back to article Height of stupidity: Heathrow airliner buzzed by drone at 7,000ft

An airliner circling Heathrow narrowly missed colliding with a drone flying at 7,000 feet – while another aircraft approaching the London airport saw a drone hurtle past just 30 feet from its cockpit. The first near miss took place in mid-May when an Airbus A319 pilot flying to Heathrow saw a one metre-long drone, painted …

  1. Scott Broukell

    Sorry, but . . .

    Time to fit a tail gunner, waist gunners and auto-turrets, both above the cockpit and in the belly - any passengers (drawn out of the hat), who score a direct hit get to travel for free that day.

    On the other hand I suppose it would only encourage the stupid bastards into some sort of game/ war.

    Then again, what about jamming pods? - s'pose that would be a hindrance to some unsuspecting passer by on the ground when the shit-head's toy fell on him/her.

    Gggrrrrrrr, just gggrrrrrrrrrr . . . .

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

      Re: Sorry, but . . .

      That sounds tempting, but at close ranges you'd be changing the problem from a potential collision with a single drone-sized thing, to the problem of potentially colliding with one or more sub-drone-sized things.

      If you look at it purely in terms of odds of something hitting something else, the 'shooting at things' option looks less inviting.

      I'd quite like to see some sort of mechanism for forcing the drone to return to its operator's position, at high speed, and with extreme prejudice.

    2. BillG
      Happy

      Re: Sorry, but . . .

      One word: Phasers

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry, but . . .

      Jammers. Airliners should just have a "jam bubble" for WiFi when operating below a set height, maybe 10,000 feet or on approach/takeoff.

      1. Slartybardfast

        Re: Sorry, but . . .

        Yeah, I'm sure that the residents of certain London Boroughs would love to have their WiFi cut out each time a plane goes over.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sorry, but . . .

          Shaping the jamming beam to effectively confine it to the horizontal plane wouldn't be a problem, but simply jamming a drone doesn't really get you anywhere because it'll still be in the vicinity of the aircraft, but now under no control at all.

        2. John Lilburne

          Re: Sorry, but . . .

          "love to have their WiFi cut out each time a plane goes over."

          Its a small price to pay for noise, and polution.

    4. Christoph

      Re: Sorry, but . . .

      Override the controls, land it, fit it with a tracer, let it go again (or could you fire a tracer in a sticky package at it?).

      Probably not a good idea to fit it with a bomb that goes off when the engine is stopped and it's picked up.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Forget Robot Wars

        Time for Auntie Beeb to make this a game show - Drone Wars

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forget Robot Wars

          "Time for Auntie Beeb to make this a game show - Drone Wars"

          Airmageddon - CBBC

          Although not quite Robot Wars level of violence.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: Sorry, but . . .

      Why not shoot it with some kind of potato gun filled with extremely sticky, colored stuff ?

      It would stop the propellers from spinning and if you use the same ink that they use for money cartridges they can't get the color off, making identification of the perp easier...

      1. Gavin Chester

        Re: Sorry, but . . .

        So the propellers stop and gravity takes over, leading to a few KG of plastic and metal falling at 120 mph to the ground.

        May not be seen as a great idea by the folks are under the flight path.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: Sorry, but . . .

          Any drone capable of reaching those heights is either a remote controlled plane or has a fail safe RTB mode when it loses signal.

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Sorry, but . . .

          So the propellers stop and gravity takes over, leading to a few KG of plastic and metal falling at 120 mph to the ground.

          May not be seen as a great idea by the folks are under the flight path.

          The Merkins crash landed nearly 80 tonnes of Skylab into Australia without incident. What's a few kg compared to that?

          1. BernardL

            Re: Sorry, but . . .

            (Skylab) Unfortunately Hounslow is a lot more populated than Esperance.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    More plastic bags?

    Yeah, drones...

  3. Stevie

    Bah!

    Clarification please; These were fixed-wing drones as opposed to the helicopter sort?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      What caught my eye most was “a white, twin rotor drone pass by the right wingtip”. What's a twin rotor drone? A model helicopter? One which can fly to 7000' sounds like a very expensive bit of kit, not the sort of stuff bought by irresponsible idiots.

      1. Farnet

        Re: Bah!

        "What caught my eye most was “a white, twin rotor drone pass by the right wingtip”. What's a twin rotor drone? A model helicopter? One which can fly to 7000' sounds like a very expensive bit of kit, not the sort of stuff bought by irresponsible idiots."

        Exactly - I fly quadcopters and this is nothing like a DJI spec device, I have a professional quad and there is no way it could reach 2.1km up and get back safely with the best battery pack I have, and in any case the software to run it blocks you flying it near an airport or with regulated air space, it wont even allow you to take off, so it is either a fixed wing that someone has lost control of and has gone out of range, or... well to be honest I havent a clue as it does match anything I can think of.

        And as for taking idiot drone out, hitting it with something will cause more issues, and jamming the signal is just plain stupid cos it could in absolutely any direction at any speed.

  4. JimmyPage
    Flame

    Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

    one of these bastards gets sucked into the engine then we are looking at a catastrophe ?

    I despair of UK law sometimes - AFAIAC we start with 20 years in jail - I don't care if nobody was hurt, because the full phrase ends with "this time".

    Perhaps, instead of spunking millions on police action to catch name calling on Twitter, we could have some real protection from the police.

    Oh, and I will make a separate suggestion in another post which would instantly solve the issue.

    1. Brian Miller

      Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

      Yeah, drone + engine = horrific catastrophe.

      No explosives required, just some additional metal mass in the engine, and ... boom! Adding any kind of projectile weapon to the plane wouldn't do anything good. You also have to account for where those bullets land. However, the airplanes could be outfitted with emergency jamming devices to drop the drone out of the air.

      From what it sounds like, though, is that the pilots are not aware at all until it's way too late. You can't do anything when you see the drone within 100ft of the cockpit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

        More DM style hyperbole.

        All new Engine designs/planes are tested to prevent structural failure of the Engine encasement. Any new plane design has to survive a complete engine disintegration (whatever caused it) without puncturing the wing, fuel tanks. Planes are designed to be able to land on a single engine, if one fails.

        1. John 110
          Flame

          Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

          Yeah but the fact that I plane _might_ survive a drone strike doesn't mean that it's not incredibly stupid to precipitate one...

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Kumar2012

            Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

            "Maybe, maybe not. We might not know until one actually gets sucked into an engine, and then hour like hell it is hyperbole." --- actually we do know since most twin engine jets today are ETOPS rated, which means they are fully able to operate on only one engine.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

              "Maybe, maybe not. We might not know until one actually gets sucked into an engine, and then hour like hell it is hyperbole." --- actually we do know since most twin engine jets today are ETOPS rated, which means they are fully able to operate on only one engine.

              Which is utter bollocks insofar that that is NOT the point. With the above you imply that it's perfectly OK to fly a drone into a flight path of a plane because if it blows up an engine it can still land with the remaining one - which suggests that you at least accept that it can harm an engine, but that's somehow OK because flying your toy is more important than the lives of the people onboard.

              How about not creating the danger in the first place?

              People with such a minimal appreciation of the dangers they cause deserve to have the batteries of their drones inserted from the orifice from whence they talk, and then short circuited. After all, batteries have safety valves so it should be OK, no?

              1. Triggerfish

                Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

                "More DM style hyperbole."

                Look generally speaking on risk assessments, you tend to look at the potential impact of the problem, and figure out the chances of it happening and then work from there.

                Now it's fair enough planes are designed pretty robust, and yes the plane could land on one engine. Not being a pilot I can't say how much fun that would be when say flying into Manchester on a rainy shitty day with strong crosswinds, but I would have thought most pilots would consider engine loss at this point sub optimal.

                Now going back to potential impact, well thats about 70 tons of metal, fuel and of course a couple of hundred screaming people, plummeting to earth over a city.

                I would have to say as risk assessments go thats something to be avoided even if the chance is small, and if you can do so by the simple solution of banning people from flying their drones near aircraft (and possibly dislocating their twiddly thumbs when you find them doing so), then maybe thats a good solution.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

                  Ahh yes, lets jam birds wifi shall we.

                  Couple of things.

                  1. Jamming wifi does NOT affect quadcopters. They are pretty resistant to jamming, I know, I have the equipment to jam wifi and (at least) my quad remains unaffected. It WILL affect FPV flying, but the "regs" state you should not ever lose unaided eye contact.

                  2. Both of these sound like WAY more than blades, dji, walkera quadcopters. 7000 ft is over a fucking MILE and hobby gear doesn't work at that range. With a typical flight time of 5-10 mins and a range of 500-700 meters max transmission range (usa has higher power output than Europe) again, this seems to throw doubt that these were "hobby" quadcopters.

                  3. Where's the proof??? Hyperbole and speculation aside, no evidence video, etc is available.

                  Don't get me wrong, flying a hobby quad near an airport is a move of enormous fuckwitterdry but something doesn't add up here.

                  1. eric halfabe

                    Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

                    @cornz 1

                    Agree 100% including point 4.

                    Way out of the range of a hobbyist drone, these things must be bigger and have longer range than that. Engines are designed and built to handle the impact of flocks of birds so a small drone should be no problem. If these things have the range to get up to 7,000 feet then they are serious kit and it should be taken as an act of terrorism. Why aren't the police trying to track the powerful transmitters.

                    Seems strange that in all of these anecdotes I have read the plane is always coming into land. Surely if you really wanted to attack a plane you would do it during takeoff. The plane is going slower, the engines turning faster, losing an engine on takeoff probably would cause a crash while during landing probably not at all.

                    I call BS on these stories until I see actual proof. How mush would it cost to put a dashcam on a plane? Peanuts! Surprised they aren't required by law anyway.

                    1. nijam Silver badge

                      Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

                      @ Eric Halfabe

                      > I call BS on these stories until I see actual proof.

                      Obviously a drone being hit by an airline engine is a bad thing - but until we actually see the video, I think we can identify this drone as one of the notorious "Balpa Imaginary" models that cluster round airports.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      flock of birds, or single bird?

                      " Engines are designed and built to handle the impact of flocks of birds "

                      Citation welcome.

                      My understanding was that engines are designed and built to survive the impact of **a single bird**.

                      There's a potentially interesting movie coming out this autumn on what happens if an aircraft flies through a *flock* of birds at a critical time, though you'll find there are already plenty of words and pictures on the subject - Captain Sullenberger and his flight into a flock of birds and subsequent landing on the Hudson.

                      And if it's a flock of seagulls, you get this:

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFZHxlsAPjA

            2. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

              "actually we do know since most twin engine jets today are ETOPS rated, which means they are fully able to operate on only one engine."

              You might find that there is a big difference between a plane being able to continue to fly with only one operational engine...

              ...and a plane existing at all when...I guess the worst case scenario would be the drone to fly into the engine, with then explodes sending burning pieces of itself through the hull of the plane.

            3. Diogenes

              Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

              "Maybe, maybe not. We might not know until one actually gets sucked into an engine, and then hour like hell it is hyperbole." --- actually we do know since most twin engine jets today are ETOPS rated, which means they are fully able to operate on only one engine.

              Yeah & whilst the pilot & co pilot are distracted by all the flashing lights and machines that go 'ping' in cockpit as a result of said ETOPS rated engine failing spectacularly nothing else bad is going happen , if they misread the cause of failure, or they miss something else critical to flight ?

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

                They've been doing that in the simulator throughout their training.

                If they lose an engine, they will land the plane using the other one. IF the pilots can't take that in their stride then they go for retraining, and if they still can't do it after that they don't get to fly anymore.

                Absolutely 100% a quadcopter should never get near any aircraft, at the very least the cost of the damage will be millions if it is an ingestion. But its extremely unlikely that a DJI anything is going to bring down any commercial jet. A flock of birds can do it, or volcano dust, but one quadcopter is well within the spec of a safe flight.

                Now, what kind of drone was this, at 7000 feet? No ordinary hobby drone for sure. And an airliner at 7000 feet will have been a fair way from an airport, They are usually on the glideslope from 10 miles out at 2000 feet. Remember, when aircraft are close to airports, they are also close to the ground.

                Maybe pilot of sophisticated expensive drone wasn't expecting any aircraft nearby.

                If this even happened at all.

                1. Triggerfish

                  Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

                  I keep seeing it's unlikely it will bring down a aircraft, what is the acceptable risk factor for a passenger jet full of people?

                2. DocJames
                  Pint

                  Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

                  They've been doing that in the simulator throughout their training.

                  Oh yeah?

                  http://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2014/10/air-france-flight-447-crash

                  Icon for assisting boarding planes following the perusal of such articles.

                  1. werdsmith Silver badge

                    Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

                    Oh yeah,

                    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/27/us/southwest-emergency-landing-engine-trouble/

                    pilots have managed to crash planes all engines and systems active. These are ouliers, like Kegworth.

                3. 96percentchimp

                  Re: If they lose an engine, they will land the plane using the other one.

                  "IF the pilots can't take that in their stride then they go for retraining, and if they still can't do it after that they don't get to fly anymore."

                  I'm guessing that if they can't land on one engine then they won't be around for retraining. A no-fly ban would be a bit late as well.

                  1. werdsmith Silver badge

                    Re: If they lose an engine, they will land the plane using the other one.

                    I'm guessing that if they can't land on one engine then they won't be around for retraining. A no-fly ban would be a bit late as well.

                    Generally speaking, fatal accidents don't often happen in the simulators that I was talking about.

        3. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

          "More DM style hyperbole."

          Maybe, maybe not. We might not know until one actually gets sucked into an engine, and then hour like hell it is hyperbole.

          That said, I think we need a distinction between little domestic drones (such as mine) and this thing. I mean, jeez, I'm not sure my craft could manage a hundredth of that height. And flying using only the FPV camera is risky as there's a good half second or so lag. It's for fun, not stupidity...

          What I'm trying to say - not all drone owners are wankers and not all drones are capable of such activity.

        4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

          I would rather not need to rely on the design not having some unknown/untested flaw. And the best way to avoid this kind of accident is not have a drone anywhere near an aircraft. I have been around engineering enough to know there is often a scenario that was thought of during testing that will occur in real life.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

          All new Engine designs/planes are tested to prevent structural failure of the Engine encasement. Any new plane design has to survive a complete engine disintegration (whatever caused it) without puncturing the wing, fuel tanks. Planes are designed to be able to land on a single engine, if one fails.

          Oh, here we go again. It's all not a problem because doing something utterly stupid during the most critical part of a journey doesn't add any danger whatsoever.

          Well, let's take an example where you CAN get your head around then. You know that a car has two separate brake circuits, yes? When one circuit falls out, you still have two wheels that can brake (we're assuming for the moment that you still have engine support). Do you really think that your car will just slow down in the exact same manner as before - as if nothing's wrong at all? See that sudden traffic jam form in front of you? Think you can still go from 120 km/h to a standstill in exactly the same distance?

          It's exactly this "oh it can't harm because engines can take it anyway" stupidity that leads utter idiots to operate drones where it's really a bad idea, so I have a proposal:

          Let's round up a group of these twats and use them as test dummies. Let a remote guided plane with this f*ckwits land whilst someone flies a drone into an engine in the name of science - after all, it allegedly can't harm at all. It combines getting real data with disposing of some idiots that would not even be suitable for the B Ark.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

          "All new Engine designs/planes are tested to prevent structural failure of the Engine encasement."

          That's correct.

          Conveniently for engine manufacturers but inconveniently for the rest of us, a one off test for certification purposes plus any amount of CAD modelling does not reliably predict what will happen in a similar real life incident.

          "More DM style hyperbole."

          Not really.

          A wise man once said something like "I have proven this design correct, but I haven't tested it. Beware of errors." (Knuth, marginally paraphrased, I believe).

          QF32: real life uncontained failure, of a kind that certification allegedly showed had a negligible probability of happening.

          QF32: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qantas_Flight_32

          This reminder of the difference between theory and practice comes to you in the week that All Nippon Airways announce that all their Dreamliners will be re-engined, because of (presumably unpredicted) unsafe wear on the turbine blades (which had presumably been certified as OK for use on the aircraft and routes in question):

          http://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/ana-to-replace-all-rolls-royce-engines-on-its-50-boeing-787s/

          1. SkippyBing

            Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

            "All new Engine designs/planes are tested to prevent structural failure of the Engine encasement."

            Not strictly true, they're designed/tested to ensure failure of a fan or compressor blade won't escape the cowling. As I understand it that's not guaranteed with the turbine blades which are subject to a lot more stress at much higher temperatures. The only defence is that before hitting a turbine blade you have to get through the rest of the engine which birds tend not to do, don't know about drones though...

          2. cortland

            Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

            Heat accumulated during time on the ground without having the air-stream carry it away is a plausible cause for increased failures, on routes of mostly short-hop flights. especially if the engines are kept turning while loading and unloading passengers, baggage, and cargo.

      2. GBE

        Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

        "However, the airplanes could be outfitted with emergency jamming devices to drop the drone out of the air."

        What makes you think that jamming the control signal will cause it to "drop out of the air" rather than hover in place, or orbit at constant altitude, or fly slowly to some hard-wired home coordinates until a control signal has been re-acquired? Drones that are measured in meters and can make it to 7000ft don't just fall from the sky when they lose signal.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Am I wrong in thinking that if ..

          "Drones that are measured in meters and can make it to 7000ft don't just fall from the sky when they lose signal."

          And this is the major point to take from this story. This is not some kids just messing about, which is the scenario this and other report seem to imply, ie an extension of kids with laser pointers. This is a very expensive bit of pro level kit being used irresponsibly. Maybe some news organisation or aerial photography outfit being utterly unthinking fuckwits.

  5. Martin Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Cue loads of people saying...

    "...a drone can't damage an aircraft."

    Perhaps they might even be right. But the fact remains that it's still a stupid thing to do. If one person does it, and posts cool footage on YouTube, then next time it might be two; or three; or ten; or twenty; or fifty - and suddenly it is ridiculously dangerous.

    1. JimmyPage

      Re: Cue loads of people saying...

      I certainly wouldn't say that.

      Having seen what happens to a Rolls Royce Trent when a goose is fed into the intake, I cannot begin to imagine what something as unsquidgy as a drone would do.

      And as suggested previously, the worst case would be a fully laden 747/Airbus crashing into a densely populated suburb - even if it is just Hounslow.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        Re: Cue loads of people saying...

        The incidents so far been in relation to civil aircraft, but there are a good few places in the UK where military aircraft fly laden with live munitions, e.g. when on exercises to live fire / impact areas like Otterburn, etc.)

        Wonder how much damage would happen on the ground if a fully-laden Tornado came off worse after hitting drone?

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Cue loads of people saying...

          Nothing would happen, unless these bombs were really equipped with the goods and the safety were off.

          1. Christoph
            Mushroom

            Re: Cue loads of people saying...

            And hope like hell the safety devices work if it's someone that's carrying a physics package.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Cue loads of people saying...

            Nothing would happen, unless these bombs were really equipped with the goods and the safety were off.

            Unless there's an awful lot of helium involved I think you would have to cope with a ginormous hole in the ground. Gravity still sucks..

            1. lglethal Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Cue loads of people saying...

              Lets just say the word Li-Ion Battery. Not the most stable of things, tend to go boom even when in poor buggers pockets! Put that through an engine and see if the resulting debris strike produces the same sort of forces you would expect from a regular bird ingestion.

              But the fact of the matter is that whether a plane can survive flying on one engine or not is irrelevant. We are talking about the landing or taking off of an airliner carrying 200+ people. At that moment, suddenly you lose one engine - if you really dont think that is going to make the pilots day rather shit, then how about we shoot out one of your tires going down the autobahn at 120kmh? Its basically the same thing. Your car can still drive with a blown out tire. It wont handle the same and the forces on the car will act completely different, but you can handle it right? It's not going to completely throw out your handling and risk you running off the road, is it? Well guess what? It will have a much larger effect on an aircraft as suddenly you lose half your thrust, gain a f%&kload of drag (acting in totally unexpected and unforeseeable ways), forces will act in 3D not just 2D as on the road, and your still expected to hit the runway and keep 200+ people safe.

              Anyone who thinks the risk is understated, has never seen the raw data of a bird strike test. Believe me Engine's are designed to take a bird strike, NOT more then that, and a Drone is a hell of a lot more then a Bird in terms of damage!

              1. Richard Plinston

                Re: Cue loads of people saying...

                > Li-Ion Battery. Not the most stable of things, tend to go boom

                They may tend to catch fire but they don't explode. Inside an engine they would be no more explosive than the gallons of fuel being poured into it.

                > the same sort of forces you would expect from a regular bird ingestion.

                Birds are also mostly made from combustible materials (which is why we can use them as our fuel).

                > then how about we shoot out one of your tires going down the autobahn at 120kmh? Its basically the same thing.

                Not at all 'the same thing'.

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Cue loads of people saying...

          "Wonder how much damage would happen on the ground if a fully-laden Tornado came off worse after hitting drone?"

          Something pretty much like this, I guess.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Cue loads of people saying...

            Something pretty much like this, I guess.

            Hmm....

            When the number of cancer cases in the vicinity of the accident rose disproportionately in the years after, suspicion rose that the jet, contrary to US statements, may have been loaded with ammunition containing depleted uranium. In 2002, however, a test of soil samples from 250 meters around the crash site revealed no traces of depleted uranium. Another possible explanation for the increased cancer rate in the surroundings, which gained credibility because no uranium was found, is that the aircraft carried JP-8 fuel. This jet propellant is considered highly toxic and may have spread around the area of the crash.

            Well, I sure don't wanna work on a carrier.

            Anyway... about that case where the WHO insists that Iraqi Uranium Babies have actually nothing to do with Uranium in the environment....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: Cue loads of people saying...

        Having seen what happens to a Rolls Royce Trent when a goose is fed into the intake, I cannot begin to imagine what something as unsquidgy as a drone would do.

        Jet engines have armoured burst protection casings. They aren't there to retain bits of goose, but to retain bits of high speed nickel alloy compressor blades which are a much tougher proposition. What breaks the first blade is probably irrelevant to the outcome.

        1. Martin Taylor 1

          Re: Cue loads of people saying...

          Jet engines have armoured burst protection casings. They aren't there to retain bits of goose, but to retain bits of high speed nickel alloy compressor blades which are a much tougher proposition. What breaks the first blade is probably irrelevant to the outcome.

          And yet...

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbine_engine_failure#Notable_uncontained_engine_failure_incidents

      3. Eion MacDonald

        Re: Cue loads of people saying...

        I have seen what the keys in a fitter pockets can do , when he crossed in front of an air intake at a test bay for aero-engines. No engine and big and small jigsaw bits for assets. Wondrous thing - the chief test engineer almost throttled the fitter while asking him what he had put through 'my engine'. Nothing 'squiggy' or not should be allowed near an operational aircraft (aeroplane) engine.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: Cue loads of people saying...

          Really care to estimate how many pieces of a drone actually have the size durability, and density of a set of keys? Answer none.

          Can we stop the daily fail hysteria now - I thoughtt El Reg was read by critics also thinking engineer scientists and programmers.

          Most drones are likely to have the same impact as a bird strike - ie minor inconvenience to passengers and major inconvenience to the poor engineers who have to replace the engine.

          If you wimps really want to scare yourselves try googling lightening strike damage or drunken pilots.

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Cue loads of people saying...

            Gordon are you really that much of an arsehole to think that if a drone is composed of only weeny bits that won't bring down an airliner, then we shouldn't worry.

            As others have already remarked one of the drones was at 7000ft and at least a metre across, couldn't be anything remotely as dense as a bunch of keys in that eh?

            We can all do name calling so the 9th word of this comment should suit you.

            If you consider your statement that many here including myself are engineers, maybe you should stop and think a couple of these commentards might know what they are talking about.

            Harmless or not flying a drone near an aircraft is at minimum, fucking stupid and at worst potentially fatal.

          2. Haku

            Re: Cue loads of people saying...

            "Really care to estimate how many pieces of a drone actually have the size durability, and density of a set of keys? Answer none."

            Brushless motors are pretty tough.

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: Cue loads of people saying...

              Can we stop the daily fail hysteria now - I thoughtt El Reg was read by critics also thinking engineer scientists and programmers.

              There are a few videos of bird strikes totally trashing engines, I posted some on the last thread about this, one over Manchester and one on a testing rig.

              Also there has been no tests done, so your guessess are also not valid. I am working from what I have been taught as an engineer about turbines etc, and also admmittedly making a guess maybe a bit more of an educated one.

              But if the chance is small does not mean you should risk it, the one time it goes wrong is a big disaster. Odds may be small, but with the increase of incidents then the chances you hit the unlucky roll goes up, this is not some risk you piss around with when it can be avoided by making a few people act more responsibly with their toys.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cue loads of people saying...

        to the person that downvoted the post would you like to explain why?

        I've seen a plane crash right in front of me. It took the roof off a car and killed all the occupants. The driver's husband was in the control tower watching the aircraft that crashed take off. The HS125 hit a massive flock of birds just after lift off.

        It was not a pretty sight.

        Bringing down a Civil Airliner is no laughing matter. If it happens on the approach to Heathrow or just about any major Airport in Europe there will be many people on the ground killed.

        Are you one those very sad people who'd be there with their phone taking pictures and posting them on YouTube for your 5 nanoseconds of fame rather than helping the casualties?

      5. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Cue loads of people saying...

        Having seen what happens to a Rolls Royce Trent when a goose is fed into the intake, I cannot begin to imagine what something as unsquidgy as a drone would do.

        Geese are not squidgy. Several years ago, some geese decided to camp on the dam about 50 metres from where I type. I shot them with 22 longs hoping for a free feed. The bullets bounced off the geese, annoying them slightly, but they stuck around for 2 or 3 days until their owners turned up and captured them.

        1. Dr Dan Holdsworth
          WTF?

          Re: Cue loads of people saying...

          So why didn't you exploit the superlative accuracy of your 22 long rifle rounds and shoot the damn geese in the head, which is not at all armoured and the loss of which will render the goose unable to fly off?

          Even neck-shooting will disable birds nicely; there's no call to try for heart-lung shots when you can do much, much better with a little patience.

  6. JimmyPage
    Stop

    Easily solved ...

    pass a law (aren't we lucky we live in a country where we are constantly (and lately) told how parliament is supreme) which makes the manufacturers and sales agents responsible for any loss of life thanks to their drones.

    Not fair, nor proportionate, but you can bet your life all of a sudden these won't be available to Barry from accounts anymore.

    I'm not a big fan of the hysterical "something must be done" school of action. But in this case, the idea of a "Lockerbie plus" incident fills me with dread. Especially as the incident is most likely going to happen on ascent/descent - in other words over a heavily populated area.

    1. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: Easily solved ...

      So long as that law applies regardless of status, i.e. no one gets a free pass simply because they're operating a commercial or miltitary drone. As noted elsewhere, drones at 7000 feet aren't the garden-variety, consumer models.

    2. Haku

      Re: Easily solved ...

      Make drone manufacturers & sales agents responsible for end users mishaps?

      What?!

      Even if such an astoundingly absurd law were to be put into place, it would be absolutely and totally uninforceable due to the fact that you can (and many many people do) build a drone (fixed wing & multirotor) from individually bought parts, often driven by an open source flight controller, the likes of which has no sort of manufacturer enforced geofencing like DJI products to try and stop people flying near airports, or even limit the height to 400ft.

  7. Andrew Moore

    Operational distance...

    At 7,000ft up we are not talking toy shop drone- this was commercial or military.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Operational distance...

      That should reduce the number of likely suspects. If it was indeed the military, it never happened.

    2. Gordon861

      Re: Operational distance...

      Or home made.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Operational distance...

      More likely it was something else entirely - I seriously wonder how these people are "identifying" these things as drones given size of the object and the closing speed ... and in this case the distance from the ground (well over a mile).

    4. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Operational distance...

      That's always been a bit of a puzzle to me how people can fly drones so high and people in aircraft can identify what it is when they're passing within a few meters of it at 180 knots or more.

      My guess -- based on flying model sailplanes and being in full sized light planes is that high altitude drone sightings are probably debris rising on thermals. You cannot see a 3 meter wingspan plane comfortably over 300 meters (a few can, most can't) and a typical model radio won't control equipment at 7000' direct range so anything at that altitude is likely to be junk or an out of control model (thermals can grab models and lift them out of sight). When you're in even a small plane its easy to lose the feel for how fast you're actually going -- imagine trying to identify the markings on a cat that you've nearly run over while traveling at speed on a motorway (and then try to imagine doing this while traveling at two to three times that speed) and you get some idea of the problem.

      A more likely problem is some clown trying to get low level pictures of commercial planes that are landing or taking off (like the Flybe incident). Or getting pictures of a news incident which makes it difficult for fire or police aviation to operate safely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Operational distance...

        That's always been a bit of a puzzle to me how people can fly drones so high and people in aircraft can identify what it is when they're passing within a few meters of it at 180 knots or more.

        I think this partially depends on the direction of travel. If a drone is deliberately up there to film an aircraft, it seems logical to expect it to travel in the same direction which substantially lowers the relative speed of the drone to the observer. That said, it's still going to be quite a difference - are there any drones that can actually hit 180 knots horizontal?

        In any case, if it was a drone it should not be near there. It is entirely irrelevant if an engine can survive chewing up a drone - it's a risk that should not be there. It's idiotic for utter fools to undo decades of risk reduction where every little incident is taken apart to find ways to reduce risk by flying their toys near airports and flight paths. If people are so incapable of recognising the risks they cause they should barely be allowed to operate a spoon, let alone a drone.

    5. Midnight

      Re: Operational distance...

      Clearly it was aliens.

    6. Haku

      Re: Operational distance...

      Some out-of-the-box commercially bought quadcopters can reach a mile high, people have posted such videos on YouTube.

      With the right parts you can build a ~5kg 680 sized hexcopter with 45 minuttes flight time, easily enough to get to 7000 feet & return without crashing.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a model aircraft flyer I'm very concerned.

    I fly in a countryside environment (on a farmers field) away from pretty much everyone other than my fellow club members and the farmers house. There are a lot of rules already in place, both by the club and the CAA/BMFA and we do stick to them, we also carry insurance.

    These "merchant bankers" who buy a drone and fly it in such downright stupid ways are only going to create problems for us law abiding fliers, the nature of the devices means the pilot may be miles away. Given they are already breaking the laws (should stay in line of sight, under 400m, should not fly close to buildings, should not endanger any other aircraft) , I can't see how any more laws will make any difference.

    DJI are already starting to try and enforce safety, by making their drones have a GPS geofenced "no fly" zones near airports and sensitive places, unfortunately the only people who will respect this and not seek to override the setting are the already law abiding fliers, not will it help with the cheap Chinese makers who sell them so cheaply.

    I don't want models flying restricted more than it is, but I suspect it will be coming, as the actions of the few idiots are tarring the many safe fliers.

    1. Black Rat

      If the level of automation in these quadcopter drones was reduced so that it actually required some level of knowledge, skill & practice to actually fly one it should deter the less serious from taking to the skies.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      the nature of the devices means the pilot may be miles away

      Does that really work or you need a taxpayer-sourced satellite uplink for this?

    3. nijam Silver badge

      > As a model aircraft flyer I'm very concerned. ... I don't want models flying restricted more than it is, but I suspect it will be coming, as the actions of the few idiots are tarring the many safe fliers.

      Too bad. There's is little (no?) evidence supporting of any of these alleged incidents, which means (to me at least) that they are just fabrications to stir up public hysteria in support of new restrictions. I.E. the decision has already been made, just not implemented yet.

  9. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

    Genuine question

    Aside from the relative levels of responsibility about what they're doing, what is the difference between model aircraft flying and drone flying?

    1. Gavin Chester

      Re: Genuine question

      Technically nothing.

      Drones are classed as Multi-Rotor aircraft, effectively a sub class of model helicopters, and subject to the same rules as other model aircraft.

      There are additional rules if the drone has a camera fitted related to privacy. Recording images for your own use is fine, but any form of selling those images is not, as that then can be seen as a commercial operation not a hobby with different rules around it.

      The BMFA has lots more details but that's a summary for here..

  10. Luiz Abdala
    Windows

    How about enforcing transponder codes for drones?

    If you could adopt a transponder code specifically designed for drones - even if all of them use the same code - they could be easily spotted from any traffic control in the planet.

    It could be enforced based on weight or size, or any significant measure of hazard to any other aircraft. I am aware that they are sometimes small enough to be spotted in any radar, but it would be a start.

    At least the traffic avoidance collision gear already present in aircraft can spot them.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: How about enforcing transponder codes for drones?

      There are no mode-s transponders of a size suitable for mounting on large size model aircraft, let alone anything smaller. Even the ones designed for gliders are barely up for the job, are quite hefty and suck a lot of battery power.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're not drones - they're UFOs.

    The aliens have switched to using remotely operated air vehicles that just *look* like drones. For years pilots reported being buzzed by "strange lights", now they're being buzzed by "drones"?

    Sorry, I just don't believe it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They're not drones - they're UFOs.

      Imagine they start getting buzzed by strange lights AND drones ... while friendly people from the sandy lands demand entrance to the cockpit ...

  12. Spider

    as usual

    Issue being irresponsible and dangerous idiots.

    An incident will lead to nigh unworkable, badly written and widespread draconian law.

    Which will then be ignored by irresponsible and dangerous idiots leading to only responsible owners having perfectly legitimate hobby taken away..

    ...and the issue will remain.

    1. Hollerithevo

      Re: as usual

      Because nothing, not even laws, or consideration of the safety of others, or really anything, gets between a nerd, his toy and his freedom to fly it anywhere and take a peek into any cockpit. Because he is mighty!!!

  13. Gene Cash Silver badge
    FAIL

    I call bullshit

    Commercially available drones can't do 7K ft and airline pilots are already known to make this shit up. (e.g. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/28/heathrow_drone_strike/)

    They're not "one metre-long" either.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: I call bullshit

      They CAN be a metre long, but the craft spotted in the first tale WAS NOT A FUCKING DRONE! It was remotely piloted using FPV goggles as hinted at in the article. That makes it not a drone as it was in no way, shape or form operating autonomous. I can even believe this as FPV flyers have been known to cover quite large distances and reach pretty large altitudes.

      The second story I find utter bullshit. Because either it was a twin PROPELLER/ENGINE fixed wing craft or it was not a remotely piloted craft. A twin 'copter' craft of the size described simply doesn't have the battery power to get up to 2,300 meters. A twin engine model aircraft MIGHT be able to manage it, but then it should not be described as a drone by even the most braindead of investigator, reporter or pilot.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: I call bullshit

        They CAN be a metre long, but the craft spotted in the first tale WAS NOT A FUCKING DRONE! It was remotely piloted using FPV goggles as hinted at in the article.

        1) That is still a drone

        2) How do we ACTUALLY KNOW it was "remotely piloted using FPV goggles". Do we have Paranormal Seers on the plane?

        3) Does "remote piloting using FPV goggles" even work at serious distances? Freestyle radio links ain't magic...

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: I call bullshit

          The unofficial record for FPV distance is over 5 kilometers out (That distance over ground, not even altitude). 2 km up is EASILY doable with a decent FPV rig (Clear line of sight and all that)

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: I call bullshit

      Sorry to disappoint you, @Gene Cash, but you are *wrong*. Please inform yourself first before you spout off.

      The Aerial Technology Thor X4 is a 1000x1000mm drone... used for photo/videography. The SteadiDrone Vader X4 is around the same size and goes up to... 4,000m (FL130 in pilot speak). So yes, commercially available drones *DO* do 7K ft and *are* that size.

  14. Nyx

    The problem is...

    remote control model aircraft, especially helicopters, take skill to get off the ground and keep in the air. Drones don't. Anyone can fly them which means there is a larger pool of idiots that can get hold of them.

  15. Gordon861

    "While airliner cockpit windows and engines are routinely tested for resistance to bird strikes, drones are a much tougher proposition – especially at typical airliner holding speeds of 300 knots or more."

    Just out of interest, has anyone actually ran a test with a drone yet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just out of interest, has anyone actually ran a test with a drone yet?

      They don't have enough caught drone pilots to fill up the plane yet..

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Joke

        don't you mean....

        Fire the Drone pilots into Jet engines?

  16. Metrognome
    Boffin

    On a technical point....

    Commercial airliners are not at all likely to be holding at 300kts. This kind of speed would make the holding pattern extend way out and interfere with other airways. Furthermore, unless explicit authorisation is granted the blanket rule worldwide is 250kts or below at 10k feet and under.

    The most likely speed for holding is a healthy, economical, no flaps 220. Anything from 190-230 actually is the most common speed for holding.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Interesting to know, but I'm pretty sure that a collision at 200 knots will be only slightly less horrific than one at 300 knots.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Pint

        > ...only slightly less horrific...

        If the energy is important then the factor is 1.5^2 = 2.25, so you "slightly" is actually "more than twice the energy". I am not normally pedantic but this misconception bugs me a bit too often (usually with car drivers).

        Beer to make up for pedantry.

  17. technoise
    Linux

    Given that drones are small and slow moving, and commercial airliners are large and comparatively fast. I am surprised anyone in the plane could spot one, let alone accurately assess its size given the lack of comparative cues that might indicate scale.

  18. Peter Prof Fox

    April 1st?

    A speck that's visible for less than a second can be determined to be being flown with a particular mode of control? Really? These reports have zero credibility.

  19. SimonL

    Let's hope....

    ....that these morons flying where they should - regardless of what it is they are flying - DO post their ill-gotten gains to YouTube.

    At least then the Police stand half a chance at getting the b******s.

    1. The Axe

      Re: Let's hope....

      You mean the pilots of the civilian aircraft?

  20. nilfs2
    IT Angle

    "Stay away from aircrafts chip" mandatory on all drones

    Make the drone manufacturers install by law a mechanism on the drones to stay away from airports and planes, it could be as simple as a RF signal emitted by the planes and airports, that the drone can catch and override the stupid drone's operator commands.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Stay away from aircrafts chip" mandatory on all drones

      Make the drone manufacturers install by law a mechanism on the drones to stay away from airports and planes, it could be as simple as a RF signal emitted by the planes and airports, that the drone can catch and override the stupid drone's operator commands.

      You're hoping that nobody can sneak gear past customs or cannot mod it once it's here. Not going to happen, sorry. A restriction based on tech isn't one for the same reason as there is no such thing as idiot-proof - both are undone by smarter idiots.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did the pilots really see a drone

    Is it possible that the pilot mistook a large bird for a drone, especially when passing the "drone" at high speed. A goose is more than capable of getting to 7000ft. I'm not saying that the pilot didn't see a drone, but until I see hard evidence (such as a dashboard cam video - or proof of a drone causing damage) I'm not going to get in a panic.

    This reminds me of the time when it was not uncommon for sensible pilots to report seeing UFOs. Oddly now that there are more than a billon people with cameras on their phone, there still haven't been any credible pictures of a flying saucer.

    Maybe the pilots are fooling themselves into seeing other things as drones.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Did the pilots really see a drone

      One of them was green and purple, but at a metre long that would be one hell of a mallard rather than a goose.

      Green and purple are the battle colours of the Zargian Planetary Domination Force so it was probably an alien scout craft, time to start digging bunkers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Did the pilots really see a drone

        Not convinced that it wasn't a mallard. Judging the size of something with no nearby objects is not easy. If you've convinced yourself that the thing is a drone, making it 1m long is easy. BTW according to Wikipedia - List of birds by flight heights, mallards have been seen at 21000ft.

  22. Sitch

    Hmmm

    Never any video or photographic proof, these stories always rely on what the pilot saw.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      How come we don't have dash cams in planes these days?

  23. Rob Crawford

    Question

    Is the story a bigger load of crap than the comments being posted (I'm not sure)

    No doubt this won't be approved, but look at the statements made before unwrapping the pitchforks and lighting the torches

    The statements in the story smell of wee and I'm surprised that Saturdays episode of Causality wasn't mentioned as additional evidence.

    Firstly there are idiots with ready to fly machines that's why the DJI Phantom is known as The Phantom Menace within the flying community but anything at 7000 feet wasn't one of them.

    A twin bladed drone at 7000 feet, firstly that is called a helicopter or a plane in common parlance so No that's not something some moron bought in Maplin or online.

    To me that smells one of the following : Commercial, Military or Police.

    Commercial wouldn't risk their ability to make money and most commercial machines wouldn't stand a chance of getting that sort of altitude.

    Military is possible, particularly if they probably forgot to set the home point and it was trying to fly back to the US or Israel (ask the Irish army about that one and the second one as well)

    The Police are arrogant enough to fly anywhere they want and they have been spending a hell of a lot of money on UAV systems (see I know the lingo) but unlikely

    5 years ago a pilot would have said UFO, a strangely common occurrence and probably made slightly less common by pilots being breathalyzed upon landing.

    Any remotely operated vehicle is a drone (including your kids toy car) but as usual the Daily Fail would have you believe only drug smugglers, pedophiles, psychopaths and abortionists have such devil machines.but

    As an aside one commenter who said model planes and helis require skill and multirotors don't, well tell you what try a 250 racer in acro mode and see what you make of it.

    BTW stupidity is common everywhere I have had to call the cops about people flying both fixed wing models and kites less than 200 feet from the end of a UK airport, no doubt the story would have become satanic drone pilots as the other story would only have involved really stupid normal people

    BTW a LiPo fire in your pocket, car or ear would be an unpleasant experience, however the energy carried and heat generated is probably a gnats fart compared with the untold millions of Jules and hundreds of degrees C the jet engine is producing.

    No it wouldn't be good to bung anything into a jet engine, but a consumer grade machine is a plastic shell, (perhaps some glass bubble impregnated nylon), 4 small PCBs, a credit card sized computer, a few small motors and a soft(ish) battery pack.

    Not a good thing to be ingested, but I would be a damn sight more worried about the damage a flock of geese or seagulls would do.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Question

      only drug smugglers, pedophiles, psychopaths and abortionists

      You forgot Muslims (it used to be Pakis when I was a kid), or do they get automagically included with psychopaths? You also forgot the spooks, who if caught will claim to have been investigating the feasibility of unnamed foreign powers (The Evil Empire) to disable our aircraft.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Casualty

      The statements in the story smell of wee and I'm surprised that Saturdays episode of Causality wasn't mentioned as additional evidence.

      Comically the makers of this programme had a small boy fly a toy quadcopter up into a large hovering helicopter despite the rotor downwash that would have splatted the drone into the ground before it got within 10 metres.

      Some of these implausible drone encounter reports (remember the previous one that was proved false) risk crying wolf. Another one recently had a quadcopter flying alongside a passenger aircraft. Despite the enormous speed differential, they hystericals all believe it of course.

  24. JeffyPoooh
    Mushroom

    Theory A: Stupid people...

    Theory A: Stupid people. The most common assumption.

    Theory B: People intent on causing an impact. Call it 'terrorism' if you wish.

    Theory A is obviously far more likely, but you'd think that such people would at least be concerned about the cost of the drone. You'd think they'd at least not get that close, due to the risk of losing their expensive drone due to the impact. This is how most stupid people would think.

    Theory B is worth considering. ...Especially as how their aim is apparently improving.

    Time for some bespoke Radio DF equipment. It's a technical challenge, but I doubt the baddies are using 2.4 GHz wifi over 7000+ feet. The signal has to stand out. DF should be do-able with some effort.

    Good luck.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Theory A: Stupid people...

      > The signal has to stand out. DF should be do-able with some effort.

      Only if the particular frequency is known. Which of the several hundred signals of various frequencies will you focus on ?

  25. Andrew Jones 2

    I thought they were supposed to be using a GPS database to prevent drones from being able to fly in any areas that were on the database - is that a US only thing or has it just not reached the UK yet?

    1. Rob Crawford

      The vast majority of multorotors don't have any GPS capability.

      The vast majority of fixed wing and helicopter models also don't have GPS either

    2. Gavin Chester

      DJI devices have such a database tied to the GPS, and yes UK airports are in it. There is a however groups of "enthusiasts" who see it as getting in there way and did actively seek out lower software revisions without this database in it.

      One problem with this approach is that the no fly zones can be huge. The FAA in the US changed the one around Washington DC airport from 15km to 30km (and then later returned it to 15km). That will affect a lot of law abiding hobbyist fliers who were flying responsibly but then found they had a expensive paperweight through no fault of their own..

      For some zones there is the now the option (and you have to manually turn the option on each time) to allow the drone to fly within some of these zones. Remember there are legitimate commercial uses of drones, and some of the higher end DJI devices are aimed at professionals, who may well be filming with permission in what may be restricted space..

      Clones or self built devices on the other hands are a different story, they may not have the software installed, have obsolete databases with no update mechanism, or the owner has deliberately removed such restrictions.

      As I said before, the law abiding flier will find these tools and mode useful to help them stay within the law. The people who fly without regard to the laws will continue to do so.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      A plane at 7000 feet is not necessarily near an airport. At airports, planes are usually close to zero feet altitude.

  26. Ru'
    Trollface

    I love all the "think of the children" comments on these daily fail stories.

    Cue the downvotes, I can take it...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can smell BS at 7000ft

    I am more concerned at the quality of eyesight tests for pilots than the chance of an actual consumer/hobby drone encounter at 7000ft. Let alone keeping up with a sufficient percentage of the aircraft speed to register as anything beyond an indistinct blur.

    Anonymous because who wants to hear about drones not being dangerous.

    1. Toltec

      Re: I can smell BS at 7000ft

      I'm not into RC aircraft, however just reading the article made me wonder what ones exist that can 'buzz' a commercial jet. I've seen some videos of jet/ducted fan RC planes, but would anything that could be described as 'twin rotor' be able to outpace a jet?

      1. DocJames
        Mushroom

        Re: I can smell BS at 7000ft

        would anything that could be described as 'twin rotor' be able to outpace a jet?

        Not unless your "twin rotors" are actually rotary pumps feeding the RP-9 and LOX* into the combustion chamber.

        * other rocket fuels are available

        Obvious icon is obvious

  28. phuzz Silver badge

    Twin rotor drones

    from tfa: "a white, twin rotor drone"

    Fro a brief look, there doesn't seem to be many two rotor drones, so I assume they're not as easy to build/fly as a quad. Do any companies actually sell twin rotor drones that can actually go up that high, or are we looking for an other plastic bag?

  29. Joe Harrison

    why now?

    When I was a kid people used to fly RC model aeroplanes all the time. They had 5cc petrol engines and I'm pretty sure they were bigger and heavier than modern drones. So why is it only a problem now?

    1. JaitcH
      Unhappy

      Re: why now?

      Commercial pilots are trying to protect their turf and their jobs!

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: why now?

      Why now? Probably because those things were expensive and also the population:asshole ratio was better than it is now.

  30. Jake Maverick

    so why aren't the freedom fighters out there utilising this technology...?

  31. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Flying Liars? If Commercial Pilots Can Miss Seeing Small Passenger Aircraft, How Come ...

    they can spot these even smaller flying objects?

    I suggest some of these pilots suffer from more than extreme visual acuity, like wild imaginations.

    I was a technician with the Met Office years ago attached to one of their busier weather balloon launch sites. The radiosonde and battery weighed a pound (lb) or two and the balloons were a creamy white.

    No pilot ever complained about these aerial objects and they flew tens of thousands of feet in height.

  32. eric halfabe

    Reminds me of the ranting on here...

    about mobile phones on planes. The usual doommongers crawled out of their holes to explain how interference would cause a plane to crash. Well it didn't happen and now it is encouraged :)

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: Reminds me of the ranting on here...

      Y'know what I'd like to see?

      A film that shows just one day in the life of a world where all those "don't do this because it will cause $BAD_THINGS to happen!" regulations/rules which were put in place for no reason came to pass.

      You know, things like...

      No using cell phones in hospital,

      No using cell phones on planes,

      No using cell phones at the petrol pump,

      etc.

      Just, the kind of absolute carnage that would ensue if that kind of shit was real. Then utterly mock everyone who made those kinds of things.

      Y'know what I find most hilarious, is when old signage is just left in place, leading to signs depicting flip phones with big red, diagonally-crossed No circles around them, right next to the ones proudly proclaiming the free WiFi and depicting a smartphone.

  33. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    Show us the video evidence

    At 500 knots, I think even an experienced pilot would struggle to distinguish a drone from an errant Tesco carrier bag, unless the drone were flying in much the same direction at much the same speed (which seems unlikely).

  34. Triggerfish

    Drone heights

    So just some links

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/drones/a19854/drone-flown-11000-feet/ (NB says probably only 6500 feet)

    http://www.topdronesforsale.org/longest-flight-time-drones/

    Says DJI Phantom 3 can reach 6000m

    I believe some drones are also GPS controllable, which would negate issues with controller distance.

    In fact the first link says probably software was disabled that is in place to prevent drones reaching these heights, also there's lots of kits for some real beasts if you have a nose at forums, so maybe it's not that impossible to find a drone up there. The limit on the phantom 3 for example seems to be with loss of lift at above 6000m,

  35. Jonski
    Mushroom

    Etops

    What if the plane is already down to one engine when it ingests some f*ckwad's prized toy?

    Note: Drones and UAVs are cool. Flying them in restricted airspace is f*ckwad material of the highest order.

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: Etops

      What if your car's already had a normal blowout at autobahn speeds when some fuckwit who decides to teach you a lesson shoots out another tire?

      You might as well ask "what happens if people randomly show up for dinner and open the door you forgot to lock while you're cranking your hog in the living room."

  36. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Gavin Chester

      Re: We need:

      Same thing applies.

      Law abiding fliers will do so. The people who do this probably realised they are already breaking the laws they just won't bother.

      And much of the cheap Chinese clones makers won't care as long as they can keep selling things

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: We need:

        Yup the links above basically imply that these things are software limited on height because of things like FAA rules, its people disabling the software thats getting the heights from them.

    2. Richard Plinston

      Re: We need:

      > 1) Recall of *all* drones

      Of course that will work because all shops insist on collecting valid and true residential addresses for all sales of everything.

      > 2) Hardwired built-into-all-battery-packs failsafe altitude limit,

      We are not going to worry about people who live on hills. We set the the altitude limit to 500 feet above sea level and if your area is higher than that* you had better put wheels on your drones because they won't be going up.

      * or you are in a weather patten that is a 'low'**.

      ** If you don't know why that is then you shouldn't be commenting on things beyond your comprehension.

    3. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: We need:

      You FUCKING MORON, do you really think that any kind of software limitations is going to be hard to get around? And if you hardwire such nonsense into domestically-made batteries, I'm sure the battery manufacturers of countries WITHOUT such restrictions will be more than happy for the business you're pushing their way!

      You might as well put Phalanx CIWS emplacements with hypersensitive radars configured for automated anti-drone activation at the site of all major airports. That makes about as much sense, and would actually be efficacious at the task of keeping the airports free of these wildly unsubstantiated mythical drones.

  37. skies2006

    Directed EMP pulse or radio jammer that will take care of it. But on the other side one does not want a drone falling from 7000 feet on someones head or property.

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Mushroom

      And deploy chaff and flares!

      But don't interfere with the Amazon drone bring me my purchases...

  38. cortland

    Take off your eyeglasses, you!

    “The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions.”

  39. Stevelane

    Not jammers or missiles but transponders.

    I am a hobby flyer but these idiots put my activities at risk.

    I would suggest that any drone capable of flying at 500ft or more must carry identifying id on board electronically embedded on the control electronics in the event that it crashes. But it should also have an onboard transponder so that it can be identified in the air. Any drone operator flying in a negligent manner is liable to severe penalties but it is far too easy for the operator to escape without discovery at the moment.

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