The FAA is investigating a drone that flew too high and too close to two Seattle TV choppers on Monday.
Both Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO and CBS affiliate KIRO report they were using helicopters to cover a fire in a nearby salvage yard, when KIRO chief photographer Scott Crueger noticed a drone flying above the KOMO helicopter. You can hear him in the KIRO video saying, “Hey Ed? We just got droned” before locating and tracking it with the helicopter’s camera.
If helicopters strike anything, like birds, they can easily fall out of the sky.
Moments before the drone buzzed the KOMO/KING helicopter, Chopper 7’s pilot saw it about 50 feet above his own blades, a dangerous scenario because the vortex from the blades can cause objects above to be sucked into the helicopter.
“He went from near our helicopter to very near the other helicopter,” said Crueger, who operates the camera in the helicopter’s back seat. “Either helicopter contacting this toy would have been catastrophic.”
Crueger followed the guy to a house nearby and then contacted the FAA.
Drones are only allowed to fly up to 400 feet. This one was estimated to be flying at 1,500 feet.