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back to article Texan parks quadcopter atop Dallas Cowboys stadium

A self-confessed Texan "dumbass" is attempting to retrieve his quadcopter from the roof of the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington after interrupted radio comms prompted an unplanned touchdown atop the lofty structure. Aerial still of the Dallas Cowboys stadium The vehicle in question is a DJI Phantom Vision, which went …

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Joke

Dallas, we have a problem

Sorry, couldn't resist

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FAIL

20m max altitude?

If that video is meant to be from the quadcopter in question, then I call bullsh1t. Some of those shots are from waaaaay higher than that - 100m plus to my eyes.

EDIT: the dome is 91m tall. Nuff sed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 20m max altitude?

He said he had 2 of them so after losing the first sent the second up (and may have removed the 20m maximum).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 20m max altitude?

elReg's staff seem to be overworked to the point they're not even able to do the most basic proof-reading or fact checking these days.

Fortunately the commentards come to the resuce!

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Re: 20m max altitude?

It can fly higher than 20m. However, once a connection with the controller is lost and it enters "return to home" mode it automatically maintains an altitude of 20m until it is directly over the take-off location. In most environments that would mean it would safely clear any buildings in the way, it would certainly be perfectly fine if I were using it where I live. Of course, this does present an issue if the return journey includes a particularly large building.

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Re: 20m max altitude?

> However, once a connection with the controller is lost and it enters "return to home"

> mode it automatically maintains an altitude of 20m until it is directly over the take-off location.

And promptly flies into whatever it was that blocked the signal, as in Dallas? Trees, bigger houses, pylons etc. are all over 20m tall.

Would it not be better off hovering at 20m waiting for you to get the controller back in range, then setting itself down gently where it is if you don't?

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Re: 20m max altitude?

The cometary to the video did say the second copter had to go up to about 700' (213m) to get the entire stadium into view. Take it some one watched with the sound off as they were at work in an open plan/cube farm environment?

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Send in a proper big octocopter to retrieve the toy...

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In our next bulletin: Dallas PD call a news conference to point out that this copter 'could*' have been carrying a dirty bomb / mujahedin / anthrax-infected-gerbil and start lobbying for their APCs to be equipped with SAMs (or at least quad .50s in a pintle mount).

* i.e. couldn't, but never mind. Well, perhaps the gerbil...

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You might think you are joking, but you can put money on the fact that THIS will be the eventual response.

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A quadcopter by any other name

Flying a quadcopter in Texas?? Isn't that known colloquially as a "target"

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Re: A quadcopter by any other name

Re Pete 2.

Yeah, as a resident of Texas I can confirm we do such here.

I provide here our brothers from Arizona practicing maneuvers for such events.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR5BtXP0s0o

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A quadcopter by any other name

America is sure ready for that next time a mountain covered in small RC planes attacks.

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Re: A quadcopter by any other name

Everything in texas is colloquially know as a target. If it can be shot at it is shot at...

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JDX
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Couldn't he just have walked/driven round the other side of the building to regain radio contact?

Also, that video is really good, so stable... how much does one of these cost?

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Coffee/keyboard

Depending on accessories/spec, up to a £1K :-|

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Facepalm

Expensive lesson for the dumbass...

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rubbish.

blade 350 qx £350

gimbal from ebay £50

sj4000 cam (go pro clone) £70

less than half your £1000 guestimate.

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Re: rubbish.

"less than half your £1000 guestimate."

Which is why I said "depending on spec" and "up to". Plus, it wasn't a guestimate, it's the cost of the equivalent product today, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision.

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Re: rubbish.

Its easy to spend £10k upwards on these things.

The point i was making was that for a few hundred (comparatively) quid you can get up in the air, filming in HD with almost professional results.

The extra £$£$ seems to equate to lifting power!

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Anonymous Coward

What's in a name...

We can consider ourselves lucky this was just a full blooded texan dumbass that piloted the quadcopter.

If the pilot had an however slightly middle eastern sounding name this would have been construed as a terrorist attack and justified a full scale invasion of iran - which we all know is a hot bed for nanufactring QMD (Quadcopters of mass destruction)

If on the other hand the pilot had slanted eyes and a chinese sounding name then that would be more proof of the despicable chinese policy of spying on anerican soil.

But thank god the pilot was texan - so we can just laugh it off.

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There is no altitude limit on a DJI Phantom Vision. I've taken mine up hundreds of metres into the air.

I expect the 20m reference is confusion on the part of the author - the auto-return feature (which makes it come back if it loses control signal) brings the copter back to the point of launch where it hovers 20m in the air for a couple of minutes before finally landing itself.

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Insurance?

So I take it these pilots and I use that in the loosest term of the word,have public liability insurance for damage and invasion of privacy cases?

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Re: Insurance?

No, you just get to sue them and take their lawn chair.

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Happy

Re: Insurance? -"and take their lawn chair"

The one with all the helium filled weather balloons and the BB gun control-option for decent?

Wonder if some stupid 'Merkin Darwin Award wanabe will repeat that stunt with a bunch of quad-copters?

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Facepalm

Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously injured or killed by these bell ends flying their toys around populated places. Then model aviationists will suffer as the government puts in more laws on where and when they will be able fly.

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"Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously injured or killed by these bell ends flying their toys around populated places. "

How many people have been seriously injured or killed by model aircraft over the years?

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me

I don't remember how long it takes for the tip of your finger to grow back after being shaved off by a 13" plastic propellor, but I can tell you it hurts like hell.

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I don't know why the downvotes, but this is a possibility with these quadrotors I would think. I haven't personally seen one of these quadrotor jobs, but have seen and watched r/c planes, choppers and boats and even the small ones have the potential to do some serious damage if they hit someone. I agree, these should be flown where there is enough space to keep them from having contact with people or property.

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JDX
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You could argue a quadcopter which defaults to being stationary is inherently safer than a plane which by definition is always moving fast, or a helicopter whose natural behaviour is to immediately crash.

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Re: me

Cant happen.

They have intelligent motor controllers which stop ALL the motors the instant one of them hits something. You may get a minor cut but lopping fingers off??? No...

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Anonymous Coward

Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously injured or killed by these bell ends flying their toys around populated places. Then model aviationists will suffer as the government puts in more laws on where and when they will be able fly.

I can see privacy violations and dumbasses using laser pointers being next on the list, but it's Texas. They don't need laws to ban things - all it takes is selling hunting licenses. And if that ends up with a later firefight between owner and hunter, even better - we like Darwin :)

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Re: me

"Cant happen.

They have intelligent motor controllers which stop ALL the motors the instant one of them hits something. You may get a minor cut but lopping fingers off??? No..."

Yeah... You try sticking your fingers into a decent size quadcopter and say that again. Remember those blades are spinning at several thousand RPM. They don't stop fast. Even my dinky little toy quad gives a serious sting if you stick your fingers into the props. A larger quad COULD lob off fingers. (And not all motor controllers are that intelligent anyway)

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I can recall one just last September (2013) in NY. A partial decapitation due to RC helicopter pilot error.

daily mail has picts: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-decapitates-remote-control-helicopter.html

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Re: me

Yes, they DO stop instantly. At least modern electric ones do. If you owned / flew one you would know this. "Dinky toy quads" do not count.I have stopped mine (blade 350qx) with my fingers and whilst i agree, it hurts, thats all it does. You may get a mark but thats all. I'm not saying if it slams into your eye it wont blind you or injure you in some way but they simply dont have the power/torque to chop bodily parts off. Even long grass will stop the blades.

The blades are "blunt" and are generally less than 6" long.

On a petrol RC plane/copter then yes, the damage potential is much higher.

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Black Helicopters

Sadly This Has Already Happened.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/kent/3277991.stm

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There was a guy that killed himself by flying a craft too close to himself and sliced his jugular. The only death I have heard of.

Many people have been injured, both operators and public. Search YouTube for a brainiac that was flying (term used in broadest terms) around high rise buildings in New York. After smashing into a couple of buildings a bunch of times, the copter finally quit and plummeted 20 stories landing a few feet from a guy who scooped it up and sold the video footage it had to the local TV station. I'm not sure if they caught the operator, but if it would have hit people on the ground, there would have been injuries.

Fingers have been severed and lots of similar injuries from coming in contact with the blades.

Keep in mind that the large multi-rotors are made with carbon fibre parts and CF is conductive. Lodge one of those in the power lines and sparks may fly.

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radio controlled helicopters with gas engines are cheap enough too, these will pack FAR more a punch if they hit you.

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I certainly do. Can't speak for anyone else.

Rules are quite different US vs UK I think. In the UK if you want to sell your photos or videos you really do need a CAA flight qualification, so "pilot" is indeed the right word.

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"Rules are quite different US vs UK I think. In the UK if you want to sell your photos or videos you really do need a CAA flight qualification, so "pilot" is indeed the right word."

There is debate in the US on whether the FAA guidelines against commercial activities using Remote Controlled Model Aircraft (RCMA's) are enforceable. So far the FAA is more involved with drafting regulations for much larger craft that could operate in the airspace with piloted aircraft. FAA statements regarding timelines for policies covering craft under 20-25kgs are in the 5-7 year range which has lead to widespread dismissal of the agency and state and local governments drafting their own regulations.

The only insurance companies that I have heard of that will write a UAV policy have put wording in the fine print that keeps them from having to pay off any claims.

New Zealand requires a pilots license and insurance. I believe that Oz has similar restrictions.

Personally, I'm going to wait until regs and proper insurance are sorted. One injury lawsuit could destroy.

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CAA flight qualification

Does it have classes for different types the same a aircraft?

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Black Helicopters

Scary

Instructive demonstration of what these machines can do - but worrying too. Lucky that this particular user doesn't seem to have hurt anyone ... yet.

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Trollface

"we got a Black Hawk down, we got a Black hawk down!"

What a twat.

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Anonymous Coward

Fuck me!

That is a big stadium!

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Re: Fuck me!

You think that one's impressive, look at the Arizona Cardinals one. Its playing field is on a huge tray, and after the game it's wheeled outside the stadium into the open for better growing conditions for the grass.

Saw a programme about it not so long ago on Discovery Channel - it's seriously impressive to watch.

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Dunno who wrote the loss of contact strategy...

...but if this thing has GPS as I suspect it just might, I would have instructed it to retrace its path _exactly_ if it loses contact until contact is regained. Chances seem good it can relatively safely pass again where it has passed once already...

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Re: Dunno who wrote the loss of contact strategy...

The Return Home function has been spotty at best. Some people have complained that their craft just fly away rather than return home.

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Commercial unmanned aerial photography in the UK requires a Permission for Aerial Work from the CAA, who in turn will insist the pilot has a BNUC-S qualification before they give permission.

http://www.eurousc.com/pilot-qualification-(bnuc-std).html

For recreational use in the UK the law roughly boils down to:

* don't do anything stupid (various things about due care and attention, etc)

* maintain line of sight with the UAV at all times

* do not fly within 50m of a person or vessel not under your control (i.e. who is not known to you and aware of what you are doing).

There are of course other general laws that apply as well (such as those relating to privacy, trespass etc).

In the US I think unmanned surveillance vehicles are basically illegal, but the FAA haven't yet figured out what to do about them and how to proceed so have said they are not going to bring any prosecutions... yet.

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"In the US I think unmanned surveillance vehicles are basically illegal, but the FAA haven't yet figured out what to do about them and how to proceed so have said they are not going to bring any prosecutions... yet."

If you are just flying as a hobby, there is lots of freedom. Just don't try and take video of your hot neighbor in the bath or "sunning" themselves in their backyard. Copters make so much noise that they're not great for surreptitious surveillance. If you get tangled in the power lines, the electric company may charge you a mint to fetch it back.

Using a copter for commercial jobs is a mine field.

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Trollface

DIRTY BOMB!!!

Would make an excellent "Delivery System"....with a better operator, obviously.

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