WUFT’s Hasley Pitman sifted through the last six months of available Federal Aviation Administration data and found more than 1,000 cases of drones flying unusually close to airports, helicopters or planes. More than 150 of those reports took place in Florida, including two reports of drones flying a mile from the Gainesville Regional Airport runway.
In an increasingly crowded sky, drones flying illegally in the airspace of airports, helicopters, and planes pose a danger to pilots and passengers.
Helicopter pilot Pam Landis knows this from experience.
“I was cruising north on the beach around 500 feet and everything was normal, next thing I know there was a drone right in front of me and I had to make abrupt maneuvers to fly away from it.”
“If it goes through our rotar,” Landis added, “it’s probably going to hit both of our blades and you know it may just damage the blade where we can get on the ground but it can actually create more of a problem. It could snap a blade.”