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Drone near miss

Old 9th Dec 2016, 15:48
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Not another per se, this one happened in August. The report says this one was encountered at 11,000ft. Isn't that stretching things a bit for the radio downlink?
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 15:56
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The video may be recorded on board. The uplink is more important, but quite feasible over an unobstructed path depending on the system used and ground antenna gain.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 16:15
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KelvinD View Post
Not another per se, this one happened in August. The report says this one was encountered at 11,000ft.
Swiss A320 HB-JLT operating LX338 (SWR26H) from Zurich (LSZH) at FL115 turning outbound in the Biggin hold, 1805Z on Thursday August 4th, Airprox Category: A

LX328 Flightpath from Heathrow WebTrak
UK Airprox Board Report 2016161
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 16:39
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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"The plane was flying at 11,000ft when the drone was spotted passing the right wing "very quickly" by the first officer on 4 August."

11,000ft? Coincidence?..

Drone Breaks Record (And the Law) By Flying to 11,000 Feet

A European drone hobbyist has apparently flown a DJI Phantom 2 to a record 11,000 feet up. It takes about three-and-a-half minutes to reach that altitude, and once the drone gets up there, the operator has to race the aircraft back to the surface before the remaining 27% of battery life runs out, making it just in time with 4% left, according to the video.
This is almost certainly the record for the highest anyone has flown a commercial drone.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 17:40
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At least you won't encounter a flock of 'em

Fake news is much more interesting than boring old reality, and riles up the masses into grabbing their pitch-forks and torches and taking action. Poking their own eyes out with the pitch-forks sometimes, at the political level.

The drone that climbed to 11,000 ft. cost the owner well over $1000 (see amazon.com, e.g.) so he likely wanted it back. As the article pointed out he landed very low on fuel. Anecdotally, these things become incipient scrap if the propellers stop turning at some height. So your chances of encountering one near that altitude are zip.

Without spending all the energy climbing, drones like this one advertise 25 minutes' duration. Buyers typically complain that they only get 15 minutes at legal altitudes, but that may be to the 'return to base' warning. I don't know how much of that 15 minutes would be consumed by a climb to 3,000 or 5,000 ft.

The company mentioned has something of a reputation of its drones going rogue, disappearing out of sight and out of control despite the owner having acted responsibly (self-reported, of course). That might suggest a need for stronger incentives for the manufacturer to design so that can't happen.

Meanwhile, how real is the danger to large aircraft? [That's a question, not my opinion that they're not a danger]. They're neither pizzas nor frozen turkeys but (presumably, I have no knowledge) four quite small electric motors each driving a (certainly, from anecdotes) very fragile plastic prop; a battery that seems fairly substantial (from pictures of the spares on offer) but probably under 1kg (easy to check), some very light and small electronics, and just enough structure to hold it all together. Plus a camera and gimbal assembly, I'd imagine Go-pro-ish.

So what happens when you do encounter a frozen pizza in cruise? Less likely since airlines have cut back on catering and frown on pax throwing stuff overboard in any case, but once in a while an airplane sheds parts - engine or other - unplanned. Boeing/Airbus/FAA et al might have studied the problem and perhaps someone with that knowledge might offer it up. Might be a crisis that merits "a war on...", might be as uninteresting (from an aversion-planning pov) as two engines failing mid-Atlantic.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 20:17
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11,000ft? Coincidence?..
Yes. The drone in the video was flown from Hellevoetsluis in Holland.
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Old 9th Dec 2016, 20:56
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Time to start firing a few representative drones through some jet engines, along with the water, ice, and bird ingestion tests. My money is on geese still doing the most damage.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 05:56
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If an airliner were to hit a drone and sustain "Minor cosmetic damage", the costs could be quite high.
Lets say it hit the leading edge of a wing.
The aircraft would require inspection to assess the damage. If it was a dent more than about 1mm deep or a scratch then NDT testing would be required to ensure there was no crack. This could take several hours, so loss of service for the airline.
If the dent was more significant then a leading edge change may be required taking a lot more time.
The cost in insurance terms could easily be $100,000 to $500,000.
If it involved an engine then we are talking several millions.
So when this happens, who is going to pay?
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 07:49
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Sallyann: The reason I mentioned the downlink is that if this fails, the operator won't get the data from the drone relating to speed, altitude, heading etc. The video bit is irrelevant.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 09:33
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KelvinD
You are correct. But with the limited flight time of these devices they are restricted to a quick up and down from extreme height with no opportunity for further navigation or flight data. After the loss of either up or downlink control the internal GPS will control a return to the base coordinates.
The Dutch example shows simply downward camera shots.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 11:18
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7_ulHS...feature=share#

Liz Truss has the answer, this advice could be used for aviation!

Is there any wonder we're having problems
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 11:59
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The point I was trying to (poorly) make was I don't believe the drones are nearly as much as a threat to life if you will as the media loves to say they are. It is still going to be an inconvenience and potentially very pricey.. just not fatal.
Ok that's your opinion but you can't say there's no risk of a fatality until either someone is prepared to sacrifice an engine and perhaps a windscreen to do lab tests or we start gathering real world evidence from drone strikes on critical portions of an airframe.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 16:00
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Lets take a Phantom 4 'drone' or UAV. (or even call it a remote piloted aircraft RPA). The battery life is approximately 25 minutes give or take, depending on weather/wind, and battery conditions. The DJI RPA's have what is called 'Return to home' which will return it to the take-off point or 'home point location' if signal is lost (ie transmitter fails, connection is lost with the controller or the battery reaches a pre-set level). The RPA weighs in the region of 1.3kg, being generally plastic in nature except for the battery and the very small electric motors.
To climb to 11'000 feet is perfectly achievable. The problem is it quickly becomes invisible to the naked eye. The operator certainly cant fly a 30mph RPA at or toward an airliner as a) they'd need to have superpowers of sight (even with a 'first person view' system utilised)
b) there is no way at that distance it could be flown 'at' an airliner doing what? 200mph? It would be a stroke of luck to get close to one unless you went out with the intent of only flying where you knew aircraft were going to be, within your time scale of battery life, and even then its a big old sky up there. How two pilots in an airliner, preparing for a descent etc, are looking out of the window at that exact point, running through checklists, frequency changes, and generally just doing what pilots do, i'm amazed they even see anything outside, unless of course airline pilots spend their entire flight looking out of the cockpit windows???
Remember we are talking about a very small 'drone' (I hate that name) and it will be virtually standing still at that level or at the very least being blown off course due to the fact it cant do more than 40mph in sport mode. (arent the wnds aloft higher than that? )
I fly professionally and tend to be low level most of the time <3000' and relatively slow, and have never seen an RPA in flight yet. Oh and I have an RPA permit from the UK CAA, so I believe I do talk with some sense regarding the subject.

So far, there has been no reported instance of a drone definitely hitting an aircraft. Reports yes, proof no. Now since 1990 there have been nearly 200 plane-turtle strikes. (ok thats in the USA) but even so, there are probably more aircraft over there ( and obviously more kamikaze turtles).

As a responsible RPA operator and professional pilot, I honestly believe this whole thing is being slightly over-hyped. As I said above, the winds alone would mean the RPA would be struggling unless at 11000' the wind was less than 40mph? Not likely. The drain on the battery would be exceptionally high just trying to maintain position, even if it were possible. I certainly don't condone the use of RPA's outside of the 'Drone Code' limits of 400' high and 500m, and generally, the educated in the drone community won't either. Unfortunately there will always be those who think its big and clever to see how far they can go. Whether its distance or height, and I know of distances of 8 miles being reached by a phantom 4, and also heights in excess of 3000'. 11000' might be pushing it.

In future, when a drone is reported as being 'flown' in the vicinity of an airliner, check the winds at that height, if its more than about 25-35kts, the RPA is very unlikely to be under anyones control, (it just isnt possible to control it when the wind exceeds the RPA capability) and will be drifting downwind, albeit trying to fight its way back to where it should be, and in the process using batteries at max rate.

Oh and someone above mentioned gliders. I've had more near misses with them than anything else. !!!

Last edited by helimutt; 10th Dec 2016 at 16:12.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 17:00
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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In the unlikely event of engine ingestion. What effect would a battery have going through that sort of enviroment?
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 18:41
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In the unlikely event of engine ingestion. What effect would a battery have going through that sort of enviroment?
Probably a bent blade or two and maybe a compressor stall. Chances are the engine would still produce power but vibration could be an issue.
Still going to be expensive.
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Old 11th Dec 2016, 08:49
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Good discussion with a specialist here: What Might Happen If an Airliner Hit a Small Drone? - IEEE Spectrum

To summarise, the engine's power setting is the critical factor. At low power a drone could probably be ingested without much problem. Batteries are hard, but so is ice. There's a greater risk at high power, but drones tend not to fly in flocks so the risk of a Sully Sullenberger-type incident is almost nil.
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Old 11th Dec 2016, 10:04
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Very interestng discissuion , Thanks Helimut and Oblivia , I learned something .

Now in the discussions we had in my area (ATC) some years ago , the biggest threat was identified in the "professional" UAVs in the 1,5 to 25 Kg category. Not the small " recreational " ones. There are 20+ Kg UAVs flying out there outside of many regulations.
One example given was that of the Spanish Electricity Provider ( REE) who utilizes UAVs to monitor their power lines. long before the Spanish authorities , and EASA, had published any rules on how to operate them.
A collision with those will put down an helicopter , a GA aircrfat or even a Canadair anti fire bomber operating at the same altitudes as those UAVs.
TV stations ( especially those reporting sports event) are also starting to use large UAVs, and mixing them with ( e.g police or from other TV stations ) helicopters was also identified as a serious issue.
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Old 11th Dec 2016, 11:40
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Originally Posted by oblivia View Post
Good discussion with a specialist here: What Might Happen If an Airliner Hit a Small Drone? - IEEE Spectrum

To summarise, the engine's power setting is the critical factor. At low power a drone could probably be ingested without much problem. Batteries are hard, but so is ice. There's a greater risk at high power, but drones tend not to fly in flocks so the risk of a Sully Sullenberger-type incident is almost nil.
Hmmm. Misleading title:

What Might Happen If an Airliner Hit a Small Drone?
Ten paragraphs discussing the effect of an engine ingesting a drone and then a throwaway comment at the end:

Id be more concerned about [a drone] hitting the windscreen
Me too.
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Old 12th Dec 2016, 10:07
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CAA propose to increase fees for UAV permit issue by 128%

(to improve service? this I have to see)
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Old 12th Dec 2016, 21:56
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Originally Posted by helimutt View Post
Lets take a Phantom 4 'drone' or UAV.

To climb to 11'000 feet is perfectly achievable.
I own and fly a P4 as a hobby in Colorado US.

11K feet is not possible unless you started out at ~9,400 ft above sea level. Obviously doable where I live but not in the UK for example. Out of the box DGI sets AGL (above ground level) at 120 M (~400 feet the limit for recreational UAW use in the US and UK). It simply won't let you fly higher. You can set the AGL limit to 500M (~1,600 ft) which is valid for flying up a mountain while maintaining 400 ft AGL. Sure that also means you can fly to 1,600 AGL anywhere and break the rules/law but that's it, they won't go higher than 1,600 feet from take off point. I leave mine at 120M unless I'm in the hills.

I have read 100s of forum/redit/twiter/facebook posts from folks asking how to hack the 500M limit and it's simple not possible, no one has managed to hack the firmware since these were introduced (March 2016). There was a bug in the Phantom 3s (fixed years ago), you could fly to 500M, reset the home point and fly up another 500M, rinse and repeat.

The home point coords for RTH are set via the internal GPS but the AGL is monitored by barometer only. Personally I think the AGL limit is hardware set in the barometer but I'm not sure 100% and DGI keep this info provate.

Anyhow most drone owners are responsible granted some are not or ignorant. P4s were about $1500 and just dropped in price to $1100, the new P4Pro is about $1500, in 6 months time the P5 will cost about $1500 and the P4Pro will drop. You get the picture, crashing your new $1,500 toy is no fun and difficult to explain to the wife unit

Last edited by codroneowner; 13th Dec 2016 at 16:40. Reason: Typos
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