Video of a drone flying dangerously close to an aircraft in Las Vegas has gone viral.
The original clip was uploaded to a Facebook Group titled “1% FPV” by James Jayo Older. Older’s caption on Facebook is “Entrepreneur / Drone Racer / Professional Fun Haver”.
Drone U re-uploaded the footage to their Facebook page, condemning the actions of the operator, describing the pilot’s actions as ‘reckless’ and ‘criminal’.
Drone U Leadership and the entire membership community want to join with other industry leaders to fully CONDEMN this reckless and criminal act.
Drone U and it’s members work tirelessly in making our skies safe for all users of the National Airspace System. This pilot’s actions not only endangered the flying public, but has the potential to discredit an entire sUAS industry.
It is the opinion of Drone U and it’s members that the pilot receive swift and just punishment for this example of irresponsible and reckless flight.
There is no excuse for this type of criminal behavior.
The footage shows the drone taking off from Whitney Mesa Nature Preserve in Las Vegas, a few miles away from the McCarran International Airport. After climbing an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 feet, a Frontier Airlines Airbus aircraft comes into view and passes under the drone during its approach into McCarran.
The video has sparked quite a bit of controversy to the point where the FAA has stepped in to investigate the matter. According to the “Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule“, drones (which fall under this act) are not permitted to operate above 400 feet.
Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure.
Drones also cannot operate in restricted airspace around airports unless explicitly authorized by ATC.
Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics also released a statement about the situation.
No one should be flying in a careless and reckless manner and—importantly—all drone and model aircraft pilots must stay well clear of manned aircraft. We condemn the type of operation depicted in this video.
The FAA has also commented about the situation.
“We became aware of this incident this afternoon and we are investigating,” said Ian Gregor , the Federal Aviation Administration’s public affairs contact.
According to the FAA, unsafe drone operations can result in civil fines up to $1,437 per violation. However, a criminal charge could easily up that figure to $250,000 and imprisonment up to three years.