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HelicopterCrashed? Discussion and Photos › autonomous ops caused crash
07-13-2008 12:04 AM  9 years agoPost 1
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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While visiting friends in California:

On July 11th 2008 from 4pm to 8pm Students of the California State University Northridge Department of Engineering and Computer Science were flying an autonomous helicopter at the Sepulveda Basin Radio Controlled Airfield. The students had erected a high-gain radio antenna system with high power radio transmitting equipment.

I was flying a radio controlled helicopter at the same time using a 2.4 GHz XPS brand radio link system that I had flown hundreds of times at this same airfield with out incident or loss of communications. On my third flight during the time the students were operating their equipment, I lost radio contact with my helicopter at about two hundred feet altitude well within normal flight parameters flying straight and level. My on board radio receiver went into failsafe mode and shut the engine off that resulted a crash causing over a thousand dollars worth of damage.

Upon investigation of the crash we could find no problems with my electronics and were unable to pinpoint the cause of the loss of my radio link. On the bench at the field we able to re-establish the radio link using all the same equipment including batteries. My helicopter was also equipped with an on board electric generator for recharging the on board battery providing a redundant power system.

The only conclusion that we could come with that there was radio interference caused by the experiment being conducted by the students at the same time I was flying.

According the AMA regulations that govern use of this public radio control airfield field autonomous flight is not permitted.

In conclusion I intend to pursue compensation for the damages to my aircraft caused by this illegal use of the airfield by students from the University of Northridge.

So you think this is reasonable?

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07-13-2008 02:07 AM  9 years agoPost 2
rsalazar

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Florida, USA

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In conclusion I intend to pursue compensation for the damages to my aircraft caused by this illegal use of the airfield by students from the University of Northridge.

So you think this is reasonable?
I think it is, but my question to you is: Can you prove that it was them? You have to really proved that they were the cause of the interference, and the crash occurred because of what they were doing.

You need to do your research really well, and find as much evidence as you can to prove your case. You need demonstrate that they created the problem. Otherwise, the university is not going to do anything about you crash or even give you the time of the day.

If you do not have concrete evidence, it is going to be your word against the students and their professor.

Also, did they have an aggreement with the Sepulveda Basin Radio Controlled Airfield, in term of flying an autonomous helicopter.

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07-13-2008 03:57 AM  9 years agoPost 3
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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My hope is that the University would rather pay me off than have to defend themselves and risk having to explain to the public why they would allow students to break the law and endanger the public by allowing their equipment to cause other aircraft to malfunction or having their own fly away in a heavy urban environment and damage property or injure people.

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07-13-2008 05:15 AM  9 years agoPost 4
jb_turner

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USA

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So you thumbed your heli in the dirt and you want someone else to pay?

JB "Do a SEARCH" Turner

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07-13-2008 05:35 AM  9 years agoPost 5
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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witneses and crash damage indicated engine wasn't running.

I wasn't doing 3d and there was plenty of time to have brought it out of the dive from straight and level flight at 200 feet to an auto if I had control.

It was a lockout plain and simple. And I don't fly with my thumbs I have an FC28 in a tray so I squeeze the sticks between my thumb and forefinger so I don't give my thumbs a chance to be "DumB'

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07-13-2008 05:40 AM  9 years agoPost 6
PonyExpress

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Ft. Wayne,IN

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So the helicopter didn't have a problem till the third flight.

The students had been conducting the experiment from 4-8PM. For 4 hours you had no problem and then all of a sudden your helicopter malfunctioned on the third flight.

That's just poor sportsmanship. Think about all the people in that are alive today because of the autonomous Predators.

Wow! The Sepulveda Basin Radio Controlled Airfield board of directors even had advised park users not to use XPS radio link at the facility. Apparently the system had been suspect to have crashed over a dozen aircraft there over the course of 6 months. Many 10k plus jets. So much that the club had the company come to the field and conduct frequency trials in 2007.

I think you’re looking around for someone to point a finger at and sounds to me like you’re looking for a pay off.

John Henry

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07-13-2008 05:47 AM  9 years agoPost 7
PonyExpress

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Ft. Wayne,IN

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Also what where you flying and what high power radio transmitting equipment where they using to bring it down?

John Henry

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07-13-2008 07:06 AM  9 years agoPost 8
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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I didn't know that the XPS was not advised at the Basin, I wish someone had posted this info on the bulletin boards at the airfield!

Would anyone from XPS care to comment.

According to the website of the students they had a fifteen mile range with the high gain antenna.

Flying a Vario Benzin.

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07-13-2008 04:54 PM  9 years agoPost 9
baddynergy

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sierra madre, ca-​usa

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My buddy put in 2 birds in 2 weeks with XPS. Turns out it was a bad module in the radio. Not a good design if you ask me. And YES, XPS is NOT recommended at the Basin.

**Unattended children will be givin a shot of espresso and a puppy**

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07-13-2008 05:20 PM  9 years agoPost 10
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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are there any other places on earth were XPS is not recommended?

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07-15-2008 07:14 AM  9 years agoPost 11
PonyExpress

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Ft. Wayne,IN

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Alright now Airpup what high power transmission equipment was being used?

Now I e-mailed a guy that was out there last Friday that watched this happen first hand. He watched you with his own eyes 1# not flying a Vario Benzene like you had stated but a big bright orange gasoline helicopter with some massive training gear that tells me you’re just learning to fly.

He then continues to say that you didn't have radio trouble like you said, but you continually overloaded the motor with constant major climb outs that would drastically drop the engine RPM on an already hot day. So your motor wasn't in lock out it stalled from your own abuse.

He then closed by saying the only reason he and several of his friends noticed you was because of the engine strain you where subjecting to your not Vario helicopter. Then they continued to watch you because how many times your helicopter looked like it had already been crashed and they bet it was going to crash again.

Sure enough you stalled it and screwed up the autorotation on top of it. Then you talked about how Joseph was already half way done building you another one that you wouldn't have all the issues with.

John Henry

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07-15-2008 02:57 PM  9 years agoPost 12
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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could you please foward his email. I could use another expert witness in addition to the ones I already have.

Who's Joseph?

What issues?

It was a beautiful flying bird that at least six years old attesting to the quality of the build and its maintainence.

It wasn't that hot a day being in the late afternoon about 85.

Yes i do have tall landing gear because I fly alot in tall bush and land in the middle of dirt roads and dirt fields and practice autos all the time.

I don't think that anything to do with flying abilities.

Its nice to know that witness looking at my machine knew exactly what my controls were doing with my back turned to them.

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07-15-2008 04:34 PM  9 years agoPost 13
PonyExpress

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Ft. Wayne,IN

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"could you please foward his email. I could use another expert witness in addition to the ones I already have."

You know that is a really good idea. I'll forward the e-mail to the University of Northridge. If they know about this I am sure they would be intrested in it.

Anyone else that thinks they have any information should also e-mail the university. They don't have an e-mail listed but this is the e-mail link they have on thier website.

http://www.csunuavproject.com/?sid=contactus

John Henry

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07-15-2008 10:58 PM  9 years agoPost 14
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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Yes, please send the email to the University, the FAA, The City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation and any other government entity that would would be interested in autonomous flight ops at a public RC airfield!

This an email I got from the professor at the University

In a message dated 7/14/2008 8:28:31 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, xjgeng@csun.edu writes:
Hi,

Thank you for your concern. We are aware of all the regulations. The CSUN helicopter team has been using the Sepulveda basin for pilot training and aircraft caliboration purposes for four years. Our aircraft is not ready for autonomous flight yet, hopefully soon.

This is what I emailed them back:

Geng
What concerns me is the illegal high power radio transmitters and high gain antennas that are being used experimentally by your students in close proximity to other users at the field who are relying upon legal radio equipment to control their aircraft.

Can you assure the general public who use the field and live in the nearby communities that the University supplied radio equipment will not affect other radio controlled aircraft flying at the field?

Is the University prepared to take financial responsibility for any incident that may cause injury to public by the experiments and "aircraft calibration" activities being conducted at the field?

Are your pilots AMA members that can be covered by their membership liability insurance for activities involving autonomous flight preparations?

Are the local government authorities aware of your activities at the field and would they approve?

Apollo field is a very important to many of us and would your use of it the jeopardize its existence if a fly a way would occur that resulted in property damage or injury.

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07-16-2008 12:06 AM  9 years agoPost 15
red_sash

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Canberra, Australia

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Flimsy

May have a case, but your evidence is very flimsy, circumstantial etc, if not non-existant. You have no proof that it was the Uni.

It would be like me saying you used your mobile phone, got a message on your pager, or even just started your car, and down went my heli. May have been, but no evidence, and very very hard to prove. Defence would say your equipment failed, pilot error, and at this stage that has just as much weight and evidence as your side of the story.

Stalemate (unless it gets costly with experts, advisors), benefit of the doubt to the Uni, loss of finances and loss of face on your side.

Not biased here, just how I read it I do some contract preparation, other legal work for govt, but no highly paid lawyer). Might not work out the way you want, and may just have to suck it up mate.

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07-16-2008 12:36 AM  9 years agoPost 16
PonyExpress

rrNovice

Ft. Wayne,IN

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I did some research on the high power transmitter that airp**p clams brought down his helicopter. On the University website they list this. Model: XEB09-C
Frequency of Operation: 900MHz
Outdoor range: Up to 2 mi (3.2 km) w/ 2.5 dB dipole antenna - Up to 15 mi (24 km) w/ high gain antenna
When I looked it up here:
http://www.bb-elec.com/bb-elec/lite...t-Bridge_ds.pdf

I realized every other office and business in nearby communities uses this same off the shelf transmitter for there computer networks and servers...

The reason they use a high gain antenna is because the transmitter might put out 10Mw which 100 times less power than airups XPS radio.

The International Aerial Robotics Competition has so many safety requirements for it that it would be safe to say it couldn't be any safer to operate an R/C helicopter.

http://avdil.gtri.gatech.edu/AUVS/IARCLaunchPoint.html

Now airup I refuse to do any work for you especial since it sounds like you already lack on your homework. So I'm not e-mailing anyone for you slacker. Seriously an autonomous helicopter that would probably fly back home if it lost radio contact seems allot safer than your helicopter that dumb thumbed out of the sky and probably flailed across the park out of control knocking over the teeter totter. I think you are throwing rocks around our glass house. After reading the specs and requirements from the university website then looking up their equipment that they use, then where they are probably using it and then the competitions rules that govern it, I would be left to say e-mail everyone in the government and make them aware of the RC hobby today. After that perhaps the government will mandate us all to have the same safety features the university helicopter has to have. That is a great idea add $6000 to every bodies rc aircraft. Maybe you don't care because that's the way you swing in New Brunswick.

John Henry

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07-16-2008 03:07 AM  9 years agoPost 17
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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Let the back peddling begin.

All of the network systems you speak of are more than a mile away in any direction and are usualy incased in steel and concrete structures limiting their effective range. The High gain antenna erected by the students with a 15 mile range was less than three hundred feet away from my helicopter.

Our authority to fly model aircraft is under FAA circular AC 91-57.

AMA members are covered under insurance for this activity so if I knock over that teeter toter I'm covered as long as I don't violate the rules.

2008 Official
Academy of Model Aeronautics
National Model Aircraft Safety Code
Effective January 1, 2006

10. The operator of a radio-controlled model aircraft shall control it during the entire flight, maintaining visual contact without enhancement other than by corrective
lenses that are prescribed for the pilot. No model aircraft shall be equipped with devices which allow it to be flown to a selected location which is beyond the visual
range of the pilot. Wouldn't 15 miles be beyond the visual range of the PIC.

If I violate this rule I won't be covered. Please notice it says "equipped with devices" not flown with devices. The University had an aircraft equipped with a device. Now you may say this is a matter of semantics.

AVIATION SAFETY
UNMANNED AIRCRAFT PROGRAM OFFICE
AIR-160
Interim Operational Approval Guidance 08-01

4.2 Special Airworthiness Certificate
Civil applicants are required to apply for a special airworthiness certificate, typically, an experimental certificate. The applicant is required to submit the requisite data to support a determination that the aircraft and its systems, including the control station(s) is designed, built, and maintained in a safe and airworthy condition. Experimental certificates are typically issued for a period of up to one year. Experimental certificates are typically issued to industry and manufacturers wishing to accomplish UAS research and development, testing, crew training, and market survey in accordance with 14 CFR Part 21.191. In cases where an applicant has been issued a special airworthiness certificate, and concurrently operates a corresponding UAS on a COA in support of a public activity, the applicant must elect, prior to each flight, what authority is to be used to conduct the flight. The use of both a special airworthiness certificate and a COA authorization on a single flight is not permitted.

Do you think the University had aquired an "Air worthiness Certificate" or COA for their UAS machine?

Operations not requiring a pilot certificate: The PIC may not be required to hold a pilot certificate for operations approved and conducted solely within visual line of sight in Class G airspace. For the PIC to be exempt from the pilot certificate requirement the following conditions must exist and the alternate compliance method described below must be followed:
• The operation is conducted in a sparsely populated location, and,
• The operation is conducted from a privately owned airfield, military installation, or off-airport location.
• Visual line of sight operations conducted no further than 1 NM laterally from the UAS pilot and at an altitude of no more than 400 feet above ground level (AGL) at all times.
• Operations shall be conducted during daylight hours only.
• Operations shall be conducted no closer than 5 NM from any airport or heliport.

Note the last line: "No closer than five miles from any airport" I believe Van Nuys Airport is within 5 miles of the Basin.

Do you think the University had a PIC (Pilot in Command) who held a pilot certificate or a transponder?

If I'm not mistaken I believe the FAA trumps the AIRC requirements.

Doesn't teaching also include learning, following and respecting the rules of the nation or does all that get tossed out the window by the Ivory Towers!

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07-16-2008 03:57 AM  9 years agoPost 18
PonyExpress

rrNovice

Ft. Wayne,IN

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OK, I guess we both have our resolve. I thought this was a high powered transmission problem that shot down your helicopter. Yet you continue to shoot off in this UAV direction.
So you just go on believing a low powered wireless router that wasn't even close to your XPS transmission frequency shot you down.

I'll just go on my happy way after you have proven to me you can't fix stupid. I thought I could but obviously your head is in cased in the concrete and steel you mentioned before. Do you see the High Powered transmitter there too?

John Henry

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07-16-2008 04:17 AM  9 years agoPost 19
airpup

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New Brunswick, New​Jersey

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So I guess your mode of operation is personnal attack until some comes back and beats you into submission. Next time bring some intelligence to this forum by refraining from responding with attacks.

Red Sash thank you for your well constructed response.

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