Flying drones of any type near other aircraft is a big violation of regulations — not to mention extremely and senselessly dangerous. That hasn’t stopped some operators from flying their aerial vehicles in places they shouldn’t (onejust crashed recently at the US Open, for example), and while in the past these instances would usually merely get the operator a conversation with police, they’re increasingly resulting in arrests.
The unnamed pilot was arrested recently for allegedly operating a drone that flew within 50ft of an LAPD helicopter, forcing the chopper’s pilots to take evasive action. The close proximity to the helicopter triggered a wide spread search for the operator, leading investigators to a Rite Aid parking lot.
The alleged operator was arrested and had his or her drone confiscated; that individual now faces questioning by the FAA. Whether the drone’s proximity to the helicopter was intentional isn’t known.
Said LAPD Sgt. Jorge Gonzalez, the pilot:
It is very hazardous. It could kill everybody onboard the aircraft and anybody you hit on the ground. These aircrafts are just under 5,000 pounds and they can carry up to 143 gallons of jet fuel.
The FAA has been increasingly cracking down against improper drone usage, which includes flying near airports, airplanes, and people. The federal agency has also been investing greatly in an educational campaign to educate the public on what is and isn’t acceptable. Check out the timeline below for more!