North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) says it has arrested a man for flying an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in the flight path of a helicopter.
On Thursday, March 24, at approximately 12:40 a.m., officers with the aviation unit were circulating an area of Central Ave. and Sharon Amity Rd. in Charlotte in order to search for a wanted suspect who was running from police.
While in the midst of the search, says the CMPD, the aviation unit was notified by officers on the ground that a male subject near that intersection had launched a drone in the air around the same altitude and flight path as the helicopter. According to the CMPD, the helicopter pilots had to abruptly alter flight path in order to avoid a midair collision with the UAS.
The subject was asked to immediately land the drone by officers on the ground. The subject, identified as 26-year-old Christopher Baucom, initially refused to comply with officers’ orders, but after speaking further with them, he eventually landed it, says the CMPD.
The police department says Baucom refused to provide officers with registration documentation of the drone, which was of a size that requires Federal Aviation Administration registration.
Officers placed Baucom under arrest and charged him with interference with manned aircraft by UAS (a felony) and resist (a misdemeanor), says the CMPD, which adds that Baucom was also found to have been listening to a scanner with police radio traffic and told officers that he drove to the scene for the sole purpose of flying his drone at 1,000 feet above ground level and taking video footage of the police helicopter.