It was around sunset on Easter Sunday, April 16, when Brad Jones took his DJI Inspire 2 out for a flight in front of his home. Jones hoped, as he does on most nights, to capture some of the forested and hilly scenery in the environs of his hometown, Oliver Springs, Tennessee—about 30 miles west of Knoxville.
He flew back westward. He had just switched the drone’s camera mode from video to taking still photos in RAW format.
“I took two pictures, then I heard the gunshot, and all of a sudden my drone started spiraling down—I’m sitting there trying to keep it aloft and there was no lift.”
A nearby neighbor, who was also in the front of his own home, turned to Jones and exclaimed: “That hit it! You just got shot! It’s going to crash!”
Indeed, Jones watched as his beloved drone came plummeting straight down onto the property of the Coalfield Seventh Day Adventist Church—right next to a neighbor’s home, where young children were playing in the backyard.
“It didn’t hit the ground as hard as it could have,” Jones said. “When it hit, it broke the left landing gear arm, snapped the molding off the Inspire. But it was still running. Didn’t damage batteries, rotors were intact. Everything was fine, except the left rear motor with a bullet hole in it.”
Jones became the fourth reported drone shooting incident that Ars has been made aware of in nearly two years.