Sunday, February 4, 2018

McCarran International Airport (KLAS), Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada

HENDERSON, Nevada -- The Federal Aviation Administration has launched an investigation after a drone had an apparent close call with a jet near McCarran International Airport.

Video circulating online shows the drone hovering as what appears to be a Frontier Airlines jet flies almost directly beneath it.

It's not clear who shot the footage or when it was taken, but ABC News has confirmed that it was taken in the vicinity of McCarran International Airport.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations generally prohibit drone operators from flying above an altitude of 400 feet, near other aircraft or in controlled airspace like the area near an airport. There are, however, instances in which pilots can apply to have those rules waived under specific circumstances. It's not clear under which regulations this pilot was flying.

According to the agency's website, flying a drone in a manner deemed reckless could lead to fines or criminal action.

In addition to the Federal Aviation Administration, the local police department is now investigating the incident and the FBI "was made aware of it as well," according to ABC affiliate KTNV-TV.

Drone U, a company that offers drone flying and photography services, posted the video to Facebook along with a message condemning what they called a "reckless and criminal act."

"Drone U and it's [sic] 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 [Small Unmanned Aircraft System] industry," the company wrote. "It is the opinion of Drone U and it's [sic] members that the pilot receive swift and just punishment for this example of irresponsible and reckless flight."

Some online viewers have speculated that the footage could be fake, with the possibility raised that the footage was crafted using shots from a video game.

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LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - A shocking viral video showing a drone coming close to a plane landing near McCarran International Airport is now being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The video, shot by an unknown drone pilot, shows the drone taking off from what looks to be the parking lot at Whitney Ranch near 95 and Russell, then flying dangerously close to a Frontier passenger plane heading to land at McCarran International Airport.

It's unclear when the video was shot and who was behind the controls. The video has gotten the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration.

We spoke with a drone expert, who tells us he's shocked by what he saw in the idea.  Steven Williams with Alpha Drone says it appears to be a racing drone.  He says without a GPS, manual controls allow for more movement.

"You know, if he was to hit the plane or there were any transmission signals that could interfere with that plane, he could honestly jam something in the plane, anything could happen," he says.

Regulations allow a maximum of 400 feet for flying drones.  In this case, Williams estimates the drone was at least 1,500 feet in the air.

Henderson Police are also investigating this case, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was made aware of it as well.

In cases like this, people can get a nearly $1,500 fine from the FAA, and a federal criminal fine of up to $250,000 and three years in jail.

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