Tucson, Arizona (KGUN) — It wasn’t a regular drone that was able to evade the Tucson police helicopter earlier this year. KGUN9 On Your Side has police reports on drones that can fly taller, faster, and longer than police pilots have ever seen.
Tucson police answered a call from a border guard helicopter on the night of February 9. The CBP crew said they were flying near Davis Monsan when the drone was about to hit a helicopter.
The TPD took the lead when both helicopters approached the drone, or when the pilot called it the UAS of the unmanned aerial vehicle system. It soon became clear that this was not an off-the-shelf drone.
According to the TPD report:
“UAS is very sophisticated / professional and could run like any other UAS I have observed.”
Your average drone is small, slower than an aircraft, and can probably stay in the air for 20 minutes before you need a new battery. The drone pilot needs to keep the aircraft low enough so that he can see where the aircraft is heading.
The green trail on the ADSB Exchange flight tracking map that night shows that the drone pulled the TPD helicopter from an altitude of 8000 feet to 10,000 feet as the police crew turned to see the mysterious aircraft better. I am.
The TPD pilot reports: “UAS was able to fly in a headwind of 40 MPH and maintain a wind speed of 100 MPH. During extended surveillance, UAS never showed signs of low power or weakened power supply. It was clearly not a phone-controlled UAS purchased in the store. “
Vic Moss is part of the Drone Service Providers Alliancen, an industry association for drone users. He states: “This isn’t a regular drone. It’s not one of the things to throw into the air at Best Buy or Amazon’s bill. Behind this drone is some serious money and some serious research. There is development. “
According to Moss, drones can fly far, fast, and high enough to sound like military hardware, but that may be the job of a sophisticated hobbyist.
“The theory is that it’s a Pentagon drone, a government drone under development, running away or doing something it shouldn’t do. It has a little more money than sense and one in the garage. Put together, it was a rich tinkerer who ran away from them or was doing what they shouldn’t. “
Moss believes the drone would not have had a marker light if it had been monitoring at Davis Monsan, and drug smugglers would have used a smaller one.
Whatever it is, the TPD helicopter crew says they were still flying when the drone was as high as 14,000 feet and the helicopter was low on fuel and had to give up tracking.
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