PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This video shot from News Chopper 2 shows an unidentified drone sweeping across the sky after coming within 10 feet of the chopper — twice — at an altitude at least double the allowable drone maximum of 400 hundred feet.
It’s a clear violation of FAA rules, and KDKA has learned the FAA is investigating.
“To go 400 feet is really, really high,” Jennifer Trapuzzano of Fresh Media Group told KDKA’s Jon Delano.
Delano: “And 800 feet?”
Trapuzzano: “Is ridiculous and not allowed.”
Trapuzzano: “Extremely unsafe and dangerous.”
Trapuzanno and AJ Brach are co-owners of the Fresh Media Group whose drone with camera captured some awesome videos at the Pittsburgh Marathon a year ago.
And on Wednesday Carnegie Mellon shared drone video of the train derailment in Hazelwood.
Drones can make a lot of positive contributions, especially in cases of natural disasters, emergencies, fires.
But too many people think drones are just toys, and they don’t understand the rules. That can endanger all of us.
Brach, who operates his company’s drone and has nothing to do with the incident Thursday, says safety is key.
“First, I would come to a location and have a game plan — what I’m going to do, what I’m going to shoot, where I’m going to fly, what obstacles are in the way,” says Brach. “And I would have a spotter here to help me once I am up in the air.”
The FAA requires that a drone be in the line of a sight of the operator at all times when in the air, which usually means the drone goes straight up and flies within a short radius, not sweeping across the horizon like the one that endangered choppers on Thursday.
And there are no fly zones.
“I can’t even take off within five miles of an international airport,” notes Brach.
But some seem to ignore all these rules, risking disaster.