Bald eagle will hunt down drones during Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Bald eagle will hunt down drones during Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The huge raptor will keep the air free of UFOs (uninvited flying objects)

Let’s face it, remote-control aerial drones might take great photos and videos, but at car shows and concours they are generally an obnoxious nuisance. Plus, they can endanger both expensive automobiles and human spectators because, and this has been known to happen, they sometimes crash.

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, which apparently has had its fill of UFOs (uninvited flying objects), has called in a semi-retired “member” of the state’s Air National Guard for help. This addition to Amelia’s permanent staff is a highly regarded expert in airport-runway pest control and uniquely suited to the task of bringing down drones.

The new hire is Aerial Security Officer Col. Daniel Sexton Gurney Eagle, A.A.P. (Apex Aerial Predator), D.F.A. (Death From Above), who is an actual, living bald eagle trained in the pursuit of errant creatures and devices, and previously has proved highly capable and enthusiastic about performing such an assignment.

Drone hunting eagle will watch over Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The Amelia Island Concours would not be a good place to crash a drone | Bob Golfen

Col. Eagle, as the huge raptor is known, is employed by the Air National Guard at Jacksonville International Airport. During the 2018 concours, he also will maintain control above the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island resort and adjacent golf course where the concours and associated events are held, and at nearby Fernandina Beach Airport.

Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, said in a news release, “The Colonel, or ‘Sir’ as we call him here at Amelia Concours HQ, has assured us that there will be no drones operating above The Amelia, Cars and Coffee at the concours, the Porsche Driving Experience or any other activity during Amelia Concours Weekend. Period. No exceptions. No excuses.”

The drone-catching eagle is not unique, with police and military agencies around the world utilizing the birds’ natural instinct to chase and nab the flying machines. Eagles in the wild also have been known to attack drones for whatever reason.

Warner noted that drone operators will have scant opportunity to reason with the Colonel as he swoops down on the buzzing offenders.

“With a resume and skills like Col. Eagle’s, one can do pretty much whatever one wants, wherever he wants, whenever he wants and however he wants,” Warner noted.

The Amelia Island Concours weekend is scheduled March 9-11, 2018, at The Golf Club of Amelia Island and the Ritz-Carlton, with about 250 special collector vehicles on display during the annual concours d’elegance March 11.

A new special feature will be looking up, watching for the eagle in action. Here’s hoping some wrong-headed drone operators make an appearance despite the warning.

For information about Amelia Island events, visit the concours website.


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  • C. Jennings Frazier-Smith
    November 8, 2017, 2:25 PM

    Good for the Eagle!

    • Patrick Leary@C. Jennings Frazier-Smith
      November 10, 2017, 11:59 AM

      What impact would high speed drone propellers have on the legs and feet of a large bird? Were you aware that purchased drones can be retrofitted with metal propellers? A simple roll of tossed toilet paper can bring down a drone.

      • Patrick@Patrick Leary
        November 11, 2017, 3:23 PM

        It doesn’t take a metal prop. The plastic props on any electric RC model with brushless motors, whether fixed wing or multirotor, will cut a person to the bone. A bird’s hollow bones wouldn’t stand a chance. This is pure animal cruelty. And for what?

      • Joe@Patrick Leary
        November 11, 2017, 3:32 PM

        I don’t think you can train a eagle to grow toilet paper rolls

      • Montana Bob @Patrick Leary
        November 11, 2017, 5:40 PM

        The eagles wear thick leather "gloves" over the feet and talons.

        Montana Bob

      • stuart@Patrick Leary
        February 22, 2018, 6:17 PM

        i don’t think they can train Eagles to throw toilet paper at the drones..come on? Sounds absolutely Awesome to me!
        Anyone know a good place to stay, for us non-millionaires ? Amelia Island Days Inn ?? No just joking.

  • Stanley Zimmerman
    November 8, 2017, 7:30 PM

    Had read of French Army personnel training eagles to bring down drones. What a great idea for a vintage car show / auction. This writer has no sympathy for drone owners who loose their buzzing air devices. Those owners are in the same category as the people who shine laser lights into the flight deck of landing aircraft. In either instance, should be considered a Federal offense, enforced by the FAA, and some mandatory prison time is well deserved.

    • Taylor Little@Stanley Zimmerman
      November 11, 2017, 3:50 PM

      How about you think before you speak? We already have overcrowded prisons and who has to pay for it? You and I the taxpayer, thats who. Lets save the prison cells for true criminals and let the drone owners who are a simple nuisance go free. I peraonally think people who make stupid comments on the internet should have mandatory prison sentences.

  • Bikergraham
    November 9, 2017, 11:08 AM

    Great idea.Saves me shooting them down.

  • Mike I
    November 11, 2017, 2:42 PM

    Short of instituting flight restrictions, how do the organizers think they can do this, legally? The appropriate method for this is requesting a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) from the FAA, if the event believes they can justify it for a security concern.

    Even with a TFR in place, the organizer of the event has no jurisdiction over the airspace above the event, and no legal manner to "patrol" it. Should they choose to use a trained eagle, they may open themselves up to liability not only for damage to a drone and reparations to the drone owner, but also to liability should the bird attack a drone and it lose control and cause an incident.

    The act of hiring a trained bird to patrol airspace over which they have no jurisdiction is a monumentally short sighted idea and likely will have legal ramifications should there be a conflict with a drone.

    While the Ritz-Carlton, and any private property for that matter, can fully enforce a regulation that individuals cannot take off, land, or even possess a drone, that regulation cannot be extended to public lands short of a city or town ordinance existing that prohibits that.

    The proximity to FHB airport only requires hobbyist pilots notify the tower when flying in the area, and commercially license operators aren’t required to notify at all.

    At best, it’s a blowhard move and a huge waste of money. At worst, it’s a number of lawsuits. Good luck with this.

    • louis prophete@Mike I
      November 12, 2017, 2:04 AM

      A great idea using a known predator to control the air space above the event to provide a nuisance free environment. I believe this is to protect the participants rights to privacy and avoid distractions during this event. Also control the video redistribution of the event.. Negnoirnegblanc.com

  • G Smith
    November 11, 2017, 3:12 PM

    Good for the Eagle and anyone who has time to throw rolls of toilet paper at drones should get a life !


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