back to article Drone idiots are still endangering real aircraft and breaking the rules

Drones are still presenting a haphazard hazard to British pilots, with four near-miss reports being made during a five-day period in June alone. Two near-misses occurred on 23 June, with the aircraft involved being a Boeing 747 and a light aircraft. In the case of the 747, its pilot reported seeing “a drone” while flying at …

I can see it's bad news if a drone gets sucked into an engine, but I'm slightly surprised that they pose other risks. The wash from an airliner is considerable - enough to pose a serious danger to light aircraft in its vicinity. Unless it's directly in the path I would have thought a drone would just be blown away.

2
2
Silver badge

UFOs of the 21st come as Drones.

People who have read Jacques Vallée know that UFOs take the form that matches the epoch...

8
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Kubla Cant wrote:

I can see it's bad news if a drone gets sucked into an engine, but I'm slightly surprised that they pose other risks. The wash from an airliner is considerable - enough to pose a serious danger to light aircraft in its vicinity. Unless it's directly in the path I would have thought a drone would just be blown away.
Where to begin? Which bit of an aircraft do you think is ok to be hit by a solid object at several hundred miles per hour? And the wake is behind the aircraft, it doesn't stop things hitting the front.

4
0
Silver badge

No risk then if the drone hits the windshield, an airfoil or any control surfaces. Or, say, landing gear.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

RIP Areomodelling

If EASA rules go through then pretty much every drone (and model aircraft) is grounded, so the problem goes away. Which is probably what they want. While the rules are graduated with respect to perceived risk, just about the only thing you will be allowed are those little palm sized quadcopters, and they specify lots of nice little unobtaniums, like, at the higher end, the need for transponders that probably weigh more than weight limit for a drone....

Still maybe Brexit does have a silver lining.....

2
1
Silver badge

Re: RIP Areomodelling

Brexit may not help the RC flying hobby as it looks like the new proposals are due to come into effect before we leave.

Model plane fliers and clubs must be collectively spitting blood at the EASA, they've had literally decades of virtually no trouble and then suddenly they're being lumped with the multirotor crowd just because they're in the air too.

But at the end of the day, they can bring in all the rules and regulations they want - it won't stop twats being twats and everyone is aware that the workload of the police is always high and they can't be everywhere, plus when some twat recently did go and fly their £3,500 quadcopter over a football statium the police held him in custody for 11 hours because they didn't know what to charge him with!

http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/conrad-williams-avoids-punishment-after-11990446

4
0

Pilots will do anything to get rid of drones as its putting their precious jobs at risk,

3
16
Silver badge

Huh?

1
1
Silver badge

Because...

Because pilots are about to be remaindered? Because drones are going to put them out of a job? Because those contemptible selfish pilots are only looking after themselves and their pay packets and don't give a stuff for their passengers or their aircraft? Pilots such as, oh, to pick one name out of many, Captain Sullenberger? Or the pilot who put the 747 I was in down onto Shannon's runway even though it was shut because of torrential winds due to a passenger taken ill (= dying) , the pilot about whom one air steward said to us, while we waited, 'Only he had the skill to get us down, and he was determined to save that passenger'? That sort of shallow jerk?

6
1
Anonymous Coward

Fair disclosure, I fly a Phantom drone...

Anyone flying responsibly will be nowhere near 4,000ft or 9,000ft, the CAA recommend 400Ft as a limit. The DJI software even lets you set up limits, and again most responsible fliers will have them set already, I know I do...

I'm not trying to excuse the behavior of these idiots, I happily see them fined or imprisoned if they put people at risk, however as the people flying them have no consideration for the law as it stands, why will bringing in more laws, that are pretty much going to be impossible to enforce, help? The power to prosecute already exists under the Air Navigation Orders that are already law.

19
0

...why will bringing in more laws, that are pretty much going to be impossible to enforce, help? The power to prosecute already exists under the Air Navigation Orders that are already law.

^ this. There's a lot of classes of offenses (which I won't mention here) that people repeatedly seek more and more regulation, as though the law will prevent those who will happily break it from doing so once there's a new red line drawn that supercedes that last one. Rulebreakers will break the rules, so enforce the laws on the books, but certainly don't replace them with new laws that still can't be effectively enforced.

3
1

4000 feet at 200 knots, I think not

Flying around the nose of an A340 at 9000 feet yeah right, what speed and altitude do they think these things fly at exactly?

Full out racing machines are lucky to get much over 60mph and are lucky to reach 4.5 minutes flight time

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Quite high

http://www.dji.com/products/compare-phantom

2
0
Silver badge

A task for the Mythbusters then - see how high and fast a drone can go...

3
0
Silver badge

So when they're buzzed by UFO's, they don't want to talk about it. But buzzed by UFD's (unidenified flying drones), everyone wants in on the action.

0
2

The Lemon is in Play

Wokingham? I'm looking your way, Douglas Richardson...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: The Lemon is in Play

Yellow car drone!

M.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

__

When drones are outlawed, only outlaws will have drones.

4
0
Alien

drones you say?

they're drones alright...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: drones you say?

powered by swamp gas

0
0
Anonymous Coward

C'mon

"Despite the operator's evident proximity to the police, the operator could not be traced."

Evident proximity to a helipad base where there would be three or four cops, being the crews of the helicopters, with no police vehicles, no response facilities and no way to justify going out to have a look over what suddenly becomes a broad area in case an urgent support requirement comes in (high risk missing person, etc). Aircrew aren't cops in the standard sense, they don't even have PPE which means they can't deploy anywhere on foot.

There's no need to insinuate incompetence which can't be backed up by solid evidence when they hand us enough concrete, black and white mistakes.

1
0
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: C'mon

There are 3 Met helos based at Lippitts. One of which is usually out on task, meaning one at readiness and one in for maintenance. The aircrew are not warranted constables but the nav and aircraft commander are. It's not beyond the realm of possibility to think they might have an interest in finding a local allegedly breaking several articles of the Air Navigation Order - criminal offences punishable by prison.

(disclaimer: I have a low opinion of police helo crews after an unnamed ASU cowboy pretended not to hear me calling downwind and then finals in a motorglider, asking several times for the calls to be repeated while trying to sneak in underneath me – all because he wanted to land ASAP and get back to his cuppa. Seeing a helo tracking past 50' underneath you as a student pilot is not a nice experience)

10
0

Re: C'mon

Ah you forget, THEY are the law so whatever they do is correct and lawful, so it was obviously your fault for being in control of a motorglider and not paying due attention to the whims of a cop

6
0

Re: C'mon

I'd have thought self interest may have played a part.

Planes can glide to some extent, Heli's don't, and the next contact may be with the police copter....

0
2
Silver badge

Re: C'mon

I assume this got reported to the relevant air safety agencies? And probably investigated? Helo pilot could very well lose his license if he keeps up doing that sort of shit.

(On the other hand I've also seen someone be such an idiot in a close encounter with a police helo he just about got his lights punched out by the pilot of said helo. No idea how that ended, decided hanging around a bunch of somewhat agitated cops was not worth the risk of getting pulled into the fray.)

0
0
Silver badge

Re: C'mon

Heli's glider perfectly well. It's just that they have the aerodynamics of a brick for most of the way down, cushioning the landing with the last drags of kinetic energy stored in the blades on the way down.

1
0

Re: C'mon

Don't helo's have something called 'autorotate'? (Disclaimer: I am the most un-clued up person on helicopters!)

1
0
Silver badge

Autorotation

Yes, height and airspeed can be converted into lift, just as it can with a fixed wing plane.

People intuitively believe a helicopter will fall out of the sky without power, but if that were the case then there would be none certified to fly, no helicopters.

A student pilot has to learn to fly a power off approach before they are allowed solo.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Autorotation

Although I should add that with a heli, the ability to fly a controlled approach and landing without power does depend on the alert pilot recognising and correctly responding to the engine failure in good time, particularly in lighter helicopters with low rotor inertia. Failure to respond may result in rotor RPM decaying to an unrecoverable speed, and the time available on a light helicopter if the disk is under a high load at the time of engine failure (fairly likely) may only be a couple of seconds.

In the same circumstances in a fixed wing, there will always be lift available by pitching down to gain airspeed, as log as there is altitude to do so.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: C'mon

Planes can glide to some extent, Heli's don't,

Never heard of autorotation or the autogyro effect?

0
0
Meh

Any real evidence?

I can't recognise anything on a station platform when my train passes at 50mph, but pilots can see all this detail on something they pass at ten times that speed?

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Any real evidence?

This is where Mythbusters would the perfect people to step in and try to answer the question: Can you really identify an object is actually drone at X hundred feet distance whilst travelling at X miles per hour?

But sadly Mythbusters is no more :(

1
0

People are ignoring the rules! What we need is... more rules!

Just as America is loosening drone regulation to allow genuine innovation to happen in this space, Europe is planning to tighten the rules to squeeze out all but the biggest commercial interests (*cough* Amazon *cough*).

The idiot incidents will not be affected by more paperwork (to get to 9000ft, you don't read the 'don't fly above 400ft' instructions for a start). However, the small commercial interest and genuine hobbyist user will be magically washed away.

3
1
Bronze badge

Drones will cause impact damage.

There hasn't been a single accident involving a drone

I bet there wasn't a single accident involving an automobile until there was.

I've seen the damage a 1.2lb bird can do to a light aircraft flying at 87 knots and it scared the shit out of me at the time.

1
0

Is the "domestic level" tech capable of this?

The report at 9000 feet puts the operator (assuming he was on the ground!) nearly two miles from the drone. Do those things have that range?

0
0

Re: Is the "domestic level" tech capable of this?

If you can get the transmitter or receiver high enough you would be amazed at the distances that can be covered with tiny amounts of power

from a height of 81,919 feet (15 1/2 miles) above melton mowbray a 1mW transmitter on 434Mhz was clearly receivable at a range of 267 miles (Brussels) without the use of directional aerials.

for reference the transmitter was attached to a high altitude balloon and consisted of 2AAA cells, 1 arduino pro mini, 1 mini gps board and a small RF transmitter (due to an error in the code it ended up transmitting 1mW instead of the permitted and planned 10 mW)

0
0

Say it again

The standard 'off the shelf' consumer drones usually rely on higher frequency transmitters with limited range - due to a need to send video back to the operator. Whilst you can buy custom R/C gear that travels further, if you're flying a drone bought off the shelf, your limit is usually around 2-4,000 feet (up to about a mile). Battery limitations kick in if you're trying to ascend or travel long distances. You *can* buy aerials to improve range, but you have to be pretty committed to get it all working reliably.

If you want to annoy aircraft, you can buy the kit to do so, but you're better off making a balloon with a payload (hello, Register).

Funnily enough, before there were drones, aircraft pilots commonly reported UFOs. In at least a few cases, I suspect they see what they expect to see.

I can understand the 'lets ban them before someone gets hurt' argument - but have to point out that

a) The people flying irresponsibly with custom kit will still do so

b) It's actually pretty hard to hit something up there

c) Planes are tested for major air strikes

d) We don't seem to apply the same logic to autonomous cars and other technologies, or even the idea of Amazon carrying 1 kilo parcels a few hundred feet above public property and people.

e) Drones are being used responsibly in a whole range of new areas, and the technology is changing incredibly quickly. Heavy handed regulation at this point will stifle many emerging uses.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Deliberate action

While this is currently about idiots (presumably) unintentionally putting aircraft at risk, police and regulators are hopefully already planning what to do about anybody who is intentionally trying to put an aircraft at risk.

Since there are lunatics in the world who are always trying to find new ways to murder people in the name of their cause or deity, I had a thought experiment. How would I bring down a plane with off the shelf drones?

Using one drone would be difficult. Aiming a single drone at a plane would have a very low likelyhood of success. However, since a lot of drones are programmable you could get a bunch of them and program them to deploy in a pattern that would be difficult for an aircraft to avoid in the take off or landing phase. You know the glideslope at an airfield so all you would need to do would be park a van near the airport, wait for your victim, press a button to deploy your drone swarm and drive away. If kinetic energy alone isn't enough to do the job, then you could probably give them all a small explosive payload.

Please feel free to comment on and/or shoot holes in this plan.

Before anyone starts saying "don't give the terrists ideas!", if I can come up with this, then others can as well. If you don't try to work out how the bad guys would try to do this, you can't work out a way to stop them.

0
0

Re: Deliberate action

It's the Bond Villain Fallacy - the idea that 'baddies' spend ages thinking through some complex way to achieve their evil aims. In practice, the number of truly psychopathic smart people is incredibly small, and even they recognise that simple works best. The vast majority of criminal action is opportunistic and simple. You want that guys' phone? You hit him over the head and take it, rather than creating an incredibly realistic duplicate out of dried sausage meat and switching it with his real phone whilst he's distracted by a passing Miss World carnival float.

As it is, getting one drone to do what you want isn't always easy, and by the time you've spent enough money to have a few of them, you'll realise there are better hobbies and easier ways to become an evil super villain.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Deliberate action

We are not talking about super villains though. This is about religious lunatics who believe it is their duty to kill anyone who disagrees with them.

If you don't think these people are capable of planning complex operations, where were you on 11/9/2001? The planning involved there had people learning to fly months in advance, followed by 4 simultaneous hijackings.

There was an attack on as Israeli aircraft in Kenya in 2002 where Al Qaida attackers attempted to down it with 2 Strela 2 SAMs. This led El Al to fit anti missile systems to their aircraft. Obtaining off the shelf drones is far simpler that getting your hands on a SAM and there are currently no counter measures.

0
0

Breaking news:

CAA and MoD to deliberately crash drones into aircraft.

Drones are to be crashed into military aircraft as part of an investigation ordered by government ministers, and in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and CAA.

The Department of Transport has earmarked £250,000 for the tests, which will be carried out by defence technology company Qinetiq at a 5,000-square-mile area of restricted airspace in Snowdonia, Wales.

http://ukga.com/news/view?contentId=39100

Through the "Mach Loop" I hope?

0
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018