Drone Pilot Dive Bombs Passenger Jet

A drone pilot has sparked outrage and condemnation by posting a video showing his camera drone “dive bombing” a passenger jet landing at a US airport. The drone came dangerously close to the aircraft during the stunt, which can be seen in the clip above.

The video was originally posted to a Facebook group called “1% FPV” by a “James Jayo Older” with the caption: “Found the SD card.. 1%ers only.”

The video shows the drone hovering above McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas as an airliner approaches in the distance. As the Frontier Airlines airplane approaches the drone, the drone suddenly dives to keep the jet in the frame as it zooms past below.

Although the video was shared privately, a number of people decided to record a screen capture and share it more widely to raise the alarm.

“Some guy in the United States, an FPV quad racer flies in the path of an airliner,” Gilmore writes. “What a knob. Seriously. This is not a joke. Not CGI, this is real. For a 10 second moment of fame. Even if there would be no harm. You just can’t get over this level of stupidity.”

“By all appearances, this is clearly and explicitly an illegal and reckless flight by a drone,” writes Air Transport World. “The unmanned aircraft is above 400 ft., it is near an airport, and it is above another, manned aircraft—all gross violations of the rules that govern unmanned aviation.”

The video was quickly condemned by a number of aviation and drone organizations.

“This pilot’s actions not only endangered the flying public but has the potential to discredit an entire sUAS industry,” says Drone U. “It is the opinion of Drone U and its 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.”

“No one should be flying in a careless and reckless manner and—importantly—all drone and model aircraft pilots must stay well clear of manned aircraft,” says the Academy of Model Aeronautics. “We condemn the type of operation depicted in this video.”

“All UAS operators need to understand their aircraft, stay well clear of manned aircraft and adhere to the law,” says the Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International. “AUVSI supports strict enforcement against careless and reckless operators who endanger the safety of the airspace and violate the law.”

The FAA says it’s aware of the incident and is currently investigating it.

Image credits: Video, clip, and still frame by James Jayo Older/Facebook