Drone Manufacturer: DJI
Drone Model: Air 2S
Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Pilot Qualifications: Licensed or Certificated by Aviation Authority
Pilot Flight Experience: 15 Hours
Link to External Information About This submission: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/62cd76ad8fa8f54e81e2ceee/DJI_Air_2S_UAS_reg_n-a_08-22.pdf
File Uploaded: None
While a DJI Air 2S (Air2S) unmanned aircraft (UA) was being flown in a low hover over a
group of children one of them attempted to grab it and their hand touched the rotor blades. The aircraft became destabilised, briefly lost height and injured the child. The pilot reflected that he should not have been flying his aircraft so close to the children.
History of the Flight
The incident pilot was flying his Air2S in Welfare Park, Huthwaite (Figure 1) when some children who were in the area “took an interest” in it. The pilot began flying the aircraft “a few feet above their heads” and they started to chase it. He then brought the UA to a GPS-stabilised hover, at which point a 3-year-old child “jumped up” and tried to catch it. The child managed to reach up and touch the rotor blades which destabilised the aircraft. The UA briefly lost height and its blades struck the child, making two significant cuts on their face as well as smaller cuts to their nose, chin and fingers. The facial cuts required hospital attention. After striking the child, the UA automatically re-established its hover and the pilot flew it away from the children. The child’s injuries were assessed as minor.
The Air2S was a commercially available UAS comprising a UA, with a nominal takeoff weight of 595 g, and a handheld remote control module. The system was required to be operated in accordance with UK regulations for UAS operations. The Air2S aircraft was too heavy for the A1 Open subcategory but, subject to a remote pilot’s qualifications, could be flown in either the A2 or A3 Open subcategory.
The incident pilot was also the operator of the UAS and was in possession of valid ‘flyer’ and ‘operator’ IDs issued by the CAA. He had not gained an A2 CofC qualification. The children were not participating in the UAS operation and had not received any safety instructions from the incident pilot. The pilot reported being surprised when the child jumped up and reflected that, in hindsight, he should not have been flying his UA in the area.
The Air2S UAS was covered by, and its operator responsible for compliance with, the UK regulations for UAS operations. The incident UAS’s operator was also acting as the remote pilot and was responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft, including compliance with the ANO, while it was in flight. As defined in CAP722D, in relation to the operation of the incident UAS, the injured child was an uninvolved person. The incident pilot held the appropriate authorisations to fly the Air2S under the A3 Open category, which required a minimum horizontal separation of 50 m from uninvolved persons and 150 m from areas used for residential, commercial, industrial or recreational purposes. These required separation minima were not maintained.
Pilot error. This incident occurred when a UA operated in the A3 Open category was flown closer to uninvolved persons than allowed for under the applicable regulations. Had the regulated horizontal separation minima been observed, the incident could not have occurred.