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UAV Pilot Charged with Felony

The owner of a video-camera-equipped Hexacopter flying near the scene of a car accident in Springfield, Ohio, earlier this week was charged with felony obstruction after police said he refused to land his UAV even as a medevac helicopter prepared to touch down. ( More...

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PhotoFinish 2
There are very reasonable existing laws to deal with UAVs as any other existing tools and gadgets.

Refusing to cooperate in an emergency situation, in which there is a need to land a medevac
PhotoFinish 9
... is refusing to be cooperative, whether involving a UAV or not, is still a refusal to be cooperative.

Creating an unnecessary safety hazard with a UAV should be prosecuted appropriately. But shouldn't impact the ability of other cooperative and otherwise law-abusing citizens to be able to fly small remote controlled planes near the ground.
Wally Piper 2
If it was your wife or daughter waiting for the life saving ride you might be a little less tolerant of the interference. If the operator was told that the helicopter was on the way he shouldn't even have to be told what to do. He should just do it. How can the level of risk presented by the UAV even be a point of discussion? We're talking about saving a life vs 10 seconds of pointless video on the evening news. Just having the right to do something doesn't make it right to do it
James Hodges 2
Speaking as a commercial pilot who also flies a 65 hp open cockpit airplane for recreation at low but legal altitudes, I do NOT want to share the airspace with ANY aircraft that does not have an on board pilot, or a remote control pilot with constant visual contact with the aircraft. I expect the remote control pilot to obey applicable rules and regs. Having said that, there are few things more disgusting than an official abusing his authority. Dr. Jim.
Eddie Gist 1
Maybe,He Thought,He Was Picking Up The Wounded! LOL
if the authorities tell you to do it?
Russ Nelson 1
Ahhhhh, no. What if they think they have the authority and they don't? If you always yield to authority, authority expands and freedom contracts.

Lookit, you know *exactly* what happened here. The policeman, rather than trying to persuade the UAV pilot to land, simply ordered him to land, without explaining why. A hexacopter with a camera is an expensive bit of hardware, and the pilot isn't going to risk it crashing in the propwash of a helicopter. He's GONNA get it out of the way.

It's completely understandable why the policeman wants total control over everything. It's also completely understandable why the policeman wants a pony and a billion dollars, too. You don't always get everything you want, because other people have the same freedom you do.

This whole situation could have been avoided had the policeman simply said "You might want to land that thing. We have an incoming helicopter."
That does not sound like a good power trip....more and more however the cops are going down. This is a perfect example of a typical modern cop,0,2209695.story
Adrian Piers 1
Time to amend the right-of-way rules in the air. UAV gives way to manned aircraft, with minimum separation distances specified. Simple.

Then there is no ambiguity.

Same as on water. Power gives way to sail, starboard tack has right-of-way.
Eddie Gist 1
It depends who is flying it US Drones: afghanistan
Protoavis 1
Looks like a good case of POP (pissing off police)... At the very least a failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you have what we have here. He asks for it, he gets it. I don't like it any better than you do... If the man tells you to get your toy away from an ungoing emergency, get over yourself and help the situation by following the instruction. For your information there is freedom of the press on an active investigation.
Protoavis 1
I meant to say no freedom of information on an active investigation... Oops
Not always. They do not supersede the Constitution, certainly not the Freedom of the Press.
Bernie20910 2
Freedom of the press does not mean what you seem to think it means. It does not mean, "Do whatever we want because we're 'The Press'". In its original context it could be argued that it only guaranteed the right to own a printing press and to publish things. It does not absolve those protected by that right from the obeyence of other laws.
The press is free to investigatge a story. Even if the police do not want them to, that is not for dispute. What remains in the air (pun intended) is where was this helicopter that was supposedly on the way? The story does not make any claims to that. Now, maybe the cop didnt want some images of gore out there on TV before they could make a notification, maybe. In that instance, it is up to the judgement of the photog on if they should or should not "out" photos. For instance, when the gunmen shot up North Hollywood was real time live. Same with the OJ chase. If however the press did the same with Columbine, I think there would have been a differing social reaction. But, back to what is at hand...a cop said no...a citizen said "why not"...the cop decided to be a typical cop. That is pretty much the gist of what happened with the limited coverage.
eddyandy 1
The YAV operator could easily see if a helicopter is in the area and move his craft well out of the area. This seems like a case of over reach of authority. As a former freelance photographer, I have run into a similar situation twice, once at a railroad derailment and once at a fatal car accident. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and my access to the area was soon OK'd.
eddyandy 1
Sorry about the YAV. Meant UAV.
I see both sides. It takes someone at Douche Level Fifty to not land that thing if there was a copter landing...but, how far off was the copter? If it was there, I am more than certain it would handle that thing like a goose and just blow it out of its way. The police however in the US like to "be in charge", and dare you question them - well then, that there badge wearing thug with a gun will go after you.
PhotoFinish 3
The article says that the UAV operator was never made aware of the incoming medevac. This wouldn't be the first time an officer lies in an arrest report and it won't be the last. But that's not a UAV nor pilot nor airspace issue. I would hope there is more evidence than just an officer's word for prosecution. But that what trials and the justice system are for. Without anyhing more than the complaining officer's word, the case might get pled down to a less severe offense, or maybe even thrown out completely without any corroborating evidence. Otherwise a semi's worth of reasonable doubt can be driven through the complaint.

If a UAV operator creates a safety hazard let them answer them through the current laws on the books until there are more defined regulations.
linbb 3
Guess most have not been part of an accident scene which can be very busy. To have something like an UAV around with an inbound AC is another thing they have to be concerned with. They have rules for news copters operating in that environment. Now they will have to create them for UAV operators. Then all you need is a news stringer trying to get the best shot and not bothering to adhere to rules. Just taking care of the scene and people on the ground is bad enough been there helped with that many times.


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