Bald eagle attacks and destroys a $ 995 government drone by tearing off a propeller 150 feet above Michigan
- The $ 950 drone mapped the erosion of the coastline in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
- The bird of prey attacked the device as it flees back to its pilot
- It ripped off the propeller and sent the drone to the bottom of Lake Michigan
A bald eagle attacked and destroyed a government drone flying 60 meters over Michigan.
The bird of prey ripped the propeller of the $ 995 Phantom 4 Pro Advanced quodcopter that sent the drone to the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Environmental quality analyst and drone pilot Hunter King had mapped the shoreline erosion with the device near Escanaba, on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, at the time of the July incident.
After completing about a seven-minute flight, King began to experience reception problems.
Bald eagles, which mainly feed on fish, can reach flight speeds of about 45 mph and dive speeds of 99 mph (photo file)
He pressed the button to summon the device and watched the drone make its journey back to him from his video feed,
But the eagle attacked the drone in mid-flight as it was traveling at 35 km / h, causing the plane to fly out of control.
The drone sent 27 alerts in the 3.5 seconds it took to spiral into the water, including one notifying a propeller missing.
A few birdwatchers nearby told King they had seen the eagle strike something in the sky.
The bird appeared to fly away with no apparent injuries, department officials said.
Map data showed the drone landed 150 feet offshore in 1.2 meters deep water, but officials were unable to recover the device.
The Ministry of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy confirmed the incident.
The north shore of Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula
Their drone team is considering what it can do to reduce the chances of a repeat attack, including potentially using ‘skins’ or other designs on the plane to make them look less like seagulls, the agency said.
A statement on the EGLE website said, “The attack could have been a territorial bickering with the electronic enemy, or just a hungry eagle.”
In recent decades, Michigan’s eagle populations have recovered.
A 2019 study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that 849 were active nesting sites in Michigan, an increase from a low of 76 nesting sites in the 1970s.
Bald eagles, which mainly feed on fish, can reach flight speeds of about 45 mph and dive speeds of 99 mph.