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Evasive Maneuvers - What would you do?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tenly, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. Tenly

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    Suppose we, as pilots do everything right - and are complying with all the right regulations for our country - but "out of the blue" - an aircraft suddenly appears in "our airspace" on what appears to be a collision course? What is the best evasive maneuver to take? Descend immediately? Straight down? Match the course of the other aircraft and fly that direction while descending? Fly away at 90 degrees while descending? Hover and do nothing hoping the other pilot sees you and takes action to avoid you? The fastest way you can get out of the way is to execute a CSC shutdown and kill your motors sacrificing your drone for the greater good and possibly causing damage or injury on the ground (but what if you're over an empty field or a lake)?

    It's impossible for us to tell how high the other aircraft is from our vantage point on the ground - or if it is ascending, descending or flying level.

    An idiotic reply to this question would be "Don't be there in the first place." or "I would have heard him coming long before it became an issue". You didn't. Or maybe it's a glider. Avoiding the scenario is not what this thread is about. If you're sure you could avoid ever being in a situation like that - then please move along and avoid this message thread!

    Another dumb response would be "the airplane is not allowed to be flying there". Ok. Point taken. He shouldn't be there. BUT HE IS! My question is not about preventing this hypothetical situation from ever occurring - and it's not about assigning blame or determining which pilot is in the wrong. I reserve the right to call you a dumbass if your reply contains any variation of those 2 answers or if it starts with "That situation could never happen to me because:.." (Unless you fly exclusively indoors or below 100ft - it *could* happen to you.)

    The question is: What you would do? - or What should a UAV pilot do? - if they find themselves in this situation.
    (I think it will be it interesting to hear all the different answers/ideas that will come back to this question)

    I know some of you will have trouble even considering a scenario that you think is not possible. So let me give you a plausible way this could happen. The other plane is a small Cessna and it may have just taken off from a small nearby lake. It may be about to land on a small nearby lake. Or it may be piloted by or under contract by someone who wants to fly over their own neighbourhood real low to take some pics.

    So again - as the drone pilot in this scenario - you don't know if he's landing, climbing or just flying around. You don't know his altitude - but you can tell that he's lower than he should be. Understand that the pilot of the other plane may not be following all of the rules and regulations he's supposed to be following regarding air space and altitude - drone pilots don't have exclusivity on breaking the rules.

    So - what would you do? What advice would you give to another pilot in that situation?

    (For bonus points, also comment on what you would do differently if anything, if the air traffic was not a plane. It was a: )
    - another UAV
    - a helicopter
    - a glider or hang glider
    - a parachutist
    - a guy that made a mistake hooking up his gas barbecue
     
  2. Multicoptertec

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    Simple. Rapid decent. I would never try to outmanoeuvre another aircraft. Or a BBQ grill, propane tank, etc.
     
  3. GadgetGuy

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    I fly by FPV only, so I have encountered a few such scenarios where a helicopter or RC glider or another drone or a kite surfer or kite flyer suddenly appears out of nowhere while I am flying well under 400 feet AGL at the beach. More often than not, the danger is only apparent after, while reviewing the 4K video, such as with another drone, or an RC glider at the beach. As to helicopters, if they are above me, I descend, and if below me, I ascend, to maintain vertical separation, until I know they are gone. The kite surfers I ascend to avoid, and the kite flyers I veer away from. Twice I have had a near miss headon with another drone flying directly at me. Not much you can do, as by the time you see and recognize the danger, it's already over. Bad day at the office for both, if you collide. With any manned aircraft, as the UAS pilot, you must yield to them and get out of their way by any means possible. Fortunately, I haven't encountered any airplanes yet! I have seen parasailers with propeller packs on their backs flying nearby at the bay, and I chose not to fly until they were done. I couldn't predict their erratic flight!
     
  4. GadgetGuy

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    There are times when they actually will be below you, while you are still in your designated air space. Descending isn't always the correct choice.
     
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  5. Multicoptertec

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    Read the question again. The scenario is that another aircraft is on a collision course with you. I'm gonna decend.
     
  6. bernek

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    I don't quite agree either since descent speed is slower (maybe 3x slower in most cases) and the other pilot might do the same (so you still are on collision course). Climbing and pitching in the opposite direction sounds a better maneouver in my opinion.

    Evasive maneouvers should be done at high speed and the only way to get that speed is to climb or to pitch away (doing both at the same time sounds the best idea).

    Also if you hold the throttle stick all the way down to descent you will lock your pitch and if you don't remember to lift your finger from the joystick it will remained locked and you wont be able to pitch in any axis.
     
  7. GadgetGuy

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    Agreed in that specific case, assuming you can even react in time, with a closing speed of say 135 mph (35mph+100mph), but there are multiple questions posed and multiple scenarios open for discussion. The best choice depends upon each situation.
     
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  8. Multicoptertec

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    This is like one of those test questions you get in school where careful reading helps separate fact from filler. You have now assigned speed values to both aircraft. Aircraft closing on me could be a Cesna or an F14. I could be hovering, or even moving away from the foe. I'm just picking on you since you dissed my reply, lol.
     
  9. Tenly

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    The question actually says that the other aircraft "APPEARS TO BE" on a collision course with you. I worded it that way intentionally. Observing from the ground, you wouldn't know for sure. It might very well be 100 feet below you and it would still "appear to be" on a collision course.

    I definitely don't think there is a simple answer to the question. Your rapid descent might work - but it also might cause a collision whereby any other action could have avoided it.
     
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  10. Multicoptertec

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    Agreed, no simple answer, and this post is great for getting us to think about these scenarios. My answer, and others, will most likely be based on how one flies. Personally, I fly pretty low, so if an aircraft is I'm MY airspace, something is seriously wrong! My first instinct would be to get low.
     
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  11. GadgetGuy

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    I don't feel picked on. :cool: Either way, you make my point. Whatever the closing speed is (and I didn't assign a value, I just gave a random one to illustrate the absurdity), it will likely be way too fast for anyone to react, if it is an airplane or a jet, whether a Cesna or an F14. The thread was intended to be a comprehensive discussion, rather a simple one size fits all answer. That being said, wherever it is reasonable with an oncoming aircraft, descending is likely the best choice, so I am not dissing your reply, just pointing out a possible exception.
     
  12. Meta4

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    There are some invalid ideas about the rules there.
    Airplanes aren't restricted to flying above 500 feet at all.
    You shouldn't assume that you won't find other air traffic below 500 feet
    Here are the FFA rules on minimum safe heights, most other countries have similar.
    Take particular note of (c) & (d):
    § 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.
    Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
    (a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
    (b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
    (c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
    (d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface—
    (1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA
     
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  13. GadgetGuy

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    What are your suggestions for dealing with another drone flying in your airspace? It's becoming more common...
     
  14. Tenly

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    LOL! I didn't say any of that!

    My "Point taken. He shouldn't be there." comment was an off the cuff remark to reinforce that "it doesn't matter" if he should be there or not. That's not what this question is about.

    I also don't presume to know the rules for every country that people fly in - but if I've given you the impression somehow that my question is only directed at Americans, I guess I awanrt clear enough.

    If it makes you feel good to think you've corrected me - so be it.

    Can we get back on-topic now?
     
  15. Multicoptertec

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    Communication is key. A couple of weeks ago, 4 of us were flying in very close proximity, down to a couple feet of separation. We all communicated our altitudes to each other, which was obviously hugely important.
     
  16. threegs

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    I suppose an attempt to match course (to increase time to possible collision) and descend.

    In THIS case I would immediately shoot him out of the sky because he's a spying pervert. What's good for the goose...
     
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  17. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    Maybe you should read it again - it's a direct quote
    And that's exactly why I added that most other countries have similar because I know you are not in FAA land just like many others here.
    It's not about correcting you - it's about correcting the very common mistaken belief that planes shouldn't be below 500 feet.
     
  18. Multicoptertec

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    Here's a pic I took from my cam of the other 3 hovering together. [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  19. GadgetGuy

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    Cool! What do you do if you and the other drone pilot(s) can't find each other because you may be miles away, where direct communication between you is impossible, but you can see the other drone(s), but have no idea what their course is?
     
  20. Multicoptertec

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    I doubt I could see a drone that is "miles away".