A helicopter had to make a crash landing in South Carolina last week. The helicopter was being operated by a student pilot and instructor when a civilian operated drone appeared in front of them. Trying to evade the crash, the tail of the helicopter hit a tree forcing a crash landing. The Federal Aviation Administration has not confirmed the role of the drone in the crash. If true, this would be the first drone crash in the U.S.
Current regulations restrict drones from flying higher than 400 feet. The drone must be in sight of the operator at all times. Aviation groups are urging Congress to make stricter regulations due to the severity of complications that can happen when a drone comes into contact with aircrafts. FAA reports show that the main cause of safety incidents with drones are due to illegal flights. FAA studies find that drones are more dangerous to aircrafts than birds of similar size. The metal parts can cause great damage to windshields, wings, and tails.
The first confirmed drone/aircraft incident in the U.S. occurred last September in New York City when a drone hit an Army helicopter. The operator had flown the drone flew it out of sight causing the collision. The helicopter landed safely. Authorities were able to confirm the accident after finding a piece of the drone embedded in the helicopter.
As drones become more popular for taking pictures and videos for businesses, it is important to understand the rules and regulations associated with drones. If an accident should occur with a drone, not only can the person flying it be held responsible, but also the person or company that hired them. If you are looking to get drone images taken, find an operator that has an FAA drone pilot license. Also, ask to see proof of Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle (UAV) insurance.