I didn't mention the windshield because I truly don't think a quadcopter would remain airborne long enough to hit it (my assertion that the main rotor would move it), unless the pilot is intentionally trying to run through it. If that's the case, no amount of regulation is going to help.
No, it doesn't work that way. The downwash of the rotor at speed is not going to move something like a drone out of the way. It won't move a small bird out of the way, nor even a child's balloon. You're probably thinking of a hovering helicopter, not a helicopter that is in flight. In the case of a helicopter in flight if the object is at the altitude of the windshield, it's pretty much going to go through the windshield and take out the crew. Any bird larger than maybe a sparrow will go through the windshield. Certainly a DJI will...
In the case of the DJI F550 Hexacopter video, it's not a question of stability. It's not a question of whether it fell or not. It's a question of an object hanging in the air where an aircraft could have hit it. He says in the comments:
My arguments for performing a high altitude flight at all were as follows:
- No airplanes in this area ever fly as low as I did in the video
- There is generally not much air traffic in this area at all
- I checked with flightradar24.com before flying
- Military, police, and emergency flights are virtually non-existant in this area
- The multirotor was supposed to go straight up and straight down again
The problem with this is:
1) 99% of helicopter flying is done below 3,000 feet (so, he was definitely in the airspace we fly in).
2) "generally not much traffic" is not the same as "I know there was no traffic in the area"
3) flightradar24 (which is a relay of approach radar) only shows tagged aircraft - it's not going to show VFR/1200 traffic, and it's not going to show traffic at low altitude (where he was), i.e. it will almost never show my aircraft as most of my work is flying as untagged and often I'm below radar coverage anyway.
4) "Military, police, and emergency flights are virtually nonexistent"... But what about commercial operators operating off airway? How would he know?
5) "The multi rotor was supposed to go straight up and straight down again"... how would that prevent me from hitting it? If it happens to be there as I fly through the airspace, whether it's going up or down is immaterial. Just being there at the wrong altitude at the wrong time is a potentially fatal problem.
This also illustrates the problem with both him and you. He took these steps (like looking at flightradar24) not understanding that it wasn't showing the traffic that he was actually endangering. You think you know what you're doing, and you think you are taking precautionary steps, but in fact you don't know what you are doing and you're endangering people's lives .This is the best argument of all for the FAA to require an operator license in order to fly a drone. At least then there can be a course of training about how to avoid being a danger to air traffic, rather than people thinking they are being safe when they are not, just like your assumption that main rotor downwash or tail rotor downwash will help to avoid a collision which is totally wrong.
Apologies for the brashness, but is this lined with tinfoil, as well? Do you actually see them around Boston (directly see, not 'think you see'), or are you just playing into the media fear? You yourself even noted that the chance is low.
No, we don't see them and that's the problem!. We know they are out there: at this moment there are 6 NOTAMs for drones in the local area of my home airport. These are just the ones that people have bothered to notify the FAA about. There is no doubt in my mind that there are many many others. I can't see them. How do I avoid hitting them?
Your last few sentences are pretty much the only reasonable thing you've said. I am wholeheartedly with you on the need for better QA, both for public safety, and to protect the investment. Speaking about DJI products specifically, the motors are actually pretty solid, but the rest of it is very cheaply produced. I'd love to see higher standards. On the other hand, the fact that these are relatively flimsy is precisely why I think the blind fear and potential for serious damage is overstated.
It seems you are not understanding the problem at all. My point about the FAA requiring the manufacturer of my aircraft to achieve something like a billion to 1 chance against a mechanical failure that will result in a fatal accident means: I'm asking how you're going to guarantee me a billion to 1 chance against a fatal drone strike on my aircraft. I don't understand whether you are thinking this is extremely unlikely to occur, or whether you don't think a collision is going to cause a fatal crash. Drones are going to be very very popular, both with hobbyists and commercially. There will be a ton of them added to the airspace in the next decade. I think collisions are inevitable if we don't provide some sort of collision avoidance. If you don't think a small drone will take out a helicopter you only have to look at the fatal crashes due to bird strikes, like the 8 people who died in PHI's S76 that hit a 2.4 pound bird.
We can't mandate ADS-B for birds, but we certainly can for drones.