It wasn't my b400. It's not quite ready to go again yet, and being an old a&p mech, I wouldn't do that anyway. I've never flown at Cherry Creek.
VitaminJ I was flying at about 2,000 feet when you were up at 5,800. Derrick could see me and was calling out where to go and when to turn. Maintaining level flight in LOS with the smallish aircraft that you and I have might be a challenge though, without a variometer.
Well I just saw an interview with a former FAA Safety Administrator of 20+years about this and he said it was not likely to have been an RC craft and he was glad to have actually heard the radio conversation between the pilot and the tower (this was the first time I heard it as well). On that tape he says "an RC aircraft or SOMETHING", even he was not sure what he saw (and there was NO panic in his voice so it was not close enough for a collision IMHO). I have a hard time believing that a pilot flying an aircraft had enough time to look out of his window and positively say it was an rc plane. I know they look out of the windows all the time but given the proximity to the airport and his altitude AGL for all we know he was on approach or had just taken off and would have been too busy to positively ID the object.
I mean really the vast majority of us fly planes under 60 inch wingspans so identifying it without doubt would be damn near impossible at 250knots which is likely what the commercial aircraft's speed was. I mean the average person can only ID an average sized Man's silhouette at 300 or so meters and the average man is 5'09" tall which is longer than the average wingspan of our planes. So for this pilot to have been able to ID this object as an RC aircraft they would have had to have been moving at least at an oblique angle towards him and passed within 100 meters.
I think what he saw was most likely a silhouette at a close distance (within 500 meters) and the first thing he thought of was an RC aircraft. It is likely he knows about the club just a hop skip and a jump a way from the area and he made an assumption. I mean according to the former FAA Administrator there are birds with 10foot wingspans that frequent that area.
Now I am not saying he didn't see an RC Aircraft (FPV or otherwise) but I doubt we will ever know for sure.
"He who turns himself into a beast gets rid of the pain of being a man. I became the God Damn Honey Badger."
I don`t think anyone can read into it very much, you don`t get many FPV planes the size of a predator drone and you certainly don`t get birds that big, but all were covered in that video. So the only thing certain is that no one was certain what it was at all
"If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking."
- Benjamin Franklin
Indeed, and I would suggest if anyone was flying a very large FPV craft in the area it'd be someone on the forums... You don't just go and buy a large FPV bird - it takes research and work which will lead you to forums like this one.
The vast majority of people capable of such a thing would be more sensible i think.
For what it's worth, I've occasionally seen large rc gliders while on approach (there is an RC club at about 6 or 7 miles final on 05 in GVA, so we're at about 1800-2100ft agl at that point) but bugger me they are hard to spot even when you're looking. It would have had to have been very close to grab the pilot's attention IMO. What's my point? When things are very close, they whizz by very fast when you are doing a good 180 knots on the way down the ILS... The pilot probably only got a quick glance before it disappeared from view.
That really means it could have been anything...
Last edited by Zeeflyboy; 17th May 2012 at 12:07 PM.
I think you are grossly mistaken if you think a pilot can't ID what he sees at altitude. I fly an RV4 which likes to fly between 180-200mph and have flown by eagles, hawks and kids balloons and had no doubt in my mind what I saw. I believe I saw a crow(!) or small black bird once and that is the only sighting I was unsure of. I wouldn't call it frequent but probably 10-15 times in 800hr of fixed wing time. Air traffic at or below 2500ft close to an airport has a 230mph speed restriction and under 10000ft is 288mph. If he said he saw a bird or a small rc/uav I'd believe him. It is not uncommon for pilots to call in bird activity as a warning to other pilots BTW.
Moral of this tale, fly Alulah's painted like eagles
Have you never had it when you look up from the instruments at the last second when the shadow passing the cockpit catches your eye? I know I have...
The fact that the pilot said "or something" suggests he only caught a glance
Equally I've hit plenty of birds in the past few years on approach and on takeoff, and have never been in doubt about what I hit, and flown past weather balloons at 38,000 feet at mach .79... So I guess it depends on how the pilot saw it. The choice of words does suggest he only just caught a glimpse however.
Last edited by Zeeflyboy; 17th May 2012 at 12:17 PM.