Saturday, April 12, 2014

Breaking News! Missing Aircraft Located!

David Jrrafael
Los Angeles, CA—On January 25, 2014 on a flight somewhere over the West Side of the City of Angels my Blade 350 quadcopter vanished!  I was piloting this aircraft and suddenly was blinded by the sun and never saw it again!  
The good news this aircraft was my video camera armed Spydrone and it’s unmanned!  Had this been a traditional aircraft I’d have gone missing with it just like Amelia Earhart.

If there could be good news here it's simply that a "catastrophic event" with my little quadcopter would cause less damage than a thrown soccer ball on impact with anything or anyone. 
Today is April 11, 2014, nearly three months later and I was convinced I’d never see it again.  I lost the visual of the drone near the 405 Freeway and Wilshire.   Considering the drone’s GoPro Hero 3+ camera and its 64 gig memory card together cost over $450.00 and the device itself cost around $650.00 I was in pain. 
Today I was checking responses from my blog posts and someone claimed to have found my drone.  Of course I knew one of my pals was playing a mean prank on me and this could not be for real.  
The comment however described my drone right down to a small piece of duct tape on one of the landing struts. The posted comment also had a telephone number.  I called the number and the voice on the other end sounded sincere.  I was skeptical to say the least. 
It was a young man who claimed to have found the drone on a rooftop in Westwood.  I quickly offered him a $200.00 cash reward and that seemed to please him.  I hustled over to the area where he was employed and he recognized me from my posted blog pictures. 
The fellow it turned out was David Jrrafael.  He brought me to a vacant commercial space where he had a small office.  We went in and to my amazement was my missing drone was on top of a filing cabinet.  There was no noticeable damage whatsoever to the drone or camera!
I knew the drone would fly until it ran out of battery and then land gently with a small amount of reserve power.  That’s exactly what it did! 
David is a pretty smart lad and figured he might find a lead to the owner of the drone by doing a Google search.  Using key words like, lost drone and Westwood he found my blog article lamenting this significant loss.  My blog article popped out and David knew that he had found me!
After I rewarded David for his honesty as I had promised I snapped the picture above.  I took the drone to my cave and reviewed the memory card's  video.  I watched my wayward drone slowly return to within 1/8 of a mile from where I launched it.  It landed on the roof of a building housing a popular drug store. 
David was smart enough to search with Google to inquire about the value of my lost property and sell it to the highest bidder.  Instead his moral compass operated perfectly.   
I made a new pal today as well as became reacquainted with my child that ran away.  Today was a great day for me! 
Did I learn a lesson?  In retrospect I now will place a name, phone number and e-mail address just in case something like this ever happens again. 

Details of the flight path:  I was on a parking garage roof in the 1000 block of Broxton.  I sent my drone due South and then West. 

It was approximately a good half mile away when it got between me and the sun.  That's where I was blinded and lost visual contact.  I hit the retune home control but when I could not see it I released that lever.  I looked and looked and could not see it.

It became obvious that it was around the 405 Freeway and Wilshire Blvd.  I assumed it was there or even further West. Well beyond 1/2 mile from me. 

The recovered video from the GoPro told the real story.  The drone came back but at a very high altitude that made it difficult to see.  The camera stayed pointed in the same Western direction as it came back toward me.  

What happened was I had let go of the controls and at that point the drone was approximately 300 feet East of where I was standing!  It had to pass right over my head!  

The drone was a a very high altitude and it hovered overhead until the battery drained and then it gently landed on the roof of the CVS Pharmacy on Westwood Blvd and Weyburne Ave.  I kept my eyes glued to the area where I'd last seen it.  

The video camera was facing in the wrong direction as the drone was going backwards.  At some point thereafter David was on the CVS Pharmacy roof and found it.  

Here is the video from the ill-fated flight:



Indy Reasoner said...

What a GREAT story! Glad you got it back.

Anonymous said...

It's always refreshing to find out that there are still a few honest folks out there that so the right thing. Reminds me of an incident a couple of years ago when my son lost his iPhone. He was upstairs sleeping when I got a call from his cell phone. I answered and thought he was joking around but I realized I was talking to a stranger. After a brief conversation I realized that this guy had found my sons phone, even before my son knew it was missing. I woke my son up and we went to meet up with this young man. Got the iPhone back unscathed and gave the guy $100 for his honesty.

Ed Skinner said...

You are a lucky man!

Anonymous said...

Why did you have to show me this video? Now I'm forced to buy one of these magnificant machines! Stay cam and don't panic is the word of the day!