STATEN ISLAND, NY – When Jeff Barrett took his Phantom 4 drone out over Staten Island back in September, the last thing he expected was trouble from a Blackhawk. But that is the story he received from the folks at the NTSB who explained to him that his drone had collided with the Army helicopter. Barrett figured his drone just malfunctioned after losing contact, but was relieved to find the real story. As he puts it, “I”m just glad that somebody finally told me what happened to my drone. Now I now who is responsible for my favorite toy.”
Barrett is no amateur when it comes to drones. “I”m a seasoned pilot and have taken all the training offered by DJI. I’m also very familiar with the DJI Go App and know I can rely on it for airspace awareness.”
Barrett is quick to point out that he was following all the regulations. “I had visual contact of my drone through the DJI Go App and camera. I could see everything within a 15 degree field of view – even at 2 miles away. The copter must have just snuck up on me, almost like it was trying to hit me!” he exclaimed. “I even had some lights on the drone since it was night time. Like, how could the heli pilot possibly not see me?”
Barrett also points out some alleged violations by the Blackhawk. “The helicopter should have known better than to fly in a Temporary Flight Restriction area – that could mean something important is happening in the airspace and it could be dangerous to fly. If he hadn’t been flying there, none of this would’ve happened. I can’t even think of a reason a helicopter would need to fly that low anyway. He really should get some more training.”
Barrett is now reviewing legal options against the helicopter pilot for damages of his drone. “That drone cost over a $1000, somebody has to pay. Plus, this sends a strong message that copters should be mindful of drones, especially when flying at that range.”
The NTSB could not be reached for comment, but some experts have serious concerns about the statements from the drone pilot.