What ever happened to the investigation of the drone that almost took the helo down at the 500?

Zambo

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I'll tell you this, its a good thing I had line of sight with the drone I was flying recently, or it could have gotten ugly. Bottom line is drones exist and they aren't going away, and as much fun as it is to fly a helo in the weeds (believe me, I know!), that is where the drones are. The best way to avoid an issue is for the drones to stay low and the helos to stay high. For reference, my drone was about 30' off the ground in this video.

 

Tom_Willis

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Ken Blocks' crew recently posted this from Plaster city.
 

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bhernquist

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US Law, Mexican Law and basically worldwide universal law is that drones must yeild to manned aircraft at all times. It does not matter if a helo is in the weeds or at 500', drones are small and hard to see and have the responsibility to avoid a collision.
 

bhernquist

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Inquiring minds want to know.. Who effed up big?
It was 100% the drone operator's F-up and possibly the production company for hiring an unlicensed and inexperienced drone pilot. The production company hired by SCORE to video and produce the 500 hired an unlicensed, inexperienced drone operator. That operator was flying the drone around the backside of a hill in the mountains west of Ojos, outside his line of sight. The drone opetaor knew there were helios in the areas and rather than lowering the drone's altitude, he climbed into the path of the helicopters. The drone pilot lost contact with his drone and after awhile - when it didn't return to him - went looking for it. He found the drone on the hood of a Federali cruiser and only then learned that he had struck a helicopter.

The drone pilot did not know the laws, had never been to a Mexico race before and didn't attend the Aircraft Safety Meeting. SCORE has put new drone regulations in place and made changes to that this doesnt happen again. Kudos to SCORE.
 

Zambo

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US Law, Mexican Law and basically worldwide universal law is that drones must yeild to manned aircraft at all times. It does not matter if a helo is in the weeds or at 500', drones are small and hard to see and have the responsibility to avoid a collision.
The rules for operating manned and unmanned aircraft during SCORE races are completely clear. Drones below 150', Helos above 500'.
 

bhernquist

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The rules for operating manned and unmanned aircraft during SCORE races are completely clear. Drones below 150', Helos above 500'.
Wrong. SCORE Regulations at the 2018 Baja 500 did not include a drone celing. Also, SCORE's rules do not control over Mexican Federal Aviation Laws just like SCORE can't change Mexican Federal Spped Limits on the Hwy. That's why there are speed zones on the Hwy that match the speed limits. (SCORE can't tell racers its OK to race 100+ mph on the hwy) SCORE can penalize a racer for violating these rules if they dont get caught by the Mexican authorities, but can't change Mexican law. Even assuming SCORE's Regulations applied - SCORE allows helis to fly below 500' at every race. The drone pilot was unlicened, flying outside line of sight and hit a manned aircraft (above 300' and arguably above 500' as the impact occurred over a canyon).
 

Zambo

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Wrong. SCORE Regulations at the 2018 Baja 500 did not include a drone celing. Also, SCORE's rules do not control over Mexican Federal Aviation Laws just like SCORE can't change Mexican Federal Spped Limits on the Hwy. That's why there are speed zones on the Hwy that match the speed limits. (SCORE can't tell racers its OK to race 100+ mph on the hwy) SCORE can penalize a racer for violating these rules if they dont get caught by the Mexican authorities, but can't change Mexican law. Even assuming SCORE's Regulations applied - SCORE allows helis to fly below 500' at every race. The drone pilot was unlicened, flying outside line of sight and hit a manned aircraft (above 300' and arguably above 500' as the impact occurred over a canyon).
That doesn't make any sense. Of course SCORE can't tell racers they can go 100 on the highway. But they can tell racers they have to go 37 on the highway and on other parts of the course that don't even have a posted speed limit. In other words they certainly are able to apply rules that are more restrictive than local laws. Helos need to stay the hell up out of the damn weeds, period for more than just this reason. I'm not siding with the drone pilot here, but you certainly don't have to be licensed to fly one for fun and there are plenty of them out there. The best way to deconflict between these aircraft are with altitude splits. And no, SCORE's rules don't allow helos to fly below 500'. Here is the rulebook, I couldn't copy and paste so I took a screen shot:
Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 9.00.30 PM.png
 

bhernquist

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That doesn't make any sense. Of course SCORE can't tell racers they can go 100 on the highway. But they can tell racers they have to go 37 on the highway and on other parts of the course that don't even have a posted speed limit. In other words they certainly are able to apply rules that are more restrictive than local laws. Helos need to stay the hell up out of the damn weeds, period for more than just this reason. I'm not siding with the drone pilot here, but you certainly don't have to be licensed to fly one for fun and there are plenty of them out there. The best way to deconflict between these aircraft are with altitude splits. And no, SCORE's rules don't allow helos to fly below 500'. Here is the rulebook, I couldn't copy and paste so I took a screen shot:View attachment 234944
I guess your missing a few things…. The helo in this situation was not flying in the weeds (300+AGL), the drone pilot had no idea where his drone was (he couldn’t see it behind the hill), he knew helos were in the area and increased altitude, Mexican law DOES require commercial drone operators to have a license (this drone pilot was flying during a race for a “professional” production company out of Hollywood), and all laws and common sense demands that drones avoid manned aircraft at all costs - and almost all countries hold drone pilots strictly liable when a drone hits an aircraft… period. Regarding SCORE allowing helos to fly below 500’AGL, you know that that ”rule” is not followed and almost never enforced (I think the Jax Redline situation is the only other one that comes to mind). In fact, SCORE’s Helo Director at the time pointed out its merely a guideline, not followed nor enforced and not controlling over Mexican law. Lives are worth a lot more than a drone.
 
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Zambo

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I guess your missing a few things…. The helo in this situation was not flying in the weeds (300+AGL), the drone pilot had no idea where his drone was (he couldn’t see it behind the hill), he knew helos were in the area and increased altitude, Mexican law DOES require commercial drone operators to have a license (this drone pilot was flying during a race for a “professional” production company out of Hollywood), and all laws and common sense demands that drones avoid manned aircraft at all costs - and almost all countries hold drone pilots strictly liable when a drone hits an aircraft… period. Regarding SCORE allowing helos to fly below 500’AGL, you know that that ”rule” is not followed and almost never enforced (I think the Jax Redline situation is the only other one that comes to mind). In fact, SCORE’s Helo Director at the time pointed out its merely a guideline, not followed nor enforced and not controlling over Mexican law. Lives are worth a lot more than a drone.
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Bro_Gill

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That doesn't make any sense. Of course SCORE can't tell racers they can go 100 on the highway. But they can tell racers they have to go 37 on the highway and on other parts of the course that don't even have a posted speed limit. In other words they certainly are able to apply rules that are more restrictive than local laws. Helos need to stay the hell up out of the damn weeds, period for more than just this reason. I'm not siding with the drone pilot here, but you certainly don't have to be licensed to fly one for fun and there are plenty of them out there. The best way to deconflict between these aircraft are with altitude splits. And no, SCORE's rules don't allow helos to fly below 500'. Here is the rulebook, I couldn't copy and paste so I took a screen shot:View attachment 234944
Man, you apply that and pretty much EVERY TEAM, AND i MEAN EVERY TEAM with a helo gets a DQ. Seriously.
 
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