Police drone collides with police helicopter in mid-air in Canada

A police drone collides with a police helicopter in mid-air over a rural part of British Columbia, Canada in February. The drone was obliterated. The manned aircraft was damaged but was able to land safely. None of the three people on board were hurt, according to the Civilian Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System (CADORS).

Collision with police helicopter obliterates police drone

The collision happened over a rural area of British Columbia earlier this year, when a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) AS350 B3 helicopter and an RCMP SkyRanger R60 surveillance drone collided in mid-air while being on a joint mission.

The incident showed up in the Civilian Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System also known as CADORS on June 3rd, 2020.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board rated this mid-air collision between a police drone and police helicopter a five on the scale of six in terms of seriousness. It was classified as a mid-air collision that resulted in a forced landing.

TSB Report #A20P0019: C-GMPN, an Aerospatiale AS350-B3 operated by RCMP Air Services, was conducting policing activities 24nm SW of Houston (CAM5), BC with 3 persons on board. Also operating in the area were two RCMP operated RPAS* units. During low level flight (below 300 feet AGL), the helicopter and 1 RPAS (FLIR SkyRanger R60 – 2.4 kg) collided. The helicopter suffered some initial vibration and the pilot completed a precautionary landing on a road without further incident. Maintenance staff found damage primarily to the main rotor blades along with superficial damage on the tail boom and tail rotor. The effected components were removed as per the maintenance manual for repairs or overhaul as required. The RPAS was destroyed. There were no injuries to persons in the aircraft or on the ground.

*RPAS is a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

Not a lot of information is provided in the report itself, but it does show that even when a manned and an unmanned aircraft are on a joint mission safety remains of the utmost importance.

According to the report, the helicopter and the drone were involved in ‘policing activities’ about 15 miles from the city of Houston in Central British Columbia. The CADORS report does not specify the exact nature of the operation.

The helicopter and the police drone collided in mid-air about 300 feet AGL. Upon colliding the rotor blades of the helicopter obliterated the drone and a brief vibration was felt. The pilot of the helicopter landed the aircraft on a clear spot on the road below.

The precautionary landing was uneventful as reported by AVWeb and nobody was hurt or injured.

Regardless of the exact reason for the mid-air collision between the police drone and helicopter, it sure was an expensive encounter. The report said:

Maintenance staff found damage primarily to the main rotor blades along with superficial damage on the tail boom and tail rotor. The affected components were removed as per the maintenance manual for repairs or overhaul as required the RPAS was destroyed.

The police drone was made by Aeryon Labs (owned by FLIR Systems) and costs about $100,000. It’s a drone that’s popular with police departments. According to the report these drones weigh about six pounds, even though according to the manufacturer the weight is closer to 10 Lbs.

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Haye Kesteloo

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