Reckless Drone Flight in Las Vegas Raises Concerns

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A dramatic video bouncing around the internet shows an FPV pilot flying directly above a landing passenger plane heading into land at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. The footage has been widely shared and condemned by the community.

In this industry, it doesn’t take much to kick off a fresh batch of negative headlines. Calls for stricter regulations on drone pilots are never too far away. We’ve seen as much with the reactions to the many ‘near misses’ and suspected collisions in recent months.

Read more: Collisions: How to Break the Cycle of Conjecture, Fear & Drone Negativity

We also know that a drone doesn’t even have to be involved (it could just be a bat or a plastic bag) to cause blanket negative coverage for a few media cycles.

With those things in mind, all we can do is condemn the reckless pilot responsible for the video below, who will hopefully be identified and fined, at the very least. We understand that the FAA is looking into the following footage…

It’s impossible to defend this video. There is next to no chance the pilot was attempting anything other than to record a dramatic shot of a passenger plane from above. You don’t take-off under a busy flight path by accident. Just as worrying is how many attempts it took, and how many other manned aircraft were put at risk, before this video was taken.

This won’t be the last reckless video we see

The sad fact is that incursions like this are likely to continue unless authorities are seen to take action. And even then, the promise of notoriety (even of the anonymous variety) might still make the risk worth it for a small number of stunt pilots.

Ultimately we have to blame the people responsible, not the technology. And find ways to mitigate the risks posed by this small minority.

In a statement posted alongside the video, pilot training provider and general drone community platform Drone U said:

Drone U Leadership and the entire membership community want to join with other industry leaders to fully CONDEMN this reckless and criminal act. Drone U and it’s members work tirelessly in making our skies safe for all users of the National Airspace System. This pilot’s actions not only endangered the flying public, but has the potential to discredit an entire sUAS industry.

It is the opinion of Drone U and it’s members that the pilot receive swift and just punishment for this example of irresponsible and reckless flight. There is no excuse for this type of criminal behavior.

You can read the AMA’s reaction here. 


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