FINAL UPDATE: DJI P4P/Helicopter Near Miss

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Hi Everybody,

This is the final instalment to my story involving my Phantom 4 Pro and a very near miss with a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter.
Just some quick background for those who may not be familiar with the incident:

August 3,2019

My drone business was hired to shoot video at an outdoor special event that was attended by about 700 people. It was a fund raiser in support of a university scholarship fund.
At approximately 3:15 pm, I was overhead the event operating at 270 feet while taking still images.
My business partner was acting as my spotter for the flight. He called out to me, warning of a low flying helicopter suddenly appearing over nearby trees!

With seconds to react, I quickly determined that based on the track of the Jet Ranger, it was more than likely to pass underneath my Phantom.
I had decided to remain hovering in place at 270 feet.

The Jet Ranger passed underneath my Phantom by about 80 feet. It returned for a second pass over the crowd;however, this time, it passed over my Phantom.

Throughout all this, I was hovering in place at 270 feet.

After its second pass, the Jet Ranger flew off heading off due South.
I was shocked at what had just happened and how things could have turned into a disaster.
My partner and I immediately notified Transport Canada and they commenced a full investigation involving us being interviewed by investigators who met us at the site of the incident several days afterward.

We gave investigators a full description of the helicopter although(in the intensity of the moment) we were not able to note the Jet Ranger's registration number.
We are Transport Canada Advanced Drone Pilots and fully complied with everything Transport Canada needed us to do in the aftermath.

WHAT HAPPENED?

11 months after this serious near miss situation, Transport Canada emailed our business thanking us for our professional actions. Unbelievably, they then told us that after a full investigation they were unable to find out who owned the helicopter involved or who was flying it at the time. :(
Transport Canada went on to say that radar records were not helpful in determining who owned the helicopter.

Here, in New Brunswick, Canada, there are very few privately owned Jet Rangers..........it cannot be difficult to find out who owns and was operating it at the time of this near miss.

Transport Canada seems willing to close the file on this case.

When I was interviewed by investigators, they told me it was very clear the helicopter pilot hadn't seen my Phantom when they flew over the crowd. But, the investigator told me that if the Phantom had hit the helicopter's windscreen or tail rotor, given the low operating altitude involved, there would have been only seconds for the pilot to react before the pilot lost control and likely would have crashed.

At this point, I feel I have fulfilled my professional responsibilities but I come away from all this very disappointed in what happened here.
Transport Canada should not have had much trouble finding out the operator of this helicopter.

I told investigators during my interview this was a somewhat unusual case........
Usually all we hear about is some irresponsible drone pilot doing something stupid and coming near manned aircraft.

It was the opposite here.

I had secured a Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate(SFOC) for the airspace surrounding this fund raising event and any aircraft pilot should have seen my SFOC if they had read the Transport Canada Notice to Airmen ( NOTAMS ) in place for that day.

CONCLUSION HERE:

I fulfilled my obligations and I am very grateful this situation ended without tragedy.
I am disappointed that Transport Canada did not put the same degree of effort into this investigation as I'm sure they would have IF it was my Phantom that had been at fault.

I just wanted to let everyone on this forum know how this case turned out.

Thanks
 
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Well done Partner
Hi Everybody,

This is the final instalment to my story involving my Phantom 4 Pro and a very near miss with a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter.
Just some quick background for those who may not be familiar with the incident:

August 3,2019

My drone business was hired to shoot video at an outdoor special event that was attended by about 700 people. It was a fund raiser in support of a university scholarship fund.
At approximately 3:15 pm, I was overhead the event operating at 270 feet while taking still images.
My business partner was acting as my spotter for the flight. He called out to me, warning of a low flying helicopter suddenly appearing over nearby trees!

With seconds to react, I quickly determined that based on the track of the Jet Ranger, it was more than likely to pass underneath my Phantom.
I had decided to remain hovering in place at 270 feet.

The Jet Ranger passed underneath my Phantom by about 80 feet. It returned for a second pass over the crowd;however, this time, it passed over my Phantom.

Throughout all this, I was hovering in place at 270 feet.

After its second pass, the Jet Ranger flew off heading off due South.
I was shocked at what had just happened and how things could have turned into a disaster.
My partner and I immediately notified Transport Canada and they commenced a full investigation involving us being interviewed by investigators who met us at the site of the incident several days afterward.

We gave investigators a full description of the helicopter although(in the intensity of the moment) we were not able to note the Jet Ranger's registration number.
We are Transport Canada Advanced Drone Pilots and fully complied with everything Transport Canada needed us to do in the aftermath.

WHAT HAPPENED?

11 months after this serious near miss situation, Transport Canada emailed our business thanking us for our professional actions. Unbelievably, they then told us that after a full investigation they were unable to find out who owned the helicopter involved or who was flying it at the time. :(
Transport Canada went on to say that radar records were not helpful in determining who owned the helicopter.

Here, in New Brunswick, Canada, there are very few privately owned Jet Rangers..........it cannot be difficult to find out who owns and was operating it at the time of this near miss.

Transport Canada seems willing to close the file on this case.

When I was interviewed by investigators, they told me it was very clear the helicopter pilot hadn't seen my Phantom when they flew over the crowd. But, the investigator told me that if the Phantom had hit the helicopter's windscreen or tail rotor, given the low operating altitude involved, there would have been only seconds for the pilot to react before the pilot lost control and likely would have crashed.

At this point, I feel I have fulfilled my professional responsibilities but I come away from all this very disappointed in what happened here.
Transport Canada should not have had much trouble finding out the operator of this helicopter.

I told investigators during my interview this was a somewhat unusual case........
Usually all we hear about is some irresponsible drone pilot doing something stupid and coming near manned aircraft.

It was the opposite here.

I had secured a Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate(SFOC) for the airspace surrounding this fund raising event and any aircraft pilot should have seen my SFOC if they had read the Transport Canada Notice to Airmen ( NOTAMS ) in place for that day.

CONCLUSION HERE:

I fulfilled my obligations and I am very grateful this situation ended without tragedy.
I am disappointed that Transport Canada did not put the same degree of effort into this investigation as I'm sure they would have IF it was my Phantom that had been at fault.

I just wanted to let everyone on this forum know how this case turned out.

Thanks
 
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Thanks for the update... I'm sure it would be easy to find the Pilot and Heli if one really wanted to. Did you not get any footage of the helicopter as it flew by twice ?

Jerry
 
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Hi Everybody,

This is the final instalment to my story involving my Phantom 4 Pro and a very near miss with a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter.
Just some quick background for those who may not be familiar with the incident:

August 3,2019

My drone business was hired to shoot video at an outdoor special event that was attended by about 700 people. It was a fund raiser in support of a university scholarship fund.
At approximately 3:15 pm, I was overhead the event operating at 270 feet while taking still images.
My business partner was acting as my spotter for the flight. He called out to me, warning of a low flying helicopter suddenly appearing over nearby trees!

With seconds to react, I quickly determined that based on the track of the Jet Ranger, it was more than likely to pass underneath my Phantom.
I had decided to remain hovering in place at 270 feet.

The Jet Ranger passed underneath my Phantom by about 80 feet. It returned for a second pass over the crowd;however, this time, it passed over my Phantom.

Throughout all this, I was hovering in place at 270 feet.

After its second pass, the Jet Ranger flew off heading off due South.
I was shocked at what had just happened and how things could have turned into a disaster.
My partner and I immediately notified Transport Canada and they commenced a full investigation involving us being interviewed by investigators who met us at the site of the incident several days afterward.

We gave investigators a full description of the helicopter although(in the intensity of the moment) we were not able to note the Jet Ranger's registration number.
We are Transport Canada Advanced Drone Pilots and fully complied with everything Transport Canada needed us to do in the aftermath.

WHAT HAPPENED?

11 months after this serious near miss situation, Transport Canada emailed our business thanking us for our professional actions. Unbelievably, they then told us that after a full investigation they were unable to find out who owned the helicopter involved or who was flying it at the time. :(
Transport Canada went on to say that radar records were not helpful in determining who owned the helicopter.

Here, in New Brunswick, Canada, there are very few privately owned Jet Rangers..........it cannot be difficult to find out who owns and was operating it at the time of this near miss.

Transport Canada seems willing to close the file on this case.

When I was interviewed by investigators, they told me it was very clear the helicopter pilot hadn't seen my Phantom when they flew over the crowd. But, the investigator told me that if the Phantom had hit the helicopter's windscreen or tail rotor, given the low operating altitude involved, there would have been only seconds for the pilot to react before the pilot lost control and likely would have crashed.

At this point, I feel I have fulfilled my professional responsibilities but I come away from all this very disappointed in what happened here.
Transport Canada should not have had much trouble finding out the operator of this helicopter.

I told investigators during my interview this was a somewhat unusual case........
Usually all we hear about is some irresponsible drone pilot doing something stupid and coming near manned aircraft.

It was the opposite here.

I had secured a Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate(SFOC) for the airspace surrounding this fund raising event and any aircraft pilot should have seen my SFOC if they had read the Transport Canada Notice to Airmen ( NOTAMS ) in place for that day.

CONCLUSION HERE:

I fulfilled my obligations and I am very grateful this situation ended without tragedy.
I am disappointed that Transport Canada did not put the same degree of effort into this investigation as I'm sure they would have IF it was my Phantom that had been at fault.

I just wanted to let everyone on this forum know how this case turned out.

Thanks
Wow. Well done in that situation.
I’m surprised Transport Canada couldn’t find the owner of the Heli.
 
Joined
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Thanks everybody for the comments.

There is NO QUESTION that Transport Canada should have been able to easily identify the owner/pilot of the Jet Ranger involved.

I won't get in to why Transport Canada didn't get to the bottom of this; however, I will say that I wonder if they'd put the same amount of effort into this case IF THE SITUATION HAD BEEN REVERSED.
In other words, what if it had been a drone at fault?

Hummm?

I will leave it to others to debate this but I have my own feeling about this.

Safe flying everybody!
 
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