Filmed over Magazine Beach Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently, a large hawk gave Amazon a reason to rethink the company’s Prime Air drone delivery initiative. YouTube user and software developer Christopher Schmidt has been taking his Phantom FC40 quadcopter drone out into public areas to fly it around the skies a couple times each week. To capture 1080p video during his weekly flights, Schmidt uses a GoPro Hero 3+ Black attached to his quadcopter drone.
However, a large hawk took offense to the quadcopter drone loudly buzzing in the same airspace. The GoPro camera captured the hawk swooping in from above and slamming into the drone. At this point, Schmidt throttled down the props to avoid doing any serious damage to the hawk, and the drone is filmed falling to the ground, where it lands upside-down in a grassy area of the park.
According to Schmidt, the hawk zipped away and was apparently unharmed from the encounter. Detailed in the description of the YouTube video, Schmidt states, “As far as I could tell, the hawk came out unscathed, and having defeated his prey, was happy to retreat. … The quadcopter came out unscathed as well.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time birds have taken out a drone that was invading nearby airspace. During December 2013, YouTube user Buddhanz1 filmed a similar scenario where an entire flock of birds started dive bombing his DJI phantom drone. Also filmed with a GoPro Hero 3+ Black, repeated attacks from the birds ripped the battery connector, and control of the drone was slowly lost as it plummeted to the ground. The crash landing in that video seemed much more devastating to the drone hardware.