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Close call with an Inspire Drone from manned airplane.

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Feb 13, 2016
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Hi All,

I've been flying manned airplanes quite a bit since August and have discovered that it's best not to mention anything to do with drones to other pilots. Most manned airplane pilots literally hate drones.
I overheard another pilot talking about flying his drone and he was bashed for it.
Seems unfair but most of it comes from ignorance, however, some of it comes from claimed close calls with drones in "Their Airspace", in that case I can't help but to understand their issue with drones if it were true.
I kind of shrugged it off until this week while coming in on final approach for runway 10 at 9A9 (Shiflet Field), it's a grass strip with high terrain in all quadrants, you are literally within 200' of the terrain while on downwind, base and final (at several points) with a 600' a minute descent (required since the pattern should be a little tighter than normal), there's no way to establish anything less than a 10:1 glide ratio for that runway, it requires a 4:1 glide ratio for runway 28 to clear trees at the ends of the runway, fortunately the strip is 3300 ft with a fairly smooth grass so there's plenty of room to land long as long as you use a short field approach procedure and of course that depends on the weight of aircraft you're flying, an LSA would have no problem but I was flying a Cessna 182 Skylane.
On final approach I found myself close enough to a drone to determine that it was an Inspire, I was gliding at about 67 knots (Vref) since I wasn't near maximum gross weight.
The Inspire was just below my left wing and couldn't have been more than 6 or 8 feet from the end of the wing.
We suspected that the operator was flying from a small campground just across the Catawba river from the threshold of the runway.
We sent Law enforcement over there to try to determine who it was but the campground manager said that the guy who was flying it had just left and wasn't registered there as a camper. We can only assume that he came in just to get footage of an airplane coming in for a landing.
It was close enough to the campground that I'm sure he heard us talking about it with raised voices so he bolted out of there.
They did get a description of the car he was driving but no license number and they claimed they didn't know who he was and had never seen him before.

I know that most all of you wouldn't do such a thing and that most all of you follow the rules and are safety minded but to those who think you can do whatever you want since you own it, PLEASE don't fly in manned aircraft's airspace!!!! It could easily cause people to lose their lives.
Fortunately I didn't let it rattle me during my landing and kept I flying the plane to get it landed safely but afterwards, I was very upset!

Please remember that there are lives at stake when you fly near manned aircraft (near airports or out somewhere at altitudes where manned aircraft are allowed to fly). It's true that some manned aircraft fly lower than they should and that's dangerous but please be aware enough to make sure you keep it in sight and avoid manned aircraft at all costs!

Not trying to start any debates or trouble, just trying to do my part to keep drones from getting a bad rap from the few who don't respect the rules or manned aircraft and their pilots.

Thanks,

Joe
 
Hi All,

I've been flying manned airplanes quite a bit since August and have discovered that it's best not to mention anything to do with drones to other pilots. Most manned airplane pilots literally hate drones.
I overheard another pilot talking about flying his drone and he was bashed for it.
Seems unfair but most of it comes from ignorance, however, some of it comes from claimed close calls with drones in "Their Airspace", in that case I can't help but to understand their issue with drones if it were true.
I kind of shrugged it off until this week while coming in on final approach for runway 10 at 9A9 (Shiflet Field), it's a grass strip with high terrain in all quadrants, you are literally within 200' of the terrain while on downwind, base and final (at several points) with a 600' a minute descent (required since the pattern should be a little tighter than normal), there's no way to establish anything less than a 10:1 glide ratio for that runway, it requires a 4:1 glide ratio for runway 28 to clear trees at the ends of the runway, fortunately the strip is 3300 ft with a fairly smooth grass so there's plenty of room to land long as long as you use a short field approach procedure and of course that depends on the weight of aircraft you're flying, an LSA would have no problem but I was flying a Cessna 182 Skylane.
On final approach I found myself close enough to a drone to determine that it was an Inspire, I was gliding at about 67 knots (Vref) since I wasn't near maximum gross weight.
The Inspire was just below my left wing and couldn't have been more than 6 or 8 feet from the end of the wing.
We suspected that the operator was flying from a small campground just across the Catawba river from the threshold of the runway.
We sent Law enforcement over there to try to determine who it was but the campground manager said that the guy who was flying it had just left and wasn't registered there as a camper. We can only assume that he came in just to get footage of an airplane coming in for a landing.
It was close enough to the campground that I'm sure he heard us talking about it with raised voices so he bolted out of there.
They did get a description of the car he was driving but no license number and they claimed they didn't know who he was and had never seen him before.

I know that most all of you wouldn't do such a thing and that most all of you follow the rules and are safety minded but to those who think you can do whatever you want since you own it, PLEASE don't fly in manned aircraft's airspace!!!! It could easily cause people to lose their lives.
Fortunately I didn't let it rattle me during my landing and kept I flying the plane to get it landed safely but afterwards, I was very upset!

Please remember that there are lives at stake when you fly near manned aircraft (near airports or out somewhere at altitudes where manned aircraft are allowed to fly). It's true that some manned aircraft fly lower than they should and that's dangerous but please be aware enough to make sure you keep it in sight and avoid manned aircraft at all costs!

Not trying to start any debates or trouble, just trying to do my part to keep drones from getting a bad rap from the few who don't respect the rules or manned aircraft and their pilots.

Thanks,

Joe
Thanks for posting this and glad everything worked out safely.

The utter stupidity of some of the human race never fails to astound me and unfortunately for some reason the ownership of a UAV seems to attract a proportion of the 'diluted gene pool' as evidenced by your close encounter
 
Good report Joe, I take reports of drone sighting with more than a grain of salt, but I sense no BS in your report.

And, as E said, it never fails to amaze at the level of stupidity too many people exhibit and do so proudly.


Brian
 
It's going to happen at some point and there's no way to stop it. The genie is out of the bottle. Like murder, all you can do is enforce harsh penalties on the guilty parties.
 
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Reactions: Jason1234
Hi All,

I've been flying manned airplanes quite a bit since August and have discovered that it's best not to mention anything to do with drones to other pilots. Most manned airplane pilots literally hate drones.
I overheard another pilot talking about flying his drone and he was bashed for it.
Seems unfair but most of it comes from ignorance, however, some of it comes from claimed close calls with drones in "Their Airspace", in that case I can't help but to understand their issue with drones if it were true.
I kind of shrugged it off until this week while coming in on final approach for runway 10 at 9A9 (Shiflet Field), it's a grass strip with high terrain in all quadrants, you are literally within 200' of the terrain while on downwind, base and final (at several points) with a 600' a minute descent (required since the pattern should be a little tighter than normal), there's no way to establish anything less than a 10:1 glide ratio for that runway, it requires a 4:1 glide ratio for runway 28 to clear trees at the ends of the runway, fortunately the strip is 3300 ft with a fairly smooth grass so there's plenty of room to land long as long as you use a short field approach procedure and of course that depends on the weight of aircraft you're flying, an LSA would have no problem but I was flying a Cessna 182 Skylane.
On final approach I found myself close enough to a drone to determine that it was an Inspire, I was gliding at about 67 knots (Vref) since I wasn't near maximum gross weight.
The Inspire was just below my left wing and couldn't have been more than 6 or 8 feet from the end of the wing.
We suspected that the operator was flying from a small campground just across the Catawba river from the threshold of the runway.
We sent Law enforcement over there to try to determine who it was but the campground manager said that the guy who was flying it had just left and wasn't registered there as a camper. We can only assume that he came in just to get footage of an airplane coming in for a landing.
It was close enough to the campground that I'm sure he heard us talking about it with raised voices so he bolted out of there.
They did get a description of the car he was driving but no license number and they claimed they didn't know who he was and had never seen him before.

I know that most all of you wouldn't do such a thing and that most all of you follow the rules and are safety minded but to those who think you can do whatever you want since you own it, PLEASE don't fly in manned aircraft's airspace!!!! It could easily cause people to lose their lives.
Fortunately I didn't let it rattle me during my landing and kept I flying the plane to get it landed safely but afterwards, I was very upset!

Please remember that there are lives at stake when you fly near manned aircraft (near airports or out somewhere at altitudes where manned aircraft are allowed to fly). It's true that some manned aircraft fly lower than they should and that's dangerous but please be aware enough to make sure you keep it in sight and avoid manned aircraft at all costs!

Not trying to start any debates or trouble, just trying to do my part to keep drones from getting a bad rap from the few who don't respect the rules or manned aircraft and their pilots.

Thanks,

Joe

Did you report it to the FSDO as opposed to LLEO? This qualifies as an "incident". Now, a Cessna 182 vs an Inspire, the Cessna's generally going to "win" in the Yugo VS. Mack Truck sense, but if he took out a control surface you could definitely be in an emergency. A 67 kt strike on a fully charged TB48 5700mAh battery? I wouldn't want to be riding on that plane, let alone flying it. Glad it worked out OK, but people need to quit being idiots, lest they ruin it for the rest of us.

Cheers
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jason1234
Hi All,

I've been flying manned airplanes quite a bit since August and have discovered that it's best not to mention anything to do with drones to other pilots. Most manned airplane pilots literally hate drones.
I overheard another pilot talking about flying his drone and he was bashed for it.

Joe

Wow, I can only imagine your initial reaction when you saw it that close to your wing! The idiots are definitely out there.
I know fully what you mean by the bashing. I fly helos for a living along with fixed wing aircraft on occasion. I sure got an earful from fellow pilots when I started flying UAS a couple of years ago! Most are cool with it now though, and many have asked questions, especially with 107 coming online. Education goes both ways.

I have yet to see a drone while flying. All things considered in the airspace of today, I stay at or above 1000' AGL for the most part.
60
 
Easy Peasy equates to flying at a local AMA field. Not really acceptable.

And that's the attitude that causes problems. If you want to fly outside of an AMA field, get a 107 or 333. No reason not to, unless you're planning to break regulations. Simple.

I get someone may feel rebellious and that rules shouldn't apply to them, but the actions of those people have a large number of downstream consequences that affect many people. If they want be rebellious, great, in the US there are countless ways to do it safely.
 
We live on the Lake Michigan shoreline near Holland, Mi. Our deck is rough 65' above water level. We have had A10 Wart Hogs fly the shoreline and we could look down on the top of their wings! Lots of private aircraft and what I assume to be corporate jets enjoying the view at under 100ft above the water. I fly the Inspire 1 and Phantom 4 along the shore and seldom above 100' and within LOS but who then is in whos airspace? Kind of hard to take evasive action when a fighter is approaching at 300+ MPH
 
We live on the Lake Michigan shoreline near Holland, Mi. Our deck is rough 65' above water level. We have had A10 Wart Hogs fly the shoreline and we could look down on the top of their wings! Lots of private aircraft and what I assume to be corporate jets enjoying the view at under 100ft above the water. I fly the Inspire 1 and Phantom 4 along the shore and seldom above 100' and within LOS but who then is in whos airspace? Kind of hard to take evasive action when a fighter is approaching at 300+ MPH
Then you need Tail numbers and footage!, Pilots of manned aircraft breaking the rules should be punished just like drone pilots breaking the rules should be punished...
 
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We live on the Lake Michigan shoreline near Holland, Mi. Our deck is rough 65' above water level. We have had A10 Wart Hogs fly the shoreline and we could look down on the top of their wings! Lots of private aircraft and what I assume to be corporate jets enjoying the view at under 100ft above the water. I fly the Inspire 1 and Phantom 4 along the shore and seldom above 100' and within LOS but who then is in whos airspace? Kind of hard to take evasive action when a fighter is approaching at 300+ MPH

First im jealous. Love the A10. Secondly, I doubt your drone would scratch the paint on one. Thirdly, look up a VFR sectional chart and it will tell you exactly who's airspace it is. If it's a MOA or Restricted, there will be a phone number to call the controlling authority and find out when the area is being used.
 
I've had what I presume were GhostHawk prototypes buzz bombing my house on my lake at night, nap-of-the-earth mountain flying style before (think 2002, right after 9/11). I think they were using my house for targeting practice ;) It's rare but sometimes aircraft show up unannounced, not sqwuaking any ADS-B. Just had a helo come and buzz my neighborhood at like 150 feet AGL (if even that) that freaked out my entire neighborhood. This was during civil twilight, about a month ago. It was not a medivac, it was a sightseer, flying very unsafely. Regrettably I couldn't get a tail number -- he was moving too fast. Point is, although the rules are there and fairly sensible (mostly) that doesn't mean everyone follows them, to include manned aircraft pilots.
 
I was out at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge just about a year ago and I'd just returned to camp some 5 miles west of the refuge, along the Pony Express Overland Stage Trail road (dirt), and just at sunset I see one then a second FB-111 scream past at about 500AGL -- maybe even less. I didn't have my Inspire 1 Pro at the time and the place where I was staying is right at the boundary of the Dugway Proving Grounds so I don't know that I would have been able to fly even if I had it, but if I had there is ZERO chance I'd have been able to react quickly enough to avoid an impact if it were flying my way. Hell, at the speed they were going the plane was past me before I heard anything.

At the point I saw them they were travelling at a heading of about 230 degrees and when they crossed the road, which marks the boundary, they were still screaming along at, ballpark, 550mph and at 500 feet or less. Now, by my understanding that's breaking the law, but as a former USAF person myself it was freaking cool seeing them scream by.


Brian
 

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