According to a drone incident report that was released today, a police officer operating a drone lost control of the unmanned aircraft before it slammed into a home in the Park Lane area of Poole.
Even though the wind speeds were higher than those anticipated, gusting almost 40 mph, and went beyond the manufacturer’s suggested limitations, Dorset Police deployed a drone in Poole at 120m (400ft).
People “could have been severely injured” if they’d been on the first-floor balcony of the home it struck, according to experts. The Dorset police said it “completely” collaborated with the inquiry.
The report explains that the crashed drone was a DJI Matrice 210 V1, which is a DJI Enterprise drone that has been plagued by battery issues. The DJI Matrice 210 is an older DJI drone that now has been replaced by the DJI Matrice 300.
Crashed drone suffered battery failure
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said that one of the drone’s two batteries was switched off shortly after take-off at 11:50 p.m. on November 11, 2020. As a result of this, it was no longer possible to maintain its maximum speed.
According to the AAIB, the drone advised the pilot to “fly with caution,” but because of stronger than expected winds, he was unable to bring it back.
There was no information on the app used by the officer to operate the drone about wind speed, so he was unaware it had been exceeded.
He then noticed two messages on the controller screen: one stating “Battery communication error” and then another stating “Fly with caution, strong wind”, the report said.
The drone entered an auto-land mode (Return-to-Home) after losing communication with the pilot, but it was unable to stop itself from crashing into the side of the house.
The AAIB made three safety recommendations to DJI and one to the Civil Aviation Authority in order for drones to fly safely.
A Dorset Police representative said the agency had “worked collaboratively with the AAIB throughout its investigation” and that the drone was used “in accordance with manufacturer guidelines” in November 2020.
As part of their pre-flight checks, the police record the wind speed and direction, and “where this exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations, a drone is not deployed as air safety is a priority.”
In addition, the Dorset police have replaced their old drone models with newer ones that have a higher wind resistance capability.”
“While there were no formal recommendations for the force, a number of learning points were implemented, including ensuring that all pilots have up-to-date training and the introduction of a buddy check system,” they said.
let us know what you think about the use of drones by police forces around the world. Do you think this is a good idea or are you concerned about surveillance and privacy intrusion? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Get your Part 107 Certificate
Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.
FTC: DroneXL.co uses affiliate links that generate income.* We do not sell, share, rent out or spam your email, ever. Our email goes out on weekdays around 5:30 p.m.