Pilots warn drones endanger rescue helicopter safety
Marco Kostner, pilot of the Aiut Alpin Dolomites, warns of the dangers rescue helicopters face due to reckless use of drones in the mountains.
Safety warnings concerning the potentially devastating impact of drones on rescue helicopters are becoming increasingly frequent. The latest comes from Marco Kostner, the pilot of Aiut Alpin Dolomites who, speaking with the newspaper Alto Adige, stated last week "For helicopter pilots drones have become a nightmare, because more and more people use drones to make videos and movies at altitude. You come across them at 3-4 thousand meters, you rush in front of you and - at best - you see them at the last moment out of the corner of your eye: you just have to hope that they don’t enter the cockpit via the window or don’t destroy the blades, because that would be the end."
While on the one hand drones have proven to be extremely useful - see the recent rescue of Scottish mountaineer Rick Allen located high on Broad Peak thanks to a drone - if used recklessly they can be highly dangerous. The Chamonix-based mountain rescue society La Chamoniarde has published the following video to raise awareness among drone pilots on this topic.