Dangerous Drones: Increase in illegal drone flights causes grounded flights, issues for firefighters

    Flying a drone is one of the easiest, and now cheapest, ways to get a bird’s eye view of almost anything. Yet as more people catch the drone bug, those unmanned aircraft are showing up where they shouldn’t.

    “Drones can cause major concerns for aircraft, not just helicopters, but fixed wings, especially smaller aircraft,” says helicopter pilot Dan Oppenheim, who flies LiveCopter 3 for KCRA.

    He’s been flying for more than a decade and says that unmanned equipment like drones are becoming more of a worry for people in the air.

    “It might not sound like a big deal,” Oppenheim said, “But for perspective, if you take a drone that weighs about as much as a cell phone, think about the damage that might be caused if you were to take a cellphone and throw it off an overpass and hit a car at highway speeds. Well, drones are heavier than a cellphone. And we’re generally increased flight faster than highway speed. So it can cause major damage.”

    When Oppenheim says major damage, the realities are stark. An Army Blackhawk helicopter took some major damage in 2017 while patrolling over the New York area in 2017. The collision and damage sparked an FAA and NHTSA investigation.

    Read more on this story at KCRA

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