In the continuing escalation of drones and commercial aircraft, a video emerged showing a drone hovering above a passenger jet landing at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport earlier this month, kicking off a new round of debate over how to regulate drone use.
Not only is the footage disturbing, but the pilot actually “dive bombs” the plane to get a closer shot.
The video was initially posted to a private Facebook group called “1% FPV” but a few members screen captured it and leaked it to the wider world.
Air Transport World pointed out the various violations the drone pilot commits with this action, stating “The unmanned aircraft is above 400 ft., it is near an airport, and it is above another, manned aircraft—all gross violations of the rules that govern unmanned aviation.”
While perfect for viral content, the Federal Aviation Administration did not find the video amusing and is now investigating the situation that occurred in Las Vegas.
For violating flight safety rules, the FAA can fine individuals $1437 per incident with criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and three years in jail.
Director of government affairs for the Academy of Model Aeronautics Chad Budreau said in a statement, “All drone and model aircraft pilots must stay well clear of manned aircraft. We condemn the type of operation depicted in this video…Anyone who violates aviation regulations or endangers public safety must be held accountable for their actions. We urge the FAA to take strong enforcement action against this drone pilot, and against any future violators.”
This latest incident is troubling but is only one in a string of events that are ratcheting up the calls for public officials and drone manufacturers to more closely regulate drone behavior and, consequently, that of the drone pilot. Sadly common sense is quite uncommon, as these encounters between drones and commercial aircraft continually demonstrate.
You can view the video in question by clicking here.