NYPD Chopper Nearly Downed —by 2 Guys With Drones
Pilots had to change course to avoid collision over George Washington Bridge
By Jenn Gidman, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2014 11:41 AM CDT
Stock image   (stevemart / Shutterstock.com )

(Newser) – An NYPD helicopter nearly collided with two drones over the George Washington Bridge yesterday, resulting in a matching pair of felony reckless-endangerment charges for two men. The chopper pilots said in a police report that they were patrolling just after midnight when they "observed flying object[s] at 2,000 feet in vicinity of the bridge," reports the New York Post. After swerving to avoid a collision, the pilots trailed the drones north and alerted NYPD officers, who found Remy Castro, 23, and Wilkins Mendoza, 34, near Fort Tyrone Park.

Castro and Mendoza, who paid between $500 and $700 each for their drones, dismissed the seriousness of their offense. "It's just a toy," Castro said in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday afternoon. "The copter came to us." Mendoza, meanwhile, called the incident "crazy," and the men’s lawyer said that their drones can’t even go above 300 feet, adding, "They did nothing more than fly a kite." But a friend of the pair says they've bragged about flying at least at 5,000 feet and have been posting Instagram photos of their nightly flights.

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Showing 3 of 68 comments
Jul 9, 2014 3:15 PM CDT
the police dont own the skyies they got to lookout like everyone else.
Jul 9, 2014 6:23 AM CDT
I recently was on a job where the Construction company had on e of these drones (wonderful tool) . The 300 ft rule was understood & because of there vicinity (close to an airport) they had to call the tower ea. time they flew. Evidently these drones show up on the radar of the incoming air traffic crash avoidance systems and are confusing to the pilots. Sounds like an accident waiting to happen to me. Hey guys go to the local Hobby store and ask the location of an RC flying park & while your there you might get some insurance through the AMA you'll likely need it.
Jul 9, 2014 1:26 AM CDT
Do you know how much damage it would do to the police helicopter if it collided with the two quad-copters? None. None at all. They're plastic. They're about 13-16 inches wide, and would go to bits if hit by a helicopter rotor.