‘Brazen’ bald eagle attack sends government drone to watery grave

 Do not belief a bald eagle round a drone.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Because the daybreak of drones, a quiet struggle has been raging, and drones are dropping. A Michigan bald eagle did not take kindly to the Michigan Division of Atmosphere, Nice Lakes, and Power (EGLE, appropriately) working a drone in its territory final month. 

According to a Thursday statement from EGLE, drone pilot Hunter King, an environmental high quality analyst, was flying the $950 Phantom 4 Pro Superior drone to research shoreline erosion alongside Lake Michigan on July 21. He had referred to as the drone again after a brief flight when the eagle “launched an airborne assault.”

King witnessed the aftermath when he noticed the eagle flying away and the drone lacking. “It was like a extremely unhealthy curler coaster experience,” King stated of what he noticed on the drone-tracking video display screen. A pair of birdwatchers close by confirmed the eagle’s drone kill.

Regardless of intensive searches, the drone was not recovered. Flight information confirmed it took a nosedive 150 toes offshore into the chilly waters of Lake Michigan. 

This reveals the drone’s ultimate, fateful flight path.

Michigan Division of Atmosphere, Nice Lakes, and Power

“Its velocity immediately dropped from 22 mph to 10. Inside a half-second the flight document reveals the start of downward spiral together with ‘extreme spinning’ warnings,” EGLE said in recounting the drone’s final moments. The drone additionally warned that one in every of its propellers had been torn off.

EGLE is left to take a position about what might need triggered the assault, which can have been territorial or could have been a mistake if the eagle thought the drone is likely to be edible. 

“EGLE’s drone workforce is contemplating steps to scale back the potential for a repeat assault, together with probably utilizing “skins” or different designs on the plane to make them look much less like seagulls,” the group reported.

This is not the one drone to have fallen foul of the talons of an eagle. Wedge-tailed eagles in Australia took down a series of unmanned aerial vehicles operated by a mining firm. Police in the Netherlands were looking into using eagles to grab unwelcome drones out of the air.

The Michigan Division of Pure Assets weighed in on whether or not the eagle might be cited for its act of vandalism. “Sadly, there’s nothing we will do,” a spokesperson told EGLE. “Nature is a merciless and unforgiving mistress.”

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Amanda Kooser