A bald eagle sends a drone operated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) into Lake Michigan in an act of air superiority.
Bald eagle sends drone into Lake Michigan in an act of air superiority
In an act of air superiority, a bald eagle sends an unmanned aircraft of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy into Lake Michigan by ripping off a propeller.
According to. statement of the department, the drone, a Phantom 4, was mapping shoreline erosion near Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to document and help communities cope with high water levels when it was attacked on July 21st.
News outlet Wane reports that environmental quality analyst and drone pilot Hunter King said he had completed about seven minutes of the mapping flight when satellite reception became spotty. King pressed a button to return the $950 drone to him and was viewing his video screen when the drone began to twirl.
“It was like a really bad roller coaster ride,” said King, who looked up and saw the bald eagle flying away, seemingly unhurt by its confrontation with the drone.
Nearby two birdwatchers witnessed the attack from the bald eagle but told officials they didn’t realize a drone was involved. The unmanned aircraft, reportedly, sent 27 warning messages in the 3.5 seconds it took to plunge into Lake Michigan, including one that noted the missing propeller. Flight data showed that the drone landed in 4 feet of water about 150 feet offshore. The department has not been able to retrieve the drone.
EGLE’s drone team is now considering if any actions can be taken to reduce the possibility of a future attack, for instance, “skins” or other designs on the drone to make the aircraft look less like seagulls, the department said.
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