Possible mid-air with a drone over the Sepulveda Pass


Of course people are jumping in saying there’s no proof it was a drone. I’ve hit birds with my car, and there’s feathers and blood. I’ve seen bird strikes on aircraft, and there were feathers and blood. So I’m excluding a bird strike for now. If not a bird, what else could it be other than a drone?

I’ve flown through the Sepulveda Pass many times, and I can virtually guarantee there are no Flying Spaghetti Monsters in that area.

There aren’t all that many trees. And you don’t fly in the pass; you fly over it. I have never seen 800-foot trees in L.A.

Glad they were able to safely divert and land.

Do you know if any of the drone legislation is making progress/getting closer to passing?


Impact with a flying spaghetti monster (or is it the fsm?) would leave entrails of spaghetti and sloppy meat sauce. If they didn’t see it, I’m going to run with the Invisible Flying Pink Unicorn theory.

As a pilot who works closely with this flight school, I will say now that we can rule out any irresponsible behaviour.

I’m wondering how many commercial drones there are that can go past 800 feet. I thought they’re not even allowed past 400?

Welcome to The Straight Dope, firstofficer-obvious.

I used to rent from Group 3 at VNY when I lived down there.

The idiots are once again going to ruin it for everybody.

Federal control just hampers the lawful. The outlaws are like criminals & guns, they are not going to obey the rules or any care for their fellow man.

Every time I see what Joe Public does piloting a drone, I give thanks there are no flying cars.

So that’s why the brick didn’t come back down.

Just as a birdstrike would leave feathers and blood, a treestrike would leave bark and leaves/needles embedded in the helicopter. It should be fairly easy to say what didn’t hit the helicopter. Conversely, a drone strike seems likely to have left at least some small parts of it embedded in the helicopter, and a search of the area where the collision happened should turn up a dead drone on the forest floor.

Allowed past 400 is a regulation, not a mechanical or programmed-in limitation.

If the things can fly at all in Denver they can fly at 5000 feet above the ground in Los Angeles. And almost all toy drones can fly just fine in Denver.

The limiting factor is probably remote control radio range. But if it can get 1/2 mile away horizontally it can also get more than 1/2 mile away vertically. Which is ~2500 feet

And that’s just the toys. 800 feet is nothing to them. The drones sold for commercial use are vastly more capable than that.

It’s not *quite *that simple. There are careful users, clueless users, and malicious users. Of anything. Including cars, guns, lasers, and messageboards.

The former aren’t a problem. The latter as you say aren’t deterred by regulation.

But the vast majority of misbehavior comes from the group in the middle. And the vast majority of them will move to the careful camp, not the criminal camp, once educated.

Sadly a lot of otherwise decent people refuse to become educated unless there’s a pound of flesh attached to their not becoming educated. Hence the need for rules with legal force, fines, etc., behind them. Voluntary codes of conduct work only on the community-minded. For everybody else there’s Officer Schmutz & his traffic ticket.

That’s IMO mostly due to laziness compounded by selfishness; not due to malice.

Hm. I wonder how long it will take for them to figure out they can put a laser pointer on a drone… :stuck_out_tongue:

Back when I was flying RC gliders ~20 years ago, I was told that if you could see your plane, you could control it. Which sounds about right, since radio control beyond visual range was kind of useless at the time.

These days, with first-person onboard video, now it’s just a question of how powerful your onboard video transmitter is (and how powerful your own control transmitter is). Assuming enough power, you could control your drone from the far side of the city, and send it up as high as you like.

I see your laser pointer and raise you a GBAD US Navy to test powerful, mobile laser weapon against drones - Defense Update:

Yup. Put a cellphone receiver on it and control it from an apartment or pickup truck in North Korea, Syria, Yemen, etc.

I was referencing this thread. :wink:

Not looking forward to the day when GBAD becomes a popular Christmas toy.

I knew where you were going with that. :slight_smile:

There’s been semi-serious talk about installing laser defense systems near major airports to shoot down MANPADs or drones targeting airliners. Between those things going off and yokels or baddies with laser pointers and maybe even laser-based aircraft-mounted self defense systems, pretty soon the LA basin on a Friday night is gonna look like the final battle scene in the original Star Wars.

Putting lasers on the drones too would be the icing on the cake. Maybe LAPD drones can laze both the attack drone operators and the laser pointer yokels.

What’s next, frickin laser beams on frickin’ flying sharks? Being jumped over by frickin’ flyin’ Fonzies? The future will be a very strange place indeed.

Enjoy your long weekend.

Arm those drones with treadmills or eels and those passenger jets will be falling into quarries left and right.

While I have personally seen people operating drones where they shouldn’t be & think this is a possibility, I also know that (almost) all of the drones have different colored lights on them so that you can tell front from back while standing on the ground trying to fly them.

Depending upon speed, background lights, & the fact that they weren’t looking for it, it is possible that they missed the lights, but I’m wondering about their statement about it having no lights.