The pilot of a drone that was hit by a Black Hawk army helicopter near Staten Island, New York, in September, was not even aware that his drone was involved in a collision. This is evident from an investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) into the incident.
The occurrence took place on September 21, 2017. The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was flying at an altitude of 100 meters southeast of Staten Island at the time of the collision, when the occupants heard a loud tap. It soon became apparent that the army helicopter had been hit by a drone, once it hit the ground, as debris from the drone - a DJI Phantom 4 - was found in the air intake of the helicopter's oil cooler.
The collision resulted in a damaged rotor blade and a dent in a window frame.
An investigation by the NTSB showed that the drone was flying no less than four kilometers away from the driver at the time of the collision, well out of sight distance. The flight took place after sunset and, moreover, at the time of the collision, a temporary flight ban was in effect for civil air traffic, including drones. The owner of the drone could be traced on the basis of serial numbers in the found part.
The drone pilot in question does not even seem to have noticed that the connection with the drone was lost. It was only when approached by the NTSB investigation team that he was told the real cause of the loss of his aircraft: until then, he had assumed that the drone had fallen from the sky and was in the sea due to a malfunction landed.
The person in question was not aware that in the US a drone must always be flown within sight distance and that it is prohibited to fly outside the daylight period. The man also had no idea that a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) had been set. He was also not notified of this in the DJI Go 4 app, since he used a tablet without an internet connection. And although the man knew that helicopters often flew in the area, he said he did not realize that his drone could pose a danger to manned air traffic.