An RAF Chinook pilot has revealed how a drone almost brought their helicopter down as the latter was reaching the RAF in Odiham Hampshire. This isn't the first case of an irresponsible drone flying in the recent months. However, this is one of the incidents that didn't only violate drone rules but almost caused a very serious accident as well.
As per Mirror UK, the helicopter was flying 2100 feet above ground and at 138 mph speed when the air traffic controller from the base noticed the unmanned flying vehicle from the radar. The controller initially described the drone as a "faint image" to the crew and that's when the two Chinook pilots realized that the drone was hovering directly ahead of them at exactly the same height 40m away.
The pilot who was steering the helicopter was inadvertently going towards the drone. This is why the other pilot immediately took over as the risks got too high as each second passed. Fortunately, the helicopter was able to miss the drone by passing at the side of the UAV and safely landing at the RAF in Odiham. Needless to say, the pilot rated the collision risk as "High".
The helicopter is worth 60 million Pounds and it could have been considerably damaged had the crews failed to notice the drone's presence. One of the pilots said that if the drone hit at least one of the helicopter parts such as the transmissions, rotor system, cockpit or the associated hydraulic pipes, it could have resulted in the total loss of the helicopter.
It was clear that the drone was flown outside allowed areas. Anything above 400 feet is already a restricted area for UAVs. The drone in question has to have been flown at least five times more than the permitted height for it to level with the helicopter at one point. Nevertheless, the drone owner was never traced, much like a few other cases of risky "close call" drone operations. One of the rare times that the suspect of a similar story was tracked was the case in China where the drone operator uploaded his footage on social media.