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Lost above the rooftops of the city: Drone disappears without a trace in Bonn city

Lost above the rooftops of the city : Drone disappears without a trace in Bonn city

Drone pilot Sebastian Heider lost his drone over the rooftops of Bonn city center on Wednesday when he wanted to capture images of the Christmas market. He is now looking for clues as to what happened and offering a reward for its return.

It suddenly became a drone that no longer did what the owner wanted it to do and it disappeared without a trace. That's what pilot Sebastian Heider from Bonn experienced when he lost control of his "DJI Mavic Pro Platinum" in the city center on Wednesday.

Heider was there to take pictures of the Bonn Christmas market and the City Skyliner tower. He had obtained permission from the public order office, the police and the university. The only condition was that he not maneuver the drone directly over people at the Christmas market and in the city center. Two positions had been approved by the authorities: the roof of the "Sinn" fashion store and the roof of Bonn University.

The drone had already seen 300 flights, 45 flying hours and 400 kilometers. And flying is not only Heider's hobby, he takes aerial photographs for various clients. According to Heider, the flight over the fashion store "Sinn" went without a hitch and then he went to the Hofgarten in Bonn. After he had set up the drone, he started it and positioned it above the university up in the air. "At some point I realized that I no longer had any control," said Heider in response to a GA inquiry.

Heider offers reward for the missing drone

He's been flying for seven years, but that's never happened to him before. "I have done many flights, so I know what I'm doing," says Heider. There was always a connection between his remote control and the drone, 100 meters away, he says. But on this day, he could no longer control the 30 x 30 centimeter flying object, which weighs one kilogram. Besides that, it drifted away in the wind, which is normally not possible, as it can hold its position through a special mechanism. The mode to get the drone to return to the pilot did not work either.

One day after the incident, he suspects a software error. He wrote a post on Facebook and hopes that someone has found the drone. He also contacted the manufacturer to report the bug.

Heider can imagine that his "DJI" was either picked up and taken by someone or stuck on a roof. He is currently looking at the roof of the University of Bonn, where he received the last two GPS data. He also contacted the university to get possible information about the whereabouts of his 1,500 euro drone. If someone found his drone, Heider wants to pay a reward. On the device there is a name tag with his address and telephone number.

Drone pilots have to take a few things into account

"The drone is not fault-free," says Heider. " If you fly with it, you have to follow some rules." Theoretically, someone could be injured. The German Air Traffic Act (insurance obligation according to Section 43 Para. 2 of the Air Traffic Act) obliges you to take out insurance. Without insurance, high fines are imposed.

As a general rule, the pilot may only operate his drone within visual range. Flying over industrial and railway facilities, crowds, nature reserves and airport control zones is prohibited. The drone pilot also has to pay attention to weather conditions and obstacles in the flight path at all times. With insurance coverage, a flight altitude of 100 meters is permitted, but flying is prohibited at night. However, there is the option of obtaining special permits if you can show proof of a drone driver's license.

Orig. text: Felix Schröder

Translation: ck