Home U.K Police red-faced as pilot loses control of drone and crashes it into...

Police red-faced as pilot loses control of drone and crashes it into house

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The incident happened in Poole and is now being investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Although nobody was hurt during the incident, experts suggest people “could have been seriously injured” had the drone collided with a member of public.

The drone was being used by Dorset Police at an altitude of around 120m when a gust of blew the drone out of control.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said one of the drone’s two batteries was disconnected shortly after take-off at about 11.50 am on 11 November 2020.

The removal of the batter is said to have reduced its maximum speed, and hence its capability in dealing with strong winds.

Weather reading technology on the device advised the pilot to “fly with caution”, however, the sudden increase in winds meant the pilot was unable to fly the quadcopter back to safety.

There was also no wind speed display on the app being used by the officer to control the drone so he was unaware it was over the limit.

The pilot attempted to command the drone to enter “automatic landing” mode, however, the device was unable to avoid part of the house it hit.

A Dorset Police spokesperson said it had “co-operated fully with the AAIB throughout its investigation” and the drone was deployed “in line with manufacturer regulations” in November 2020.

The force said a series of pre-flight checks would have been to record the wind speed and direction prior to take-off.

It said: “Where this exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations, a drone is not deployed as air safety is a priority.”

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Dorset police added their drones have been updated to ones with a “higher wind resistance capability.”

They said: “While there were no formal recommendations for the force, a number of learning points were implemented, including ensuring all pilots have up-to-date training and the introduction of a buddy check system.”

A report by the AAIB said: “A DJI Matrice M210 Version 1, quadcopter unmanned aircraft (UA) was being flown during a police operation when the wind at 400 ft exceeded the forecast wind, the manufacturer’s wind limit and the maximum restricted speed of the UA.

“The UA drifted beyond visual line of sight and then communication with it was lost.

“When the battery level was low it entered an auto-land mode but collided with the wall of a house, damaging its propeller blades before coming to rest on a balcony.”

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The report ended: “The investigation revealed shortly after takeoff one of the UA’s two batteries had disconnected which resulted in its maximum speed being restricted, but this restriction is not referenced in the user manual and neither the remote pilot nor operator were aware of it.

“When the UA detected the manufacturer’s wind limit had been exceeded, the message triggered on the pilot’s controller display was ‘Fly with caution, strong wind’ instead of advising the pilot the limit had been exceeded and the UA should be landed as soon as possible.”

Police forces are turning to drones as an alternative option to deploying helicopters.

With the ability for local officers to deploy drones at short notice, the ability to respond rapidly to incidents is an added benefit at a reduced cost.

Are drones the future when it comes to policing the skies of Britain? Let us know what you think by CLICKING HERE and joining the debate in our comments section below – Every Voice Matters!

One of the latest drones available to emergency services is made by the world’s leading manufacturer DJI.

At a cost of £11,000, the Matrice 30T drone is capable of flying for over 40 minutes, has ultra-high definition cameras with zoom function, and includes a thermal camera capable of detecting the slightest heat sources.

Using the latest technology the drone is capable of flying to a range of over 8 miles from the operator.



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