Drone operator arrested for endangering police helicopter while filming an illegal car race in Northwich


Seems a bit OTT for it to go to crown court.

If there’s no precedent for this sort of thing (apart from UFOs spotted by commercial jets and F35s at 20,000ft), then that will be why it’s been passed up the chain.

Should be interesting to see how it plays out. I’m wondering what a “flight path expert” is…

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Yeah, I suppose.

Be a lot quicker, easier and more accurate with Airdata :wink:

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Flight path expert!! :joy::joy: Should be interesting to read about.

Indeed. Based upon the information presented in the article I see no evidence that any law was broken. In the article it’s stated that the drone was seen flying at approximately 150m agl. Other than the dead reckoning of the helicopter crew there was no other method to determine the height. The helicopter crew also claim the drone was flying close to the helicopter, but again nothing more than a subjective observation appears to have been presented as evidence.

There’s no mention of the class of drone being used, or if the user held any permissions such as an A2 Certificate of competency that permitted his use of the drone in the area. Filming an illegal act, in this case an alleged road race, is not itself illegal. If the drone being used was less than 250g, or if above 250g the person responsible had the appropriate permissions, and determined to be below the 120m limit then no law was broken. Just because a helicopter flew into the area the drone was being flown in does not automatically make the drone flight illegal.

The charge being levied is the drone endangered the operation of the helicopter. But if the drone user was below 120m, and the drone user could legally fly in that area and was in flight prior to the arrival of the helicopter, there would be a case if it was proven the drone user made no effort to move the drone to mitigate any risks, such as landing it.

This also highlights a major flaw in the guidelines and regulations regarding the use of drones. We’ve seen an unfortunate rise in the amount of regulation concerning drones to integrate their use in the airspace. But there has not been similar advisories to General Aviation and its operation below 500ft as drone use becomes more prevalent in the Zero to 400ft airspace. It’s just accepted that the drone user was in the wrong because a GA pilot has skin in the game or other such nonsense.


Why would he enter no plea?

I suspect that his solicitor knows very little about drones.

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His solicitor pretty much said that. I would also hazard a guess that the prosecution are similarly ignorant.


Gives him, them more time, or buys him time rather too see what they really have on him, some people whatever the crime / court case do this to buy themselves more time, then change there plea at the last minute, if there solicitor advises them too, I can’t remember without reading back through it if this was the first hearing.
I know some may argue whatever the offence someone may have committed out there ( why opt in too take it too crown court ? Justice is usually better ) half them if not all magistrates are just john doh off the street who know very little about punishment or the justice system, they go in there little back room at the back of the court, read books on what sentence they should give you, that I know ! I call it kangaroo court,
A crown court judge knows your sentence before he even passes it, usually the night before the case, that’s how it was years ago, unless things have changed, that’s coming from a few reputable barristers & solicitors ……


It’s a valid point though and I guess no Magistrate worth their salt wants to hand down a judgement
with out the proper sentencing guidelines.

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I’m glad, for what ever reason as explained, it has gone to crown.

He’s obviously not arsed about a police helicopter, or any other aircraft in his air space, he doesn’t give a toss about any of the drone code, so I hope he gets bollocked big time in crown Chris :grin:.

Although the flip side is, it’s a bit of a dangerous precedent it may set for drone operators in general.
If a simple mistake is made by somebody who normally flies within the drone code but misjudges and crosses a certain line, then it won’t be mags he’s being dealt with but crown.

Swings and roundabouts I think.


How do you know that?

There’s nothing in the article to infer what you’ve written.

The description states the helicopter crew saw a drone in close proximity. They “estimated” it’s height, based on what we don’t know, to be around 150m, 30m above the limit. There’s nothing to suggest the drone flew into the helicopters airspace and it’s very likely the helicopter flew into the drones airspace. Nor do we know if the drone user made an effort to land once the helicopter came on the scene. If the drone was sub250g, or the user had an appropriate authorisation, and the area was not subject to flight restrictions, then the drone user had just as much right to be there as the helicopter, but common sense dictates that in such a situation the drone gives airspace preference to the helicopter.

If the drone user is proven to have been intentionally reckless then I agree he should be dealt with accordingly. However to jump to conclusions based on next to no evidence being presented can be very dangerous. Remember what happened to the couple in the Gatwick case, just because he had a picture of a model helicopter on his Facebook page. At the time everything was being reported as fact and the public were running around with their hair on fire. We now know that there were no drones, other than the police drone, anywhere near Gatwick, and a lot of info relating to the investigation has been redacted (censored) from the official reports.

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A low flying aircraft was reported overe Solihull some years ago…The person who reported it was shopping at the time and at court
was questioned about height.
Asked how he could be so sure of the height - he replied
" I am an Air Traffic Contoller.at Birmingham Airport."


@Nidge, @DroneGeek.

I did in fact forgot to add, if he is found guilty.

I don’t know about anybody else, but if there is an aircraft from the emergency services in the area, not just police, I’ll bring the drone down.

The reason being, and in my logic, what they are up there for is searching. Searching to me means looking about and changing direction, in which case I don’t know whether I’m going to be in its flight path within the next 10 secs or so. Whatever height I’m at.

Maybe I have jumped in with both feet on a conclusion, I’m a grumpy welder what do you expect,but we’ll see.

Quite. Its plain common sense…

That was direction I was attempting to come from in my original post, most responsible pilots will, in that situation, bring the drone down I think.

Agree. I think we all would.

Or I would like to think so!

Do any of you think it may be a pilot trying for a test case to push the CAA regulations? :thinking:

I live approx 7 miles from RAF Shawbury who use the area as a helicopter pilot training area. There are no flight restrictions on drones in the area and the exclusion area ends some 5 miles away. BUT! because it is a large flat area it is used as a low level training area. This can be alarming when they approach at speed and at a low level. I know the drone will come off worst in the event of a coming together plus the potential cost will be way outside my insurance.
I have shied away from complaning as I don’t want them extending the no-fly zone any further.

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