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Did a military jet check out my quadcopter?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jozii, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. Jozii

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    So the weirdest thing happened to me the other day. We were testing to see how high we could get my Phantom 2 Vision+. At around 130 meters, a military jet roars by at very low altitude - about the same height as the quadcopter. We were standing on an empty beach by a lake. The jet came from the direction of the nearby town from the south of the beach, did a small degree turn over the lake sort of going around the beach, then disappeared in the distance.

    My dad has an interest in the military and identified it as an SK60. The Swedish army uses it to train new pilots. There's a military air base some 20 km away and an underground Saab military jet factory. Naturally we've seen jets in the area before, but at far higher altitudes and certainly not flying directly over houses like that. In 50 years of living here we've never experienced anything like it.

    So we had a lot of questions. Were they checking out the quadcopter or was it just a very rare coincidence? Can a radar pick up a quadcopter? One theory would be that they noticed it somehow and the training aircraft which could very well already have been in the air was asked to check it out.

    Another interesting detail: Swedish laws regarding quadcopters are that you can fly them and take photos without permission, but in order to actually publish them (online for example) you need to send them to the military first for approval to avoid any "secrets" being revealed in the photos.
     
  2. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Most likely, the jet saw nothing and knew nothing about your quad. It isn't likely to provide a strong radar return.
     
  3. Narrator

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    Especially at that height. If it was 1300m then maybe.
     
  4. Hughie

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    Unlikely the jet pilot would have noticed at that speed.
     
  5. Fyod

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    The moe important question here is did you get it on video? :D
     
  6. doug86

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    to my mind, the important question is: did you learn a lesson and will you perhaps limit your altitudes in the future. In the USA, most model aircraft pilots adhere to a voluntary height restriction of 400' (122 meters) above ground level, to avoid mixing our aircraft with those above.

    It amazes me how many people think that they should be testing the limits of their new drone. If you're going to test how high it will fly, you are also unintentionally set up a crash test between your drone a regular aircraft.

    glad nothing bad happened in this case.
     
  7. Fyod

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    I can only meet you half way on that opinion, since we have higher limits (not sure about sweden) the military should announce a NFZ if they're doing some training or something, especially that low.
     
  8. Hughie

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  9. wildpalms

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    Highly doubtful they would have seen you on radar. Even if they got any returns off you they would be filtered out.

    Always worth knowing what the rules are locally. Here in the UK we don't have any such 400' limit for most model aircraft (>7kg or camera fitted is a different matter) and a lot of flying takes place higher than that. I fly thermal soarers (as do a lot of modeller). We launch to about 400' and the models are often at 600 to 800' in good lift.

    The military here as in a lot of countries don't it seems to have to issue NOTAMS. Low level fast movers are a common site in the British countryside. In fact in the UK we have a reporting procedure to notify the military but only if we are flying more than 5 models at once and are in an area known for low miltary flyovers. The NOTAMS here seem to consist of fireworks displays, cranes, air displays, radio systems inoperational etc.

    As well as the rules always worth looking at a chart to see if there are any restrictions and even those can often allow aero-modelling activities if you follow the rules.
     
  10. Clipper707

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    This reprimand surprises me, especially when he was only 8 meters above the altitude you say he should voluntarily limit his flights to.
     
  11. Hughie

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    This is my experience too. Also I know that on some military solo training sorties the planned route is *very* vague and the pilots do go "off piste" and generally wander about and play around.
     
  12. Suwaneeguy

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    Just a coincidence. Probably a training mission.
    Jets usually fly @200mph or more and it's highly unlikely the pilot would see a quad.
    Here in the states, I've seen our air force jets and that fly over in training exercises in many places.
    In South Carolina there is an air base and they routinely entertain the populace with low level aerial dog fights.
    As a former truck driver, I'd be driving along down the interstate and suddenly get buzzed by a jet.
    Once he passes, I see him tilting the wings. IOW, I was his target.
     
  13. Clipper707

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    This has happened to me, too, in NC back when there were only back roads between Camp Lejeune and Raleigh. I was buzzed by an AV8B Harrier, who then waggled his wings. I thought the roof had been ripped off my car. It was awesome.
     
  14. PhantomFanatic

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    I feel certain that your drone wasn't seen on radar, nor by the pilot.

    I think it isn't unusual to want to know how high a drone can fly. Whether it is a good idea to try it, is a different matter.
     
  15. Happyflyer

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    Just plain WoW! I am sure happy we don't have jets zipping by that low and at jet speeds. Most we have here are the rich people's executive jets that land and take off from the local air port.
     
  16. ExtraKim

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    If you have that on film, send it to Försvarsmakten and ask for permission to upload it to Youtube. It would be intressting to hear what they say about that ;)
     
  17. Sparko

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    Not sure where this misconception about rules in the UK come from this link is straight of the CAA site:- http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid ... geid=16012 Check out Article 166 and Article 167
     
  18. Hughie

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    To be on the safe side, I do stick to a maximum of 400' (well 120m)'. But actually my interpretation of point 2. of the Summary at that link, is that the height is not necessarily limited to 400'. It is limited to whether the remote pilot has visibility of it. I accept that this is a tall order at 800' unless it is a very large model!, but that is not my point.
     
  19. wildpalms

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    No misconceptions here. I fly anything and everything from indoor F3P models to turbines and 120cc 3D models. I'm involved in writing the safety rules for one of the clubs in so I'm well versed in most of the relevant CAA documents. Two of my regular flying clubs actually fly from full sized active airfields where safety and operating procedures are extremely important. As I mentioned in my post the 400' limit applies to models over 7kg (in general modelling terms that is something just a little larger than a 50cc 3D model) (see article 166 para 4). Article 167 is for camera equipped vehicles (which as I mentioned doesn't apply to 95% of the model airplanes that we have been flying for decades).

    Given the actual size of a Phantom your probably breaking 166 para 3 if at 400' anyway in most of the poor lighting conditions we have here.
     
  20. Hughie

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    Agreed. This is my point.