A collision involving a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter and a recreational DJI Phantom 4 drone was caused by a person who was flying the drone out of sight during a temporary flight restriction.
According to a review by the National Transportation Safety Board:
He was intentionally flying the drone out of visual range and did not have adequate knowledge of regulations and safe operating practices.”
The incident occurred on September 21, 2017 near Hoffman Island, New York, during a flight restriction in place due to presidential travel and a United Nations assembly, according to federal investigators.
The U.S. Army Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter collided with the drone at about 300 feet. The drone was completely destroyed.
The helicopter landed safely, but a 1.5-inch dent was found on the leading edge of one of the helicopter’s four rotor blades, and pieces of the drone were found in the helicopter’s engine oil cooling fan.
The drone operator did not know about the collision until he was contacted by an NTSB investigator. They said he was not aware of the flight restrictions. He also did not have a FAA remote pilot certificate.
Flight logs show that the drone operator intentionally flew 2.5 miles away, far out of sight, and was merely referencing a map on his tablet.
The NTSB said drone operators must operate their aircraft in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 101, which includes maintaining visual contact with the aircraft at all times.