Two Drones Nearly Hit a Helicopter, and the Men Responsible React in the Most Immature Manner Possible


At about 12:15 midnight, Remy Castro and Wilkins Mendoza were flying their two quadcopters over George Washington Bridge in New York; at the same time, an New York Police Department chopper was present and patrolling the area – the two remote controlled quadcopters were headed straight for it. Luckily, the NYPD officers present noticed the two of them, and had to divert the chopper’s direction to avoid hitting the two of them.

Had one of the quadcopters hit the propeller of the chopper, things could have gotten ugly. There were a number of ways things could have gone wrong in this situation, and it shouldn’t be happening in the first place if we expect to be able to keep our right to freely use quadcopters in the US. If you follow this website at all, you know our stance on photography and how it relates to the law; but as supportive as we are of the right to use these devices, we can’t be surprised when regulations get put up because of things like this.

The two men that manned the quadcopters were immediately arrested after the NYPD traced the flying devices back to them. And even after they were taken in, they spewed out dialogue that was nothing short of immature and inexcusable. One of them told the Criminal Court that it was “just a toy” and that they “were just playing with it“.

I made a promise earlier on that I won’t refer to quadcopters as drones anymore. It does nothing to improve the image of quadcopters, and it gives it a bad undertone already, given the current political climate. We need to be able to help authorities understand aerial photography, and how we use quadcopters. We need to be able to show them that it’s not as bad as they think it is. And that’s exactly why we should take the two guys here as an example of how not to present ourselves when controlling one of these devices. Right now, this story’s about to go viral, and the word “drone” is about to get a lot more buzz. People love to read controversy, and none of that will help the quadcopter’s image.

Look at the title of this post. Because it has the word “drone” in it, more people are going to click it. Because the men acted “in the most immature manner” possible, more people are going to read what that manner could be. And whatever reputation these flying devices hold will worsen because of every website that jumps on “DRONE”. Let’s try not to give people another reason to have to use that word for quadcopters again.

[NY Post via Fstoppers]

  • JDavid

    This is why we can’t have nice things. Idiots pick up the controls and think they own the skys.

  • Wil Fry

    I’ll quibble with “most” and “possible” in the headline. I can think of a few ways they could have acted less maturely about it. But you’re right that a few bad apples could spoil it for the whole bunch.

  • Peter Nissen

    Even here in Canada people are flying these things over airports etc, before you know you would need a license and insurance to fly them!!!

  • Matthew Wagg

    So wait, you want to distance away from calling quadcopters drones and yet you use the word as clickbait… Hypocrisy much?

    • Alex_L_H

      It’s to make a point, and it isn’t incorrect.

  • Alex_L_H

    Rather like here in Ontario (Canada) electric bicycles & scooters do not require a license or insurance, but I will see people riding them in a foolish manner guaranteed to cut that short. a few years back “any valid license” was sufficient to ride a 50cc moped, but because people were idiots they rolled out a specific class of motorcycle license 😛

    • GS_790

      Things that look like something, but aren’t perceived that way some users. Have you ever been boating? Ever notice how personal watercraft (i.e. jetskis) tend to do very foolish things? You know, like it seems the operators are under the impression that it isn’t a boat?

      It has been said before, I think these devises have improved and proliferated faster than government ability to set up baseline rules: you know, like how cars drive on the right (in the US). In lieu of existing model existing model aircraft laws (I’d bet a lot more cities do than don’t… so start there), do you think a service ceiling of 200 feet above the floor (I mean floor to include the roof of a building, so 300 feet to the ground if it’s over a 100 foot building), not within 1,000 feet of an airport or helicopter landing, and not over private property without consent, could service as good initial set from which cities could then give more detail or (gasp) expand appropriate usage?

  • chris

    A propeller on a helicopter? Maybe if they got sucked inside a jet engine the toys would cause some damage to real aircraft. If they had come onto contact with the rotor they would be in a million pieces.

  • catlett

    The men in question have also stated that the police helicopter actually approached their quad copter which may well be the truth. It may well be that in this case the police wanted to make an example of someone and that they didn’t act poorly at all.

  • Josh

    Try doing your research before you start criminalizing our hobby. The police chopper approached the quads. Not the other way around.

    • mzungu

      Rules says manned aircraft have the right of way, and model aircraft is suppose to stay away from manned aircraft, even when they are approaching you. and the RC plane is way above 400 ft ceiling for RC planes. The transcripts also said that the RC are buzzing around the police copter….

  • Fred

    irresponsible individuals will cause problems for responsible owners of any products including quadcopters, cameras, electric bikes and the list goes on. Using any product that can cause harm to others must be used in a responsible maner ( firearms included). JMHO

  • Shachar Weis

    New development, NYPD lied about almost everything involving this incident. Shocker !

  • Love

    New development, NYPD lied about almost everything involving this incident. Shocker!

  • Chris Hutcheson

    Last line in the Motherboard article – and I think it would be hard to disagree with this point – “Again, not very bright to fly a drone near a bridge—but reports that the drone actively flew at the police helicopter appear to be outright false.”