Back in September 2017 a DJI drone collided with a US Army helicopter in one of the many inadvertent drone/aircraft meetings that occurred that year – the exception with this incident being it was with a military aircraft.
Cue the wheels of bureaucracy and now, months later, we finally get an official report on the collision from the US government’s National Transportation and Safety Bureau (NTSB).
The collision occurred near Brooklyn, New York City when a recreational drone pilot’s device hit a US Army Black Hawk helicopter in the area, resulting in a one and a half inch dent to one of the aircraft’s main rotor blades.
Drone pilot Vyacheslav Tantashov flew his DJI drone to a height of 280 feet into the air to photograph aerial views of New York City.
Tantashov piloted the drone 2.5 miles away from its origination point and then initiated a protocol that would fly the drone back home. His drone never returned and he went home after waiting for it. The drone never made it home because of it met a US Black Hawk helicopter along the way and ended up in the ocean.
The US government tracked down the drone pilot using a piece of the drone that was lodged in the wing. This piece bore a serial number that DJI used to help the government find Tantashov.
The NTSB reports states that the helicopter was flying at a low altitude of 300 feet and could not avoid colliding with the drone even after evasive maneuvers were undertaken.
The report goes on the include that Tantashov was using the DJI GO 4 app which was unable to identify the temporary airspace restriction.
The NTSB faulted the pilot for flying his drone outside of his line of sight and further for his “incomplete knowledge of the regulations and safe operating practices.”