Skip to main content

Patrol helicopter in close call with drone, pilot helps cops catch operator

patrol helicopter close call drone pilot helps cops catch operator quadcopter
It’s clearly not just airplane pilots being forced to dodge drones. Helicopter pilots, too, are reporting instances of the remotely controlled flying machines coming too close for comfort, the latest incident happening in California over the weekend.

A pilot working for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) was forced to take evasive action about 800 feet over Martinez, 20 miles north-east of San Francisco, on Saturday night after spotting “a red light outside of the cabin, straight ahead and very close,” Officer James Andrews of the CHP air operations unit told the SF Gate.

The helicopter reportedly had to make a sharp turn to the right to avoid colliding with the drone. Turning his attention from the stolen vehicle he’d been attempting to locate, the pilot tracked the drone and illuminated it with the helicopter’s spotlight.

Determined to pinpoint the operator and turn him into police, the pilot directed cops to where the drone landed.

The SF Gate said that although the drone owner wasn’t arrested, the incident is currently being investigated by federal and local authorities, which could culminate in a court appearance.

Andrews described the incident as “a close call,” adding,“Everyone got away without injury. But it could have been worse.”

He said that in an “absolute worse-case scenario, the drone could come through the window and take out the pilot, and the helicopter could come down.”

Aware of the rising popularity of quadcopters and similar machines, sales of which are expected to fly off the charts this holiday season, Andrews said the situation for pilots “is going to get worse” unless drone owners use their common sense when sending their machine skyward.

Current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines recommend operators keep their drone in sight at all times and at under 400 feet, well below the altitude of the machine involved in Saturday’s CHP incident.

Getting your first quadcopter for Christmas? The FAA released a helpful video last year offering some useful pointers on how to get the most out of your new toy without bringing down an aircraft or causing some similar catastrophic incident. Check it out below, and have fun!

Know Before You Fly
Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more