesting are difficult, if not impossible. to enforce.  Regulations are violated everyday.  Some of the violators are caught and many more are not.  I'd rather see the effort that would go into regulation be redirected into education. Education may have not prevented this incident either.  However, having a better educated populace is much better than having a more regulated populace.

  • I also noticed that the guy in the football video stopped to pull up his pants as well, at least he did it before he powered up his copter. ;)

  • @ Matthew - agreed sir.
  • @Sentry I'd take 54MHz first, but then I have the license for that range; my second choice would be 72MHz, then any other band.
  • GPS hold was rock solid. I'd assume that there was tons of GPS saturation for RTH/failsafe operation. I don't suggest that a hover is a failsafe. But a control/systems check is the 1st thing ANY pilot does. When I don't see that happen FIRST, then my opinion of that operator goes in the toilet. Not much melse matters after that.

    BTW - you don't want UHF for control when the TV trucks light up and there is TV production equipment a few feet away from you on the field. I'd put my next paycheck that 72 was NO DOUBT the cleanest of any of our control frequencies in that scenario. 2.4 control is laughable. UHF would get smacked up with the digital TV gear a few feet away. If I take that Indiana gig - I'd fly 72mHz 9 times out of 10.
  • I agree with some of Hai's comments.  The football video isn't really much better, IMO.  In fact, I would prefer to fly in that downtown area than in that crowded stadium.  Fact is, there weren't actually that many people in that commercial area. 

    I also find the idea that doing a close in hover is any kind of protection against flight failure is pretty suspect.  Fact is, there are plenty of unpredictable things that can happen in flight, and no amount of hovering is going to turn them up, or eliminate the possibility.  Sometimes ish happens.  In fact, if you consider it as an MTBF problem, the more time you spend hovering, the more likely it is for something to occur.

    Finally... is he REALLY using 72MHz?

  • I am not referring to the other parts of the Indiana video. The bottom line is I've been hired to fly crowds (music festivals, resorts in Puerto Rico, etc). As I've stated before - my contracts always include security for my crew (me). I've never flown from a press-box as SkyCamUSA had to do here - but part of what makes those guys pros is the ability to operate safely in those environments. I've always been able to buy more real-estate than SCUsa had in that video - but I've also had the opposite extreme where I flew for construction imaging and had to operate in proximity to live construction equipment repairing a bridge. I won't speak to press-box flying, but you probably won't get more than a few feet regardless at a site like that. I was highlighting that he settles in to close low flight and hovering before he stretches the legs out on the rig. Sure - for 4 times the money he could setup a wire, but that is not w/out different sorts of risk.
    While I agree that the pilot showed "what I call" negligent operation in an urban environment, I do NOT fault him for the area he had to operate in. I faut him for maybe taking a gig he wasn't ready for. I always reserve the right to decline a gig after an in-person site survey is done - and based on the small amount of 3rd party video we see in Gary's example - this pilot was not as thorough as I am, for whatever that's worth. I don't miss issues in pre-flight. But maybe that's bc I flew the E-3 Sentry for 8 years and if I was wrong at pre-flight, 35 other guy may not make it home. As much as a renegade pilot as I've always been (both full scale and fpv), I can't live with hurting people.

  • Moderator

    @sentry, I agree with your comments.  Unfortunately the video of the football match isn't a good example of safe flying.  ie.  Aircraft operating too close to non-crew, aircraft overflying a crowd (aka populous area) at a height less than what would be needed to clear the area upon a malfunction.  The area in the CBD where that accident happened was 100% for commercial operations and I would prefer flying in that area than over a crowded football field.

    Unfortunately, whilst I agree that the checks and processes you mention are necessary and common sense, common sense isn't that common these days; Unlike manned aviation there are no regulations such as the ones that govern manned aircraft that specifically state that the PIC must ensure the controls are full free and correct etc etc etc.

    In my opinion, the pilot was at fault, the aircraft should have never been powered up with spectators so close, and it should have never have been flown above a low hover until control checks had been completed.

  • That doesn't negate the fact that the number of seconds after launch the pilot should not have been at that altitude. At that time - he should have been in a hover and checking control and trims. A pro always settles in low and close - this is even MORE important in an urban environment.


    Furthermore - installation errors are not acceptable for a "pro" - at least not as much as a hardware failure (no-one can control this). This is how you settle in low and close before stretching your legs at a pro/client site.


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