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-   -   Drone operator convicted for grounding fire fighting helicopters (https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/605607-drone-operator-convicted-grounding-fire-fighting-helicopters.html)

BigMike 19th Feb 2018 00:38

Drone operator convicted for grounding fire fighting helicopters
 
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/cri...h-island-blaze

"At an earlier hearing, Riquelme Cruz made an application to receive a discharge without conviction and in his submissions to the court on Friday, he believed the offending was at a low level and a conviction would have an immediate impact on his travel plans.

However, Judge Saunders disagreed.

"I do not accept that this is low-level offending; to the contrary, I characterise it as at least moderately serious," she said.

"You deliberately flew a drone in an area where you knew that there was fire and you knew there were very serious airborne attempts to put out that fire. The purpose of you flying that drone was to take personal photographs.

"Fifty metres is not a long distance at all and that meant that you did put the helicopter pilots at genuine risk of a catastrophic collision."



He thought he was going to get away with it...

Lantern10 19th Feb 2018 01:42

Well done that judge. About time we saw convictions for this.

T28B 19th Feb 2018 01:50

/not as a mod

Is there a collection via paypal or some other electronic means where one may contribute a few monetary units on behalf of the judge's next pint, or fifty? One asks on behalf of all fellow PPRuNers and Rotorheads denizens who may feel as one does in this case.

One can only respond, otherwise, as follows: :D :ok:

chopjock 19th Feb 2018 09:53

I wonder if the firefighting helicopters would have been grounded if an average size bird was seen flying in the area?

Bell_ringer 19th Feb 2018 10:29

If it was a > 2kg bird made from composites and hard metallic parts then probably.

Fareastdriver 19th Feb 2018 12:02


if an average size bird was seen flying in the area
They're sensible enough not to be flying around the scene of a fire.

tistisnot 19th Feb 2018 18:04

Except for upside down birds .....


:rolleyes:

BigMike 19th Feb 2018 20:19

I think you will find the birds are feeding on creatures running from the fire front...
I have never encountered any more birds while flying fires, than any other time.
Would you be happy to continue flight operations if a drone was being flown close to you? If not, why make the comment? Are you a pilot?

chopjock 19th Feb 2018 20:41


Would you be happy to continue flight operations if a drone was being flown close to you? If not, why make the comment? Are you a pilot?
Not sure who you are asking the question to...
Is the drone flying close to the helicopter or is the helicopter flying close to the drone?
Would it make any difference if you flew into a bird or a small drone I wonder?

I fly both and see two sides of the coin. I am sensible enough to keep out of the way of other aircraft when flying a drone and would land right away as soon as I heard an aircraft coming my way, I can not account though for over reacting third parties that would let a fire burn uncontrolled and ground all operations just because they saw a small drone!

Fareastdriver 19th Feb 2018 20:55


The purpose of you flying that drone was to take personal photographs
Possibly to sell to the local TV news channel.

Heliringer 19th Feb 2018 21:03

Flying on fires can be pretty full on. There are normally lots of other aircraft. Helicopters and Fixed wing assets laying down suppression. There are other machines controlling this suppression and maybe gathering intel and plotting the movement of the fire. There are also many people on the ground fighting the fire.
Here in Australia we set up temporary zones around the fire as the Fire authorities don't want anyone not involved in the effort in there as it is busy enough keeping a good lookout when you know what is there.
When a drone is spotted, the Air Attack supervisor will make the call to to send aircraft out of the area because the last thing they want is an aircraft damaged or brought down in the fire zone.

Fire suppression pilots don't want to be hit by anything if flying low level, operating near smoke over burning trees and bush. Even "A small Drone"

chopjock 19th Feb 2018 21:31

Heliringer

Fire suppression pilots don't want to be hit by anything if flying low level, operating near smoke over burning trees and bush. Even "A small Drone"
They don't want to be hit by birds either, but would operations be grounded if birds were spotted?
So what's the difference?

ricksheli 19th Feb 2018 21:57


Originally Posted by chopjock (Post 10058526)
Heliringer


They don't want to be hit by birds either, but would operations be grounded if birds were spotted?
So what's the difference?

Birds in my experience are dam good at getting out of the way, D*ck heads with drones, I think not!

chopjock 19th Feb 2018 22:28

https://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/28/most...faa-warns.html

And there are a lot more birds in the sky than drones!

Heliringer 19th Feb 2018 23:13

Chopjock.

We canít control birds but we can reduce the risk of drones by educating people not to fly in our Fire Areas during active operations.

The birds tend to stick ahead of the fire chasing small insects and wildlife.
You sort of have an idea where they are.
Drone operators will be filming the action and probably getting in the way.

Youíve not been involved with aerial fire fighting?

RVDT 20th Feb 2018 03:48


They don't want to be hit by birds either, but would operations be grounded if birds were spotted?
So what's the difference?
Easy - the bird has a higher IQ than the drone operator?
And also the bird may have some inkling of self preservation along with the helicopter crew whereas the drone operator has none?

chopjock,

Would you fly your drone in the area if each helicopter had a guy in the back with the door open and armed with a 12 gauge just to even the odds?

John Eacott 20th Feb 2018 09:49

If there were no control of drones intruding on bushfire ops how many drones would constitute a hazard, chopjock?

One?

Three?

A dozen?

How would you control such an intrusion? Why do you think that drones are forbidden to be flown near airfields if they are only (according to you) the equivalent of a bird flying around?

I've dealt with birds up to eagle size on NSW fires and they are predictable and manageable. A drone being controlled by a human with random and erratic flight paths is both difficult to predict and almost impossible to manage in the intense operations within a bushfire and is a definite hazard which deserves to be banned from such an environment.

Jaair 20th Feb 2018 10:16


Originally Posted by chopjock (Post 10058466)
Not sure who you are asking the question to...
Would it make any difference if you flew into a bird or a small drone I wonder?

Yes, a bird is composed of 70% water. A drone has hard materials such as lithium batteries, motor, metallic parts, etc. I'd much rather face the bird.

Actually a recent study showed how a drone as light as 300g can cause some pretty bad damage to a jet engine.

chopjock 20th Feb 2018 10:19

John,

If there were no control of drones intruding on bushfire ops how many drones would constitute a hazard, chopjock?
I'm not saying don't control drones on bush fire opps, I'm suggesting that grounding operations and letting the fire burn uncontrolled just because a drone was "seen" is over reacting. By all means necessary enforce the rules, but put the dam fire out.

chopjock 20th Feb 2018 10:23

Jaair

Actually a recent study showed how a drone as light as 300g can cause some pretty bad damage to a jet engine.
Not very relevant to slow moving helicopters though...


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