Dangerous Drone

This site seeks to inform the public of the dangers and abuses related to the use of drones, model aircraft and RPAS for recreation.† It contains research gathered from multiple sources and asks important questions as well as exploring possible solutions to a challenging public safety issue.

Death by RC Aircraft

People are dying so that someone can play with an RC aircraft (aka Drone).† This is about the recreational use of drones, not about the use of this technology in a warzone.† Many of the following deaths are not just the operators themselves but innocent people who had nothing to do with the activity.† It often seems to be a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; being within range of a drone when an operator is using it.† Remember these are remotely piloted vehicles.† This is a serious issue that has not been properly addressed and one has to wonder why this inherently dangerous recreational activity has been allowed to continue to operate close to people.† This recreation has destroyed families.† The following list shows that this is not simply an isolated incident, but a growing risk as the technologies become more powerful, faster, cheaper and more accessible.† For neighbors who are exposed to the risks from an RC flying club, it is easy to recognize the dangers.† This subject deserves respect not excuses.† There are many more deaths than what are listed below as the intention is not to be a complete list but to show that the risk of death is real.† Note that details of events are not always easy to find.† The following provides information sourced from multiple news sites for the purpose of showing the real dangers involved with the recreation.† Our hearts are with the families who are victims of this recreation.† These people died and change is needed to ensure that this does not continue to happen in the future.†

Tara Lipscombe: 13 years old, Dartford, England.† She died after being struck in the head by a model plane while walking in the park with her family near a designated RC flying area.

https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/296868.family-floored-by-tragic-loss-of-tara/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/kent/2952707.stm

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/dartford/news/model-plane-that-killed-girl-po-a10760/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-177116/Girl-killed-remote-control-plane.html

A family has been devastated by the death of a girl who was hit on the head by a model plane while walking in a park, police have said.

Tara Lipscombe, 13, from Dartford, Kent, was walking with her mother on Dartford Heath at about 5pm on Wednesday when the incident happened.

A petrol-powered Acrowot plane, which was believed to have a 5ft wingspan, appeared to fly out of control and strike the teenager on the head, causing severe injuries.

Kent Air Ambulance landed 100 metres away from the unconscious girl and flew her to Darent Valley Hospital in three minutes. Despite efforts of medics, she died from her injuries a few hours later.

The remote control model plane was being flown by a 55-year-old man from south London.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/kent/3277991.stm

The hearing at Gravesend Coroners Court on Monday heard how the plane had been "poorly constructed" by its owner.

Roger Pamplin, from Bexley, did not have enough experience to build the Acrowat petrol-powered plane - which could fly at speeds of over 50mph - and had made mistakes gluing together the tail section, it was told.

Mr Pamplin admitted not using instructions when putting together the tail section, but said he had assembled similar planes before.

http://www.wlmac.co.uk/media/557/03-12.pdf

An investigation revealed there had been several past near-misses. In particular, in March 2003, a concerned mother contacted Dartford council after an aircraft crashed within feet of her small child. The inquest was told, though, that the district council had not carried out any risk assessment after the near-miss in March, a month before Tara died.

Alan Ives, who was flying the plane on the day of the accident, said the model had started to break up in mid-flight and he had then lost control of it. Roger Pamplin, who built the plane, said he considered it soundly constructed.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-177139/Teenager-killed-hit-model-plane.html

Dartford Heath is owned by the local council and is popular with model plane fliers, who were given a designated area in 1997.

'We could all hear the plane but there are always planes about,' said an eye-witness, who asked not to be named.

'Then we saw it coming over the tree and it started to go "pop pop pop" and spluttered.'

'It did a 360 degree roll, nose dived and smashed into the girl. Her mum just screamed and ran towards her.'

https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/296868.family-floored-by-tragic-loss-of-tara/

Dartford Heath has a designated flying area for model plane enthusiasts but the family say Tara was nowhere near this spot when the fatal accident happened. The Lipscombe family has now joined a campaign co-ordinated by the Friends of Dartford Heath to change by-laws and ban model planes from flying in the area.

Mr Lipscombe said: "We are trying to get everybody we know who has any feelings about it to write to the council.

"We want model planes banned on the heath. It is stupidity to have things like this flying around."

http://committeedmz.dartford.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet%20Advisory%20Panel%20A/20031124/Minutes/$Minutes.doc.pdf††

DARTFORD HEATH MODEL AIRCRAFT FLYING Ė RESULT OF CORONERíS INQUEST (S)
There was all party support for a total ban.

Adam Kirby, 11 years old, Hertfordshire, England.† He died after being struck on the back of the head by a model aircraft from the Phoenix Model Flying Club while watching with his father.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/503181.stm

https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/5778335.wave-of-grief-for-HYPERLINK "https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/5778335.wave-of-grief-for-killed-child/"killed-child/

Shortly after 2pm, he was struck by a remote-controlled aircraft on the back of the head. He had been standing in an area designated safe to watch the display by Phoenix Model Flying Club.

Ambulance crews rushed to the scene but paramedics failed to revive the boy who died cradled in his father's arms. He was taken to the QE2 Hospital in Welwyn Garden City where he was pronounced dead.

Mr Ian Cashmore, the boy's step-brother, said: "You expect there to be a level of safety so you can take your family to such displays and for them to come home at the end of the day."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/503181.stm

Adam had been excited at the prospect of flying at Phoenix Model Flying Club in Colney Heath, Hertfordshire, for the first time, he said.

But as they stood in a crowd watching a man trying to start his model aircraft in the pit area, a plane flew into the crowd and struck several people on the legs before hitting Adam, of Watford, Hertfordshire.

The plane's controller, Graham Reid, said he had shouted out when he realised he had lost control, but his voice was drowned in the noise of the engine.

Mr Reid, a former chief flying instructor at the club, said he had lost control of his model plane seconds after it took off.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Ian Cashmore said: "The verdict is not a surprise. The coroner had no option, but it does not mean that what happened to Adam on that day was actually an accident."

He said the family was considering the possibility of taking further legal action.

Roman Pirozek Jr: 19 years old, New York, USA.† He died after partially decapitated himself while performing maneuvers as the blades of the RC helicopter he was operating sliced off a piece of his skull and slashed his throat.

https://nypost.com/2013/09/05/man-decapitated-by-remote-controlled-toy-helicopter/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-decapitates-remote-control-helicopter.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-decapitates-remote-control-helicopter.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-deHYPERLINK "https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-decapitates-remote-control-helicopter.html"capitates-remote-control-helicopter.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-decapitates-remote-control-helHYPERLINK "https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-decapitates-remote-control-helicopter.html"icopter.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-decapitates-remote-control-helicopter.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/06/remote-control-helicopter-kills-teenager

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/dad-tears-son-brooklyn-toy-copter-death-article-1.1448272

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413231/Roman-Pirozek-Jr-Man-decapitates-remote-control-helicopter.html

A 19-year-old New York City man has died after partially-decapitating himself with his own remote-controlled helicopter.

Roman Pirozek Jr, was pulling a stunt with the chopper at a Brooklyn park Thursday afternoon when he lost control and the RC device flew into his head. The blades sliced off a piece of his skull and slashed his throat.

Pirozek was an avid model helicopter enthusiast, who was vice-president of a local hobby club. He posted several videos of himself flying helicopters on YouTube.

One clip shows him putting his Trex 700 helicopter through incredible tricks. The video culminates with him dropping the $1,500 model from the sky, only to restart the rotor when it is just inches from his head.

The high-end RC helicopter has a blade span of 62 inches, with a rotor that spins at more than 2,000rpm. It weighs a little over six pounds.

Pirozek's own father watched in horror as his son's helicopter slashed off a chunk of his head, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The teenager was dead when police arrived at the field. Pictures from the scene show the remote control near his covered body.

'He was known to be aggressive in his flying and often executed tricks. He was executing a trick when he was struck,' a police source told the Journal.

Pirozek and at least three other members of his model helicopter club, Seaview Rotary Wings, were at Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn, New York, near Coney Island.

The park is a designated spot for model aircraft enthusiasts to fly their creations.

https://www.pcmag.com/opinions/how-dangerous-are-rc-helicopters

Like anything large, fast, and from certain angles, presenting sharp blades, the T-Rex 700 can be a very dangerous object.

John Bowen: 20 years old, New York, USA.† He died after being struck in the head by a model plane while at a New York Jets football game when the aircraft crashed into the crowded stands during the halftime show. Kevin Rourke was another injured spectator and he suffered a concussion.

https://www.nytimes.com/1979/12/15/archives/fan-hurt-by-model-plane-at-halftime-at-shea-dies-disregard-charged.html

John Bowen, 20 years old of Nashua, N.H., died at New York Hospital Thursday of an injury suffered when the model plane crashed in the crowded stands. Mr. Bowen was struck in the head and badly cut. He underwent surgery Sunday night at Booth Memorial Medical Center in Flushing, Queens, before being transferred to New York Hospital.

The other injured spectator, Kevin Rourke, 25, of Lynn, Mass., suffered a concussion in the incident. He was listed in satisfactory condition yesterday at Booth Memorial.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/grim-reaper/

The halftime show provided for a crowd of 45,000 fans attending the Jets-Patriots football game at Shea Stadium on 9 December 1979 was an exhibition staged by the Electronic Eagles of the Radio Control Association of Greater New York. The groupís model air show, a popular entertainment previously presented hundreds of times at halftimes and other events, featured radio-controlled airplanes that performed maneuvers around the stadium, engaged in aerial dogfights, and showcased flying model planes crafted in unusual shapes.

On this occasion, however, the exhibition did not go off without a hitch. Partway through the show a model plane crashed into the football field ó a harbinger of tragedy to come, especially after the crowd began to grow concerned about how closely some of the aircraft were approaching to fans seated in the stands. As one spectator present later expressed his unease to the New York Times:

Shortly before the end of the 15-minute show, Philip Cushman, a Brooklyn auto collision repairman, lost control of the model aircraft he was guiding, a novel plane shaped like a lawnmower with a red reel and silver handle. The plane circled the stadium a few times, then abruptly nose-dived into the stands about five rows behind the Patriotsí bench on the third-base side of the stadium. As the lawnmower-shaped craft plummeted into the seats, it struck two spectators, 20-year-old John Bowen of Nashua, New Hampshire, and 25-year-old Kevin Rourke, of Lynn, Massachusetts.

Both men suffered serious head injuries from the incident. Kevin Rourke received emergency room treatment for a concussion and was admitted to a hospital for additional observation, while John Bowen, whom one observer at the scene described as looking ďlike he had been attacked by an ax,Ē underwent emergency surgery that evening. Although Rourke recovered satisfactorily and was eventually discharged from the hospital, Bowen died of his injuries four days later.

Ms Lin: 36 years old, Taiwan.† She died after being struck in the head by an RC glider from a competition taking place about 500 meters away.† Ms. Lin died instantly and her 2 year old child suffered deep cuts to his neck but survived.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3809731

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3809731

http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2019/11/david-cortina-united-states-remote.html

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3809731

https://taiwanenglishnews.com/woman-killed-by-remote-control-glider-american-taken-in-for-questioning/

A woman carrying her two-year-old child was killed instantly after a remote controlled glider struck her in the head as she strolled along a boardwalk in Kenting National Park, Saturday, November 2.

Ms Lin, 36, from Tainan City, was enjoying a day trip in Longpan Park with her family when the approximately 5 kilogram model glider being flown by a competitor in the Taiwan leg of an international slope soaring competition slammed into her and the child at around 4:50pm. Lin died on the spot, while the child suffered a deep cut to his neck.

The child was treated at a local hospital and his condition is not life-threatening.

The F3F Radio Control Slope Soaring World Cup competition was situated around 500 meters from the accident site, and it is suspected that strong wind gusts sent the glider out of control.

The competition was planned to be held from yesterday, November 2, to Monday, November 4.

However, in light of the incident, Kenting National Park Management Office ordered the event cancelled for safety considerations.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3809731

Chen Yi-li (
陳怡利), the chief prosecutor at the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office, said that forensic analysis found that Lin had suffered severe trauma to her head, prompting the office to investigate the man for negligent homicide, reported CNA. When the RC glider's pilot, identified as David Cortina, 57, was arrested at the scene, he refused to make a formal statement without consulting a lawyer and was held in custody overnight.

Cortina, a member of the California Team, who had previously participated in an event in Kenting in 2014, said he felt remorse and apologized for the incident that day. After the plane had suddenly disappeared, he said he went searching for it and panicked when he heard that it had struck a passerby.

In the afternoon, Cortina was released on NT$200,000 (US$6,500) bail, and he and Tseng face charges of negligent homicide, reported CNA. Prior to his release, Cortina was required to hand over his passport and travel documents to prevent his departure from the country as he awaits trial.

Ronald Kyle: 41 years old, Texas, USA.† He died after being struck in the throat area by an RC helicopter after the student he was teaching lost control of it.

https://www.myplainview.com/news/article/Man-killed-in-radio-controlled-helicopter-accident-9076441.php

Investigators in Houston say a radio-controlled aircraft instructor died when he was struck by a model helicopter.

The accident happened yesterday at a park in southwest Harris County.

Sheriff's authorities are looking into the death of 41-year-old Ronald Kyle of Houston.

Officials say it appears Kyle had been doing flight maneuvers with a model helicopter when he turned the controls over to the student who owns the mini-aircraft.

Authorities say the helicopter apparently went out of control and ended up flying toward the two people - and Kyle was struck in the throat area.

http://www.khou.com/news/local/houstonmetro/stories/M_IMAGE.f88d5cfcee.93.88.fa.80.1227aea4.jpg

Some children were reportedly in the park when the accident happened and may have seen it.
Its 2-inch wide blades are made of fiberglass, but the engine spins with enough power to make them dangerous -- especially if the craft gets out of control -- which appeared to be the case Sunday.

Man: 41 years old, Mauensee, Switzerland.† His lifeless body was found with severe cuts on his arms and head after flying his RC helicopter.

https://vrzone.coHYPERLINK "https://vrzone.com/articles/man-killed-by-rc-helicopter/45290.html"m/articles/man-killed-by-rc-helicopter/45290.html

A 41-year-old man was killed in a freak accident while flying his remote-controlled helicopter. The man had severe cuts on his arms and head. Local police is launching an investigation into the matter, and while the exact circumstances surrounding his death still havenít been disclosed. Itís likely to assume that the helicopter caused the injuries. The manís body was discovered by a pedestrian, about 25 kilometers from Lucerne in the Mauensee area of Switzerland.

The hobby helicopter was a Gaui X7 which usually sells for around $1,000. It weighs roughly 2.3 kg and has a 1.61 meter main rotor. It isnít hard to imagine how one might have gotten a little too close and accidentally have been cut. RC-helicopters have very high rotor speeds; many reach angular velocities of 70 rad/s, which for the X7 is like being hit by the rotor bladeís tip at 400 km/h.

Man: 53 years old, Stuttgart, Germany.† He died after being struck in the head by a small RC plane in an area popular with paragliders and model plane fans.

https://www.news.com.au/world/man-killed-by-toy-plane-in-stuttgart/news-story/a7394bd47552d0f4dde8ac8edf229fe7

A 53-year-old man died on Sunday after being struck in the head by a toy plane.

The freak accident took place in Stuttgart, Germany, when a small remote-controlled model airraft was flown at full speed into the man. He died later in hospital.

The toy was being piloted by a 45-year-old man on Gruener Heiner, a hill on the cityís outskirts.

The site is popular with paragliders as well as model-plane fans.

Police blamed the accident on strong gusts of wind as stormy weather crossed Germany.

After 13-year-old Tara Lipscombe was killed under similar circumstances in Dartford, England, in 2003, the local Council introduced a complete ban on aeromodel flying.

Milton Aliberti: 65 years old, Araraquara, Brazil. He died after being hit in the head by a model plane by a fellow flyer at a club where he was president.

https://desastresaereosnews.blogspot.com/2009/09/policia-abre-inquerito-para-investigar.html

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?1115371-Unfortunately-11th-death-in-Brasil-by-Model-Plane
(original article : http://g1.globo.com/Noticias/SaoPaulo/0,,MUL1313086-5605,00-POLICIA+ABRE+INQUERITO+PARA+INVESTIGAR+MORTE+DE+HOMEM+ATINGIDO+POR+AEROMODE.html
) - Translated Article

Police in Araraquara, 273 km from Sao Paulo, opened to determine the responsibility for the accident that caused the death of Milton Aliberti, 65, hit in the head by a model airplane on Sunday (20) at Santos Dumont Airport, located in city.

Aliberti was the founder and president of the club of model airplanes. He came to be rescued by the Mobile Service (SAMU), but died from a head injury.

Witnesses said He shouted warning entering the RunWay, as is mandatory under the rules of the club, but a guy who maneuvered one of the airplanes could not divert him and he whacked Aliberti.

The case was registered as manslaughter, when there is no intention to kill. "It investigated the safety aspect of the site, and people involved with this procedure," said the officer Antonio Luiz de Andrade. The boy who controlled the equipment should be heard by the police next week.

A Married Couple: Ocseny, Hungary. They were killed when a model aircraft crashed into a crowd of spectators which injured 4 others.

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=4ff78a25-c9ad-4734-8286-ae6467f2600a#d

A married couple attending an international model aircraft demonstration in southern Hungary Saturday were killed when one of the planes, a model Pitts biplane, suddenly crashed into the crowd.

Local news agency MTI reports the two were watching the show in Ocseny, a town about 90 miles south of the capital of Budapest. Emergency officials told MTI the couple was from the nearby city of Szekszard. Four others injured in the accident were taken to a hospital there.

It was the first time anyone in Hungary had been killed at a model airplane show, one of the show's organizers stated.

Chairman of the Hungarian Modelling Federation Andor Harmath told MTI he assumed the aircraft -- which was being controlled by who MTI described as an "experienced German operator," according to the Associated Press -- experienced interference in the signal between its controller and the receiver on the plane.