Video: Near Mid-Air Between Drone And Airliner

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The FAA is investigating a near-miss incident between a drone and a Frontier Airlines Airbus dramatically captured in a 27-second video that went viral late last week. The Airbus was inbound to Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport, but it’s unclear when it occurred and the authenticity of the video has yet to be confirmed.  “We became aware of this incident this afternoon and we are investigating,” the FAA’s Ian Gregor told Las Vegas Now on Friday.

The drone’s video is detailed enough to show the footage was shot over Whitney Ranch Recreational Center in Henderson, about seven miles east of McCarran Aiport and off the approach end of Runway 26R, the airport’s longest runway.

The flying shown in the video was widely condemned by drone trade and user organizations. “This video is not the first drone incident we report on but it sure is the most reckless video we have seen,” said Haye Kesteloo of DroneDJ. The Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) also condemned the close call: “All UAS operators need to understand their aircraft [and] stay well clear of manned aircraft and adhere to the law. AUVSI supports strict enforcement against careless and reckless operators who endanger the safety of the airspace and violate the law,” the association said.

Flying under guidelines established by the Academy of Model Aeronautics and codified in FAR Part 107, operators of drones under 55 pounds are prohibited from flying above 400 feet unless within a 400-foot radius of buildings or structures. Section 107.43 of the regulation prohibits operation in such a way to interfere with traffic patterns of any airports, heliports or seaplane bases. Fines for violation can reach $250,000 and can include jail sentences under civil penalties.

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