Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > Flying Cameras

Flying Cameras
UAV, Helicam, and all other aerial videography topics.


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 18th, 2015, 07:20 AM   #1
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

Drones Delay Efforts to Fight North Fire in Southern California - ABC News

What ashame
Les Wilson is offline  
Old July 18th, 2015, 03:22 PM   #2
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: DFW area, TX
Posts: 6,108
Images: 1
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

The misleading headline is the real shame. When the entire story is read, a different picture emerges.
Greg Boston is offline  
Old July 18th, 2015, 09:09 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,206
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

I haven't been able to find the "different picture" and I did read the whole article. Could you elaborate?

The only picture I can come away with is that flying drones in or near an emergency area is stupid. I think the FAA has their head up their ... on this whole subject, but I also think anyone with common sense should use what's between their ears and not interfere or even potentially interfere with emergency crews.
Jim Andrada is offline  
Old July 18th, 2015, 11:53 PM   #4
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: DFW area, TX
Posts: 6,108
Images: 1
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

They were flying in an area they commonly fly in and when they were told they needed to land, they did so. Nobody was arrested because they were not doing anything illegal. As other UAV operators who live in the area tell it, the terrain is such that they may not have been aware that there was a fire unless the smoke was visible. Apparently, they were in an area that the firefighting aircraft needed to transit through.

Just didn't read to me like total idiocy as has been the case in other incidents.

The really chilling part is reading the comments under the article linked above. Lots of people out there seem to hate these aircraft enough to want to shoot them out of the sky.
Greg Boston is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 04:19 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

I know the area where that fire happened - no place anywhere close to "play" with anything - it's a long stretch of highway with a LONG distance between exits.... there is quite literally NOTHING anywhere near that stretch of highway!!! MAYBE the drones were flying near the place the firefighting aircraft needed to take off from, but that again would be one helluva dumb idea... "transit through"?!? Nope, again... the winds in that area can be brutal, that's one of the reasons the fire spread so quickly - no one was "playing with their toy", someone wanted 15 minutes of fame, and now has it, just not because they got some "kewl" footage.

Sorry, but as someone who has seen too many drone "disruptions" in these tinder dry California fires, I'd say "shoot 'em down" if they are in the emergency areas - there is no time to politely seek out the moron operator and say "pretty please could you land..." Shoot first, ask later, people could have died (early reports, thankfully erroneous, were that this was a "mass casualty incident") from any delay in firefighting, and there was enormous property damage and loss (people I know personally almost lost their home, their neighbors DID!! We have property in the path the fire was heading as well... so pardon me if I think very poorly of the bozos justifying playing with their toys!!!).

IF some "hobby drone" operator delayed emergency response as the firefighters are stating (and this is now happening at almost every "incident", supposedly 4 times THIS WEEK), they should find themselves liable for losses resulting from their "playing". If they are too STUPID to get out of the way of emergency responders, shoot their "toys" down, and arrest them. We have laws that you get the hell out of the way of oncoming emergency vehicles, there's absolutely NO difference here, "toys" or not!

I'm the first to say that drones have tremendous value and should be promoted with thoughtful use (including potential use by first responders in some cases), and with proper "pilots", they will become a valuable part of everyday life... but in the hands of some moron with a couple hundred bucks and no brains... well, think about it... they are endangering public safety, all so they can post some "kewl" video on YouTube!?!?

Yeah, as a tech guy who is normally pretty understanding, I was contemplating how hard it would be for LEO to simply blast these morons out of the sky...
Dave Blackhurst is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 12:20 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

5 years ago if you needed aerial photos/video, it cost (where I live) $1,400/hour to get it. Today, you can buy a quadcopter for $1,400 total and fly it for a thousand hours. IMHO, there are a lot of helicopter pilots who were living in big nice houses, owning luxury boats who have suddenly seen the bottom drop out of their income stream.

Helicopter pilots are a small group, often the same guy flies part time for the police department, part time giving coastal tours, couple times a year for the fire authority, and does some power pole scouting and aerial photo/video. This guy who is writing his congressperson to outlaw drones knows his voice will never be heard, but because in our country firefighters are "heroes", he knows if he sees a quadcopter and is then "forced to land", perhaps killing people and injuring property in the process, the international media will cover it (and it has). Further if he states he was "chased" by the drone.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I swat at a fly, and sometimes I miss. But when I walk away and the fly follows me, I don't consider myself to be chased.

Fact of the matter is that neither me, nor this guy, nor any of you know what happens when a 2lb plastic quad hits a 2,000lb helicopter pulling 2,000lb of water. Most places on the helicopter (everywhere except the rotor), probably nothing. The prop wash would probably do away with that drone before it hit anything anyhow. But in the very unlikely instance that it hit the tail rotor... Would it be cut into a million pieces, or would it crack the rotor and the heli would see an untimely landing? I wouldn't want to be in the bird that found out. But I'd be interested in seeing some research (real-world demonstrations) to experiment.

The quadcopter industry needs some regs. I think it'd be simple and cheap to build a general aviation radio into the whole kit, in fact I'm not convinced it couldn't be done with the phone/tablet you already have. (Certainly to RX the signal would be just a matter of having internet access.) It is NOT a requirement to have a radio to fly a GA plane, and while it might not be a requirement to fly a quadcopter, it would be a good idea for DJI and other smaller mfrs to build this into the app as an option.

If (as it appears) the 400' ceiling is going to be a thing, I can see only rare instance where hobbyist aircraft would interfere with manned aircraft anyhow.

Remember, they don't own the sky, they were just there first.
Mike Watson is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 01:46 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 953
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

@ Mike - When things hit your aircraft some serious *stuff* can happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Fact of the matter is that neither me, nor this guy, nor any of you know what happens when a 2lb plastic quad hits a 2,000lb helicopter pulling 2,000lb of water. Most places on the helicopter (everywhere except the rotor), probably nothing. The prop wash would probably do away with that drone before it hit anything anyhow. But in the very unlikely instance that it hit the tail rotor... Would it be cut into a million pieces, or would it crack the rotor and the heli would see an untimely landing? I wouldn't want to be in the bird that found out. But I'd be interested in seeing some research (real-world demonstrations) to experiment.
.
If you would like to participate in a test, what about if you drive your car down the highway while stand on the overpass and drop a 2 pound rock and see what happens when it hits your shatterproof windshield?

Do you think we really need to do some "real-world" demonstrations to see what will happen?

Okay, now take for example, a Cessna 172 - a popular 4-seater plane. It has a windshield that is 3/16ths of an inch thick (0.187"). Cruise speed over 140 mph. How would you like to be flying that when your 2-pound rock or 'plastic' drone hits the windshield?

Considering that the Cessna 172 is one of the slower planes out there (the 152 is just a trainer), hopefully now you might see why drones are a concern to pilots.

As for other stuff hitting a plane, just small nicks in the prop will cause the whole engine to shake and if they aren't taken care of the little nick can even cause a failure of the prop. Aircraft that take off from dirt strips are prone to getting nicks in the prop and they have to be properly taken care of.

The problem with flying where there are drowns is you can't see them until a millisecond before they hit you. It can be difficult to even spot another aircraft because you're moving, they're moving, and the ground is constantly changing. Trying to spot a gnat while flying - and the pilot has to be constantly looking all around, including paying attention to the instruments and radio traffic in the cockpit, and doing real-time navigation at the same time, it can be really busy! Trying to spot that little gnat - forget it. there's really no time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Don't get me wrong, sometimes I swat at a fly, and sometimes I miss. But when I walk away and the fly follows me, I don't consider myself to be chased.
What if it was a mosquito?
John Nantz is online now  
Old July 19th, 2015, 03:28 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

If the guy in the Cessna 172 owned the sky, well, we'd just outlaw drones, now wouldn't we?
Mike Watson is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 04:22 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

If the guy in the Cessna goes down on your house because he got hit by an arrogant hobby drone owner who thinks his "right" to airspace supersedes public safety, you won't mind that at all now, right?

There is such a thing as PUBLIC safety and PUBLIC good. There are rules for a reason - as I stated, if you drive, and an emergency vehicle is coming at you, YOU GET OUT OF THE WAY, or perhaps end up with an expensive ticket (sadly not often enough). Just because there's lots of "airspace" doesn't make it a "free for all" now available for everyone and their trained monkey to fly around in... at the expense of potential crashes and loss of life or property.

Before the guy goes up in the Cessna, he has a training process, then there's a pre-flight check, probably a flight plan... he does things to ensure safety of himself and others, as well as compliance with rules and regs... just because a drone plot needs nothing more than a credit card and no brains or training whatsoever doesn't establish any "right" to fly...

It's wonderful you can get a little toy for $1400 to take video with... now let's see that toy do a water or retardant drop over a rapidly spreading fire... or take a critically injured patient to a hospital to save their life... evacuate a stranded hiker... and so on... someone so silly as to say a little "toy" is more important than saving life or limb (while pooh poohing the actual pilots that risk their lives to save others?!) is illustrative of the problem, and why drones are not being as well accepted as they could be - bad citizenship is just that, nothing more or less...

Having watched a life flight heli "grounded" over a cardboard box (just some random street debris!) blown into it by another fire heli coming in for an evac, I'll trust that no pilot would ever want to hit or be hit by a "2 pound" toy... even you admit you'd not "man up" to be in the test craft, shouldn't that tell you something???

IF "drone people" continue to ignore the possible results of their actions, there will be more problems, and more calls to outlaw the use of an otherwise useful TOOL.
Dave Blackhurst is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 05:13 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

Seems you have your mind made up and aren't open to debate. In that case, I just wish you the best in the drive for regulation.
Mike Watson is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 05:34 PM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,430
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

Here's a report of a jacket that blew out of a helicopter's cockpit and hit the tail rotor, resulting in a crash. How big and heavy does an item need to be in order to bring down a helicopter?
Kathryn's Report: MD/Hughes 500D, PJ Helicopters, N516PJ: Accident occurred September 02, 2014 in Willows, California
Warren Kawamoto is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 06:05 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 953
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Seems you have your mind made up and aren't open to debate. In that case, I just wish you the best in the drive for regulation.
Debate ownership of airspace?

So, this guy goes out with his gun and shoots it toward the sky.

The drone guy found this guy with a smoking gun and says "Hey! Your bullet hit my drone and now it's ..... broken!" (or whatever)

Gun owner: "You don't own that airspace. And besides, I didn't even see that drone."
Or, "Prove that's my bullet. Can't find it, eh? Oh, that's too bad. I'm outa here. Let me know if you come up with any proof. And those injured people the drone fell on .... well, that's your problem."

Gun owner to self: Ummm.... maybe next time I'll take my scope off after I shoot. That could be incriminating.

P.S. Edit: The 172 windshield, 3/16" thick, it's only made of plastic. Not exactly the most robust material.

Last edited by John Nantz; July 19th, 2015 at 06:09 PM. Reason: added the P.S.
John Nantz is online now  
Old July 19th, 2015, 06:17 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 46
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

Sorry, but to me all the talk of the UAV pilots flying in their regular area and not being aware of a fire, just smacks of someone trying to rationalize their actions. Everyone in this forum knows fully well they were flying over the fire zone, trying to get great footage. Firefighting aircraft do not transit at or below 400 feet. They transit way above that. For one thing, there is little room for error, but in actual fact, the fuel burn goes WAY up and the turbulence can be enough to knock a pilot unconscious.

(Yes, a pipeline patrol aircraft once crashed because the pilot hit their head against the cockpit roof with the turbulence at low altitude.)

Pilots can not see radio-control aircraft, but the operators can surely see and hear full-size aircraft from a great distance. This means it is INCUMBENT upon the "drone" operator to land IMMEDIATELY, not to try for more dramatic footage. We all know why they were there; they can rationalize all they want, but they don't fool us. They were flying over and near an active fire zone.

I once had a bird strike shatter a new windshield on a brand new 172 that i was taking up for a test flight. It had less than 8 hours on the clock and the windshield blew into my face at 200 feet.

This is not a life-threatening situation because the aircraft is still airworthy. But I was blinded by the air blast, and I needed to get back on the ground RIGHT NOW. Thankfully, on day one of my flight training, I still remember my instructor telling me that, "The three most useless things in the world are runway behind you; altitude above you, and fuel back in the fuel truck." I never forgot that lesson. While taxiing out to the middle of a 12,000 foot runway, the tower offered, as usual, takeoff from the intersection. I would have 6000 glorious feet of runway, in an aircraft that could lift off in less than 800 feet.

I turned it down.

I always turned down intersection takeoffs, no matter what I was flying, how much it would create problems for the tower or how long I would have to wait to backtrack the active.

Just after rotation and climb out, my world disappeared into a haze of shattered plexi, blood and feathers. I chopped, the power, announced "Landing" and touched down with 1000 feet to spare.

That was a 2-pound bird.

To this day, when I am flying commercial, I still admire the pilots who swing wide to take the last 5 feet of runway, and who always straighten the nose wheel before powering on the power. Some days, you just might need that last 5 feet.
Dave Brown is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 07:17 PM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,699
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
They were flying in an area they commonly fly in and when they were told they needed to land, they did so. Nobody was arrested because they were not doing anything illegal. As other UAV operators who live in the area tell it, the terrain is such that they may not have been aware that there was a fire unless the smoke was visible.
So - we're expected to believe FIVE drones "just happened" to be flying in an area "they commonly fly in" when a major fire was taking place, and "may not have been aware that there was a fire unless the smoke was visible"!!!?!

Errr, just look at the photos in that link. Look at the plumes of smoke. And with houses and cars being set alight, wouldn't there have been a lot of emergency service activity for miles around? Yet all five operators were unaware....?

Come on, pull the other one. Is it not far more likely they were simply trying to get the best footage they could, either for sale or simply because they thought it would be fun.

As for "who owns the sky anyway?" then ask what you'd think if it was your house that was threatened? Would anybody really think a drone filming the scene had as equal right to airspace as aircraft on emergency measures?

As for them "landing when told to do so", then they shouldn't need to have been told! And the very act of finding the operators and telling them to land must have caused at least some delay - surely not what's required when fire fighting?

As for whether a 2lb lump of plastic will cause any damage if hit by a plane..... I remember my car windscreen being hit by a small plastic object (I think it was a cigarette lighter) with a speed of about 50mph. If 2lbs hits a propeller or windscreen at several times that speed, expect damage!
David Heath is offline  
Old July 19th, 2015, 07:31 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: New York City
Posts: 317
Re: Drones delay Firefighter response in CA fire

I'd have zero tolerance in a case like this because few idiots with drones want to run and upload for free regardless of the consequences. More fire the better , if they die because the rescue is delayed then even better images to upload for free.

the other idiotic trend is the cell phones: you are at a concert and the moment they start performing you have a wall of cell phones and you can't see anything anymore.
Back to the drones : I'd give to the Judge more discretion : if the offender is an idiot then increase the sentence exponentially to scare the other idiots. It's the only way.
Anthony Lelli is offline  
Closed Thread

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > Flying Cameras

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:46 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network