A helicopter pilot in South Carolina is blaming an encounter with a drone for causing him to crash land his aircraft. The crash occurred on Daniel Island, South Carolina on a piece of undeveloped land. Local authorities along with the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash. At 2 PM the Robinson R22 helicopter struck a tree on Daniel Island near the southern tip. Police were called to the scene of the crash at 4:30 PM.
Officers spoke to a private helicopter instructor who reported being involved in an incident in the area of Daniel Island. The instructor told police he is employed by Holy City Helicopters and was administrating a flying lesson at the time. The instructor and student were flying over the undeveloped area over Daniel Island with the student in control of the aircraft.
The instructor claims that he spotted a white DJI Phantom drone heading into the helicopters airspace and took the controls. He attempted evasive maneuvers in hopes of avoiding the drone. In doing so, the tail rudder of the helicopter hit some brush or a small tree causing loss of control.
The helicopter landed on the rear of its landing skids before turning onto its side, the report said.
“The helicopter landed in undeveloped land and could not be seen by the general public,” the report said.
After the crash, the instructor contacted the FAA, Charleston International Airport and the helicopter’s owner, the report said. The owner later determined that the aircraft was totaled following the crash.
We’ve reached out to DJI for further comment on this incident. Some online comments have raised doubts about the validity of the story given by the pilot. If we hear back from DJI we will be sure to update.
Last Updated on February 19, 2018.