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ALMOST got hit by 2 helicopters today!
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2429 57 2017-10-7
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Sunny D
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So I’m filming my daughters b-day party from the air, and after they go inside I do some cruising at 400’.  All of a sudden I hear something big coming in and try to descend as fast as I can.  In rolls 2 search helicopters circling the area looking for someone (not aware of the story yet). They actually flew *under* my drone, but the worst part was: their interference disconnected my Phantom. I was flying DJI GO at the time, and even after they were gone it wouldn’t reconnect. I rebooted the app, no luck. I booted up Litchi and it was still disconnected, but I could at least activate RTH. I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to regain control as it was coming down and it would crash, but it was about my only option. Once it was within about 100’ I had control but still no video. Landed safely, all good.
The scariest (and most confusing) part was why it stayed disconnected?  Any guesses?
Other than not flying today, I’m not sure this was avoidable. I was flying VLOS, familiar area, not a NFZ, not above 400’. Sometimes crazy things happen.
Fly safe brothers!
2017-10-7
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AlanHd
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Wow you got lucky today, I’m glad no harm was done.
2017-10-7
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Michgolden
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That definitely must have been a pucker moment! It seems to me that you were flying according to any laws etc. Glad that nothing else happened, considering the circumstances. Did the helicopters seem to know that your bird was there? As for getting disconnected I'm sure the frequencies coming off a police helicopter have to be many considering the equipment they carry.
2017-10-7
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ghost_ATX
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Whoa. That would scare the crap out of me. Glad everything worked out and your bird was safe.
2017-10-7
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DJI Susan
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It's really lucky that the drone fly back safely. May I know which mobile do you use? Please check the performance first in a low altitude.
2017-10-7
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Genghis9
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Unfortunately airspace use below 400 is not exclusive to UAVs, while I do see that as a possibility some day, but for now not so much.  You did the correct thing in trying to give way to manned aircraft, you are required to do so.  What is bothersome to me is that you were unable to completely clear the area due to loss of contact, that's a problem.  I'm not sure what the solution is either.  You were lucky that either helo didn't hit your craft, it would have been totaled and sadly they would likely have tried to blame/claim you were at fault.
Take care and fly on!
2017-10-7
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WD9EON
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Genghis9 Posted at 2017-10-7 22:27
Unfortunately airspace use below 400 is not exclusive to UAVs, while I do see that as a possibility some day, but for now not so much.  You did the correct thing in trying to give way to manned aircraft, you are required to do so.  What is bothersome to me is that you were unable to completely clear the area due to loss of contact, that's a problem.  I'm not sure what the solution is either.  You were lucky that either helo didn't hit your craft, it would have been totaled and sadly they would likely have tried to blame/claim you were at fault.
Take care and fly on!

That is why I carry a portable scanner with aircraft and police frequencies with me.
2017-10-7
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Sunny D
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DJI Susan Posted at 2017-10-7 18:24
It's really lucky that the drone fly back safely. May I know which mobile do you use? Please check the performance first in a low altitude.

P3s with iPad Air 1.
2017-10-7
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Montfrooij
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Scary moment.
Good thing it went well.
2017-10-8
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Mark The Droner
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What were you flying?  What was your mobile device?
2017-10-8
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solentlife
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OK .... first .... lets ignore the BS replies.

" I rebooted the app, no luck. I booted up Litchi and it was still disconnected, but I could at least activate RTH." ..... that is the real item.

So many people make mistake of putting both loss of Video and Control together - but in fact even with Lightbridge - they are NOT.

The AC will on loss of YOUR commands hover in place ..... this often happens when loss of VIDEO and you don't know what orientation.

But Control is still there ..... so what to do ? Press the RTH button !

Please don't start flicking between apps .... ie stopping GO and starting LITCHI ..... all you do is confuse YOURSELF ....

When all seems to go "t**s up" .... WAIT ..... if RTH does not automatically kick in within a few seconds ......... hit the manual RTH button on the controller.

If that doesn't work ... then AC will auto RTH based on Home Point recorded etc.

I know its heart-stopping .... but you have to stick with it ..... Knee-jerking as swapping APP's is no answer.

Nigel
2017-10-8
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solentlife
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I also doubt the Heli's caused disconnection of your AC / RC.

I fly in NATO airspace (former soviet union) with daily patrols ..... where you would expect such - nothing.

Nigel
2017-10-8
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andy10
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Yes. The 'disconnected' does not mean "lost signal"! It was lost only the video signal, that is a big difference.
The disconnection very likely happen when something appeared between the drone and the RC and you said, that the helicopters were just there.
The helicopter definitely makes the huge disturbance to video signal.
2017-10-8
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Epicdoom
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I Have also encountered several incidences where helicopters were flying below 400ft one of the closest calls was when I was filming a fire in the distance. I heard the rotor thump of a helicopter looked behind me and there is was coming straight at my drone I pulled my stick full down and dropped from 390ft to 200ft by the time the chopper was right over my drone the rotor wash from the helicopter actually pushed my drone another ten feet or so downward and almost upset its orientation for upright flight.

Second close call was when I was flying over a pagoda at 160ft up I was just about to engage POI when I heard the helicopter coming, but couldn't see it due to the pagoda blocking my view (I was standing right at the base of the pagoda) I flew backwards and down at the same time just as the helicopter flew over the Pagoda extremely low . several folks watching said if I hadn't dropped out of the sky like I did that helicopter would have hit my drone for sure.  

IMO if we are to remain below 400Feet then all manned aircraft should be required to remain above 400ft. when I was flying regularly as a Private pilot, I was never given permission to fly below 500feet unless I was over water. I knew better to even ask for permission over the city which is where the second close call happened.
2017-10-8
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solentlife
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... guys get real !!

My Father was RAF and then Senior Inspector CAA UK .................

He always remarked :

Below 500ft is RAF
Below 50ft takes practice.

You guys really are calling to tune full scale pilotage ?

Get real !

We in our club fly full size as well as models. Guess what takes precedent ....

In the UK before I left for Former Soviet Union ... we had an active club on am airfield that was active RN / Air Sea Rescue .... agreement was on hearing the QRA alarm - we DUMPED any model flying !!  

Believe me - those RN flight guys meant business ..... that alarm would sound and that Sea King would be cropping grass going out full bore within seconds .....

RNAS Lee on Solent.

Nigel   
2017-10-8
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JMR58
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Hey guys, love you all but over here, all classified drone pilots(and all others to) have to login to Belgocontrol website to obtain ALL information about the region they want to fly, before fligh untill the 300ft limit(with license).
Low helicopter flights are specified from GROUND to 2000ft, and they do it but they also respect timetables!
See  the map, isn't this a solution?
Schermafbeelding 2017-10-08 om 21.04.26.png
2017-10-8
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Montfrooij
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JMR58 Posted at 2017-10-8 11:35
Hey guys, love you all but over here, all classified drone pilots(and all others to) have to login to Belgocontrol website to obtain ALL information about any flight in the region they want to fly, before fligh untill the 300ft limit(with license).
Low helicopter flights are specified from GROUND to 2000ft, and they do it but they also respect timetables!
See  the map, isn't this a solution?

That seems like a good thing.
I'm not aware of such service in NL
2017-10-8
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JMR58
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Montfrooij Posted at 2017-10-8 11:51
That seems like a good thing.
I'm not aware of such service in NL

There is a BE- lobby working on EU law concerning Drone regulations.
2017-10-8
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ALABAMA
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I'm sure you got some close up good footage @ 400 ft of the birthday party!
2017-10-8
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JMR58
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https://www.facebook.com/noordze ... os/732798993597930/
in Dutch/ Nederlands

2017-10-8
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Montfrooij
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JMR58 Posted at 2017-10-8 12:15
https://www.facebook.com/noordze ... os/732798993597930/
in Dutch/ Nederlands

Rules are most of the time a good (necessary) thing, but I hope it won't get too restricted here.
2017-10-8
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Montfrooij
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JMR58 Posted at 2017-10-8 12:03
There is a BE- lobby working on EU law concerning Drone regulations.

I heard something about that.
Height limit would be 50m if I'm correct.
Not so nice.
2017-10-8
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Genghis9
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solentlife Posted at 2017-10-8 09:47
... guys get real !!

My Father was RAF and then Senior Inspector CAA UK .................

Let's be clear...
You are talking UK airspace factors, procedures, and practices...while others are referring to US airspace factors, procedures, and practices.  As noted previous, there is nothing that restricts manned flight below 400' in the US, except FAA regs that state otherwise as it is applicable.
Chest thumping aside, it is not unheard of for helos to be flying at low altitudes.  FAA rules require UAVs to give way to manned craft regardless of the place & altitude they are at.
2017-10-8
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Genghis9
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JMR58 Posted at 2017-10-8 11:35
Hey guys, love you all but over here, all classified drone pilots(and all others to) have to login to Belgocontrol website to obtain ALL information about the region they want to fly, before fligh untill the 300ft limit(with license).
Low helicopter flights are specified from GROUND to 2000ft, and they do it but they also respect timetables!
See  the map, isn't this a solution?

Not sure about all of Belgium's flight ops and procedures but in the US between LifeFlight, military, police, and even civilian helos under VFR by comparison it is wide open.  In other words, you could never get all those entities to adhere to any sort of schedule and flight routes due to the very nature of what a lot of them are doing.
2017-10-8
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solentlife
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Genghis9 Posted at 2017-10-8 12:58
Let's be clear...
You are talking UK airspace factors, procedures, and practices...while others are referring to US airspace factors, procedures, and practices.  As noted previous, there is nothing that restricts manned flight below 400' in the US, except FAA regs that state otherwise as it is applicable.
Chest thumping aside, it is not unheard of for helos to be flying at low altitudes.  FAA rules require UAVs to give way to manned craft regardless of the place & altitude they are at.

Hi G ... there's no chest thumping ... just remarking that Full Size has precedent over us .. whether US / UK / Africa wherever.

Nigel
2017-10-8
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solentlife
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JMR58 Posted at 2017-10-8 12:03
There is a BE- lobby working on EU law concerning Drone regulations.

In fact its an EU wide discussion group ..... we have LARPAS in Latvia (which I am a member of).

Nigel
2017-10-8
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William Yuandi
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wow... that insane man... you are so lucky!
2017-10-8
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JMR58
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Genghis9 Posted at 2017-10-8 13:03
Not sure about all of Belgium's flight ops and procedures but in the US between LifeFlight, military, police, and even civilian helos under VFR by comparison it is wide open.  In other words, you could never get all those entities to adhere to any sort of schedule and flight routes due to the very nature of what a lot of them are doing.

Sure you are right, Life Flights have priority and they can't be scheduled, but i don't think they fly below 300ft which is max altitude for drone flights.
So together with the updated low flight zones and schedules, and following drone regulations there is little chance to face helis...don't you think?
2017-10-9
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Genghis9
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JMR58 Posted at 2017-10-9 10:07
Sure you are right, Life Flights have priority and they can't be scheduled, but i don't think they fly below 300ft which is max altitude for drone flights.
So together with the updated low flight zones and schedules, and following drone regulations there is little chance to face helis...don't you think?

Your LifeFlight point is a good one, however, that only applies for transit not for approaching and or involved with the emergency.  Admittedly, will only be situationally dependent.  
Anything is possible, but I don't see it being that simple to add that level of structure to the process, as well as predictability.  
However, I do see this as being a possibility as drone commerce becomes more prevalent.  Helos may be restricted to at or above 500 AGL.
2017-10-9
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JMR58
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solentlife Posted at 2017-10-8 23:35
In fact its an EU wide discussion group ..... we have LARPAS in Latvia (which I am a member of).

Nigel

Yes sorry! that is what i meant to say..part of an EU wide discussion group!
2017-10-9
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Nigel_
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JMR58 Posted at 2017-10-9 10:07
Sure you are right, Life Flights have priority and they can't be scheduled, but i don't think they fly below 300ft which is max altitude for drone flights.
So together with the updated low flight zones and schedules, and following drone regulations there is little chance to face helis...don't you think?

I've often seen rescue helicopters pass by beneath me while I'm standing on the ground ;)

Only happens in hilly areas or near sea cliffs, but they certainly don't look at the same altimeter that we look at on our drones.

In the 1st post, the OP was flying at "not above 400'", the Phantom will drop from 400' to 4' in about 30 seconds.  For the helicopters to pass beneath the drone they must have got from out of sight and sound to under the drone in under 15 seconds, yet maximum speed for a helicopter is only around 180mph, typically they don't fly at more than 150mph.  You should only fly high in open areas where you can see nothing is coming from any direction, otherwise keep low so that you have time to give way to manned aircraft as required!
2017-10-9
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ALABAMA
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solentlife Posted at 2017-10-8 08:13
OK .... first .... lets ignore the BS replies.

" I rebooted the app, no luck. I booted up Litchi and it was still disconnected, but I could at least activate RTH." ..... that is the real item.

   " OK .... first .... lets ignore the BS replies  "


So, I guess everybody else on here is pretty stupid.  Time for a serious look in the mirror, I would say.
2017-10-9
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Genghis9
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-10-9 12:35
I've often seen rescue helicopters pass by beneath me while I'm standing on the ground ;)

Only happens in hilly areas or near sea cliffs, but they certainly don't look at the same altimeter that we look at on our drones.

I was gonna say you were either really tall or those helos were subterranean...
2017-10-9
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KrisMinnear
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What if drones were required to carry a transponder or beacon thingy that would broadcast GPS coordinates and altitude to manned aircraft.  If the big guys are wanting or needing to fly low and are worried about hitting us, then they can just install a receiver that will tell them where we are on a moving map or something.
2017-10-9
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solentlife
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JMR58 Posted at 2017-10-9 11:13
Yes sorry! that is what i meant to say..part of an EU wide discussion group!

No worries ...

At least the EU is listening to national bodies and its affiliated groups.

One of the most interesting points is the :

If a Club has reasonable rules, carries insurance - it can actually be excused the extreme limitations and rules....

At present we are trying to devise a set of rules to interest local flyers to form clubs and use our guidelines for that purpose. A hard job as most are not interested as they have been flying 'free' for years ! (Nore the rules are for all model flying here - not only multi-rotors).

Nigel
2017-10-10
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R&L Aerial
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You must be in a class D no-fly zone. These zones can be huge, I live in a class d zone and it’s because of a military base over 100 miles from my home..
2017-10-10
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solentlife
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ALABAMA Posted at 2017-10-9 13:19
" OK .... first .... lets ignore the BS replies  "

If you step back and read the rest of that post and UNDERSTAND its intent - then we are getting somewhere.

You may not like my post ... that's not my problem.

The guy was in a situation that he panicked and started swapping APP's .... not a very good thing to do.

Others started on the typical - What display are you using ?   So what difference does that make ?

For myself - I look at things I do ... errors I make ... in fact my Youtube channel was started specifically for that - SELF diagnosis of RC model crashes / set-ups and gear. I use the recordings as a tool to improve or find out why.

I don't need holier than thou comments.

Nigel
2017-10-10
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solentlife
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KrisMinnear Posted at 2017-10-9 23:21
What if drones were required to carry a transponder or beacon thingy that would broadcast GPS coordinates and altitude to manned aircraft.  If the big guys are wanting or needing to fly low and are worried about hitting us, then they can just install a receiver that will tell them where we are on a moving map or something.

WE are required to stay clear of THEM .... we can see them much easier than they can see us.

Imagine you are in your Jet Ranger ... on way to Trump Tower Helipad .... you are flying over an NFL stadium ... are you going to see that Phantom model ? Only when it hits you !

But I'm sure the Phantom pilot saw that Jet Ranger !

Yes - its a pain in the butt .... but reality is - Phantom can drop from the sky easier than the full size.

I flew on an RNAS Airfield with a UK model club. We shared airspace with Seaking Rescue guys. Simple - we dumped models if they took off. No discussion / no argument  ... if we didn't agree - we could not fly.
Today I fly with a club on a private airfield that we share with full size private. Its actually quite funny at times. A full size Cessna for example will sit waiting at end of taxiway for us to land before turning onto runway. It works other way as well ... we wait while the full size lands or take's off. All very civilized.



Nigel
2017-10-10
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MrRobert5823
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Wow!   RTH could have come down on top of the helicopter!  (shutters!)
2017-10-10
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MrRobert5823
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Genghis9 Posted at 2017-10-7 22:27
Unfortunately airspace use below 400 is not exclusive to UAVs, while I do see that as a possibility some day, but for now not so much.  You did the correct thing in trying to give way to manned aircraft, you are required to do so.  What is bothersome to me is that you were unable to completely clear the area due to loss of contact, that's a problem.  I'm not sure what the solution is either.  You were lucky that either helo didn't hit your craft, it would have been totaled and sadly they would likely have tried to blame/claim you were at fault.
Take care and fly on!

Scary.  I would be afraid that RTH would blindly crash into the helicopters.  What a mess!
2017-10-10
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