A video recently surfaced of what appears to be a drone flying directly over a plane near McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
According to the YouTube footage, the Frontier jet was making its landing approach to the airport when the incident occurred:
In a statement expressing “deep concerns” about the video, Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), says, “All UAS operators need to understand their aircraft, 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.”
Also condemning the alleged flight is Chad Budreau, public relations and government affairs director for the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), who says in a statement, “No one should be flying in a careless and reckless manner, and, importantly, all drone and model aircraft pilots must stay well clear of manned aircraft. We condemn the type of operation depicted in this video.
“Furthermore, anyone who violates aviation regulations or endangers public safety must be held accountable for their actions,” he continues. “We urge the FAA to take strong enforcement action against this drone pilot and against any future violators.”
Indeed, a local report from Las Vegas Now says the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is aware of the video and is now investigating.
CNN’s Aerial Imagery and Reporting unit (CNN AIR), the news channel’s dedicated drone unit, calling the incident “careless and clueless,” notes on Twitter that it “in no uncertain terms condemns the irresponsible and dangerous actions of this unknown pilot.”
The Small UAV Coalition says it is calling upon the FAA to immediately propose a rulemaking to establish standards for the remote identification/tracking of drones.
The coalition says in a statement, “Aside from being necessary to allow for the continued growth – and ultimate success – of the commercial UAS industry in the United States, the recent illegal and irresponsible operation of a drone near an aircraft arriving in Las Vegas underscores that anonymous UAS operations are unacceptable and the immediate need for a remote identification and tracking rule.”
In a new letter to Dan Elwell, acting FAA administrator, the group wrote, “Until such remote identification and tracking requirements are in effect, a fully developed UAS regulatory framework – one that will enable safe, routine low-altitude operations beyond the visual line of sight and autonomously – will be out of reach in the United States. These efforts should build on the recommendations of the UAS Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) Final Report, which was submitted to you at the end of September 2017. The coalition urges the FAA to move forward with a rulemaking that requires all UAS operators who are required to register with the FAA to abide by remote identification and tracking requirements.”