Private Drone Shot Down

An octo-copter is like many other privately built personal-use R/C aircraft. As the name implies, it is a copter flown with 9 motors.  We have posted articles here on tri-copters and quad-copters. The more rotors you have, the greater life you have. Depending on configuration, the greater number of rotors means greater survivability if one or more fail or are disabled.

Here is a story about an octo in Berks County, PA, that was partially disabled by gun shot. It was snooping a little too closely to a private venture involving firearms. When the attendees realized they were being spied upon, one of them decided to take action. The result? A destroyed camera, destroyed battery and damage from a hasty crash landing. Check out the video.

How does this news story apply to prepping? Well, in this link, you’ll find a discussion and a few videos on various applications for quad-copters.  As a retreat surveillance and perhaps  a potential defensive tool tool, keeping it healthy might be linked to keeping yourself healthy. While they posses the capability to be quite mobile, staying put while gathering good video can be dangerous. Like any target, when it is stationary, it is vulnerable.

I would like to offer a few suggestions for the pilot that is operating a surveillance unit.

  • Use local scenery or available treetops /building facades as visual cover. A private UAV is easily seen against the sky, if one looks up. Their generally dark color makes for great contrast.
  • When staying in one location for filming, it should be as stationary as possible to avoid motion detection by trained eyes.
  • The operator’s filed of view is limited to what the camera (s) can see. Scan the area prior to ingress for vulnerable blind spots.
  • Altitude is your friend.
  • If possible, keep a visual on the craft, and don’t rely on the on-board camera for guidance unless necessary.
  • GPS with Return to Base features are nice, if they work.

This operator was lucky. The gun shot killed the camera battery, the camera itself, and only damaged the inertial feedback for the RTB add-on feature. If the shot had hit the receiver, controller board, motor battery or two adjacent motors, the craft might have crashed outright. He was very fortunate to get it back in as good as shape as he did.

To counter this craft without gunfire, the creative retreat owner might consider a simply device that drops a length of yarn above the intruder.  With weights along its length, the fouler would land over the intruder’s props and jam the motors. Instant crash. It’s relatively easy to approach one of these from a blind spot above and behind.


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