Airplane Pilots Reporting Increase In Drone Encounters In The Sky


CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – The Federal Aviation Administration bans the commercial use of drones but the high-flying devices are so popular with hobbyists, they are becoming a threat to airplanes.

Reports obtained by CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger found nearly 200 FAA reports of drone interference with planes and helicopters. The reports come from across the country.

There are also highly publicized incursions, such as the drone landing on the White House lawn and one flying over an appearance by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

And YouTube is filled with videos of drones crashing into everything from power lines to smokestacks and skyscrapers.

Companies that sell drones in Colorado are now trying to prevent problems. Josh Gilson is a co-owner of “Multicopter Warehouse” in Castle Rock, a store that offers free classes for drone users.

“There’s always a danger of crashing,” he said. “It’s just using your better judgment and not flying over people and cars.”

The FAA strongly encourages recreational users not to fly drones near people and especially not stadiums or other large crowds.

The drones are already banned in national parks because they can intrude on wildlife. But that restriction doesn’t cover all animals, which can actually put low-flying drones in danger of being attacked by animals, like dogs.

The rules on drones are just for commercially operated drones. Those drone operators must pass a knowledge test, be vetted by the TSA and keep the drones in visual sight at all times.

The FAA does have recreational guidelines but they simply suggest drone users avoid being careless or reckless.

“Can you regulate stupidity?” asked Multicopter Warehouse co-owner, Kerry Garrison. “That’s what it boils down to, and we have known throughout history that doesn’t work.”

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