A day like any other
I took a job flying an insurance claim on a commercial property. The metal roof of the structure, metal roof bracing and communication tower to the South made this job somewhat slow. I tell new pilots, that I learn something on every flight. On this flight, I learned to clear ground hazards.
What’s that sound?
I had checked in when I got there but found no one. The gates were open and I knew they were expecting me, so I went to work. I’m concentrating on keeping my equipment out of the tangles. Pausing when I hit communication blackouts from the tower to the South. I need clear photos for the insurance company so I’m flying slow and checking my work. I vaguely remember the sound of feet running through the dirt toward me.
I’m on low battery and headed in. What jolted me out of my work mode was the caretaker yelling profanities at the dog. My host locked up the guard dog for the inspection, but a visitor had let him out.
This is one of those moments where you have to make a split-second decision. I’m looking for a fast landing place and moving back towards the gates. We are not safe. I’m either going to have to scuttle my bird or risk a dog bite. I realize as the drone approaches, Big Dog has slowed way down. He’s afraid of my aircraft.
” I realize as the drone approaches, Big Dog has slowed way down. He’s afraid of my aircraft “
No good options
These are not good options. Drone VS Dog means the dog will probably get hurt and equipment will be destroyed. But as I hover, I’m able to keep my equipment just out of his reach. The dog is really mad. But not mad enough to challenge me. I hover back and forth just long enough for my host to wrangle his dog back into his pen. I land on the roof of my car and take a deep breath. The owner re-emerges, apologizing profusely, and makes sure I’m okay.
What I learned
I got my film. The insurance company was happy. I didn’t have to spend the afternoon at the ER for me or the dog. My equipment was safe. And I learned something new.
Always clear ground hazards.