The U.S. Coast Guard’s 13th District is claiming to have had a “near-miss” with a recreational drone in the vicinity of William R. Fairchild International Airport in Washington state on Saturday.
According to a Coast Guard press release, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Port Angeles was conducting low-level training 300 feet in the air when the crew maneuvered to miss what they thought was a bird.
The object ended up being a drone, and the aircrew estimated the drone to be only 50 feet away, the Coast Guard reports.
The Coast Guard says the airport confirmed that the drone had not been authorized to fly within a five-mile radius of the airport, as is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“Drone operators who are unaware or complacent of existing FAA regulations pose a significant safety threat to aircrews and risk serious damage to the aircraft,” says Lt. Cmdr. Brent Schmadeke, operations officer at Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles. “With the increasing popularity of commercial model aircraft, we strongly encourage operators to familiarize themselves with operating standards set forth by the FAA.”