And yet another embarrassing kerfuffle for recreational drone owners everywhere. The phrase “it takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch” comes to mind whenever drones make their way to news headlines. One bad apple, or navigator in this case, makes all drone owners look bad by association.
California Fire Obstruction:
A brush fire in Santee California recently got drones in hot water. This was because the local aerial responders to the fire could not approach the area because a drone was nearby. A recreational drone was seen flying around the vicinity of the fire. This is a common occurrence in disasters and accidents; spectators and onlookers crowding the scene. Usually, authorities would persuade these onlookers to be on their way. But you can’t really do that for drones. These high tech devices fly hundreds of feet into the air. Its owner is somewhere nearby, but it can be difficult to locate them in these incidents.
The responders, riding in helicopters with water drops, could not go near the area to put out the flames. This is because of fears regarding the drone. Multiple instances in the past resulted in near-misses and actual collisions between aircraft and drone. This happened against small planes, helicopters, and even commercial airlines. For the safety of the people on-board the aircraft, they could not risk going near the drone. This means they could only watch and wait until the drone’s owner finally gets his fill and takes the drone away. All this while the flames are spreading on the fields below.
A message from the local Fire Department on Twitter gave a stern reminder on drone safety.
It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. It also takes one irresponsible drone owner to make every owner look irresponsible. When emergencies happen, remember that airspaces are restricted to responders. And that having a drone in the air prevents them from going near the area. It also risks the lives of people – actual people – who head to emergencies for the benefit of other people.