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Tags: drone | tucson | chase

Tucson Helicopter Crew Chased Mysterious Drone 'Not Like Any Other'

customs and border patrol helicopter sits on ground
(John Moore/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 23 June 2021 01:28 PM

More details have been revealed about the mysterious drone in February that Tucson Police Department (TPD) officials described as "highly modified" after it buzzed, then led a border patrol helicopter on a high-speed chase before vanishing after an hour, DroneDJ reported on Wednesday.

A case summary of the incident details attempts by airborne police to go after and unsuccessfully identify the craft, which was described as "very sophisticated/specialized and able to perform like no other."

The updated summary, after the incident was only first revealed last month, revealed that the astonishingly powerful craft nearly collided with a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) helicopter above Tucson.

According to The Drive, the CBP helicopter described the craft as having only "a single, green position light on the underbody," but was unable to get a good enough look at it to even estimate its overall size.

After the near collision, the helicopter then chased the craft over an area of  70-miles at speeds of more than 100 mph and altitudes of up to 14,000 feet.

The craft, which violated restricted airspaces,  including those of an Air Force base and Tucson’s airport, and had maneuverability and power reserves far beyond those of a consumer drone, then suddenly disappeared.

The chasing pilots said that from the craft’s flight path it "was obvious the controller had clear sight of both the helicopters tracking it by the way it would orbit us and abruptly fly behind us and attempt to avoid our visual contact."

Though pursuing pilots had hoped the drone would use up its battery power during the hour-long chase, it "never displayed signs of reduced… or weakening power supply."

However, the TPD officers pointed out that the vehicle occasionally "appeared to move in an erratic pattern as if the signal with its home station was getting weaker, but then would stabilize and continue on its flight path."

The pilot concluded tht "It is unknown what the intentions of the sophisticated uas were during its time near the Air Force base, or how far away its origination/destination spot was," adding that the craft was quite clear though that this was not like any other uas that we have experienced."

Sources close to the probe told The Drive that while the TPD regularly deals with drones in the air, they are usually small, off-the-shelf quadcopter models.

The FBI is investigating the incident, but has apparently made little headway.

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More details have been revealed about the mysterious drone in February that Tucson Police Department (TPD) officials described as "highly modified" after it buzzed, then led a border patrol helicopter on a high-speed chase...
drone, tucson, chase
401
2021-28-23
Wednesday, 23 June 2021 01:28 PM
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