Drone Almost Collides with Southwest Flight Near LAX at 4,000 Feet

Following several recent similar incidents with drones flying much higher than the FAA-mandated 400-foot recreational altitude, another incident occurred Monday as a Southwest passenger jet attempted to land. The pilot reported flying just under what seemed to be a red recreational helicopter drone at 4,000 feet: "Hey, there was just one of those radio-controlled helicopter things that went right over the top of us at 4,000."

The full audio can be heard through NBC's clip online or in the linked video above from CBS (although their depiction of a drone similar to the Predator drone is misleading, as the one in question was almost certainly a recreational and/or video drone).

Unfortunately, time is proving the public to be untrustworthy when it comes to making decisions about playing with its newest favorite toys. Perhaps this is to be expected, however, as someone will always be there to push (or simply blow through) the limits.

Congress has given the FAA until the end of this year to outline specific rules to handle drone flight as talks continue to lead from outright banning to the requirement of a pilot's license, and more.

[via NBC Los Angeles]

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27 Comments

Adam Peariso's picture

Gotta love the graphic at the beginning. "Let's use a photo of an army drone that drops bombs to depict a consumer drone". Not advocating what the drone operator did flying so close to air traffic. But it's people like that & the way the NEWS handles it that are going to make it worse for responsible drone users.

Andrew Yianne's picture

I was just thinking that. "Oh, lets use a picture of a Predator drone to represent a DJI Phantom"

Kevin Mark's picture

I love how the reporter ended the segment talking about the potential for people deliberately using the drones to crash planes as an act of terror. Way to go news! make your public viewing monkeys very afraid!

Daniel Pryce's picture

I love how the news thumbnail showed a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

I think there is no more real news outlet. Everything is sensationalism. It is more entertainment than news...

Glen Grant's picture

What's wrong with people and their sense of wrong or right? These stupid acts of callus disregard for safety will no doubt lead governments to place crippling limits hence affecting others.

andy holloway's picture

No kidding, flying at 4,000ft above a populated area isn't the smartest idea - but flying that height in a takeoff/approach zone is down right stupid.

Jason Ranalli's picture

Yup...didn't see this one coming. I mean who would have thought that folks flying drones wouldn't actually be responsible resulting in eventual heavy legislation?

Sarcasm aside, it is going to be the same thing as speed limits. The driving laws are not usually written for the most capable and responsible, they're written for the lowest common denominator of driver.

Emmanuel Capili's picture

It's drone pilots like this idiot thats going to ruin it for other drone pilots. That drone pilot should get charged.

Mr Blah's picture

Drone and pilot in the same sentence... magical.

Maggie Briggs's picture

If someone were to hit a plane, lives could easily be lost. It's not no big deal, and eventually they probably will ban the drones. A friend of mine is a pilot and he says that these things scare the crap out of pilots. They have no control over a potential disaster.

Chris Ingram's picture

Yes, potential crashed planes, but as the former pilot said, engines are pretty tough and are used to "bird ingestion" (love that term). While I doubt that a consumer drone would bring down a plane, it will cause some (possibly serious) damage to the engine and/or other plane parts. This means repair bills, and possibly changes to insurance for airlines...which of course means increased prices on flights. And of course the Government will have to step in to better legislate the use of drones. Silly silly people. Have to agree with Glen Grant...what is wrong with people and their sense of right and wrong these days??

chris smith's picture

Not entirely true....yes, a jet can survive a bird strike going through the engine....but a single engine prop will definitely go down if hit in the right spot.

Ralph Berrett's picture

It is funny I just did a story on AG drones. In between the shots I was talking to the about this issue and the White House drone crash. The side effect there will be FAA will require some sort of license to operate drones in 2-3 years.

Some in the FAA want licensed pilots to on site with drone operators. Like that would help.

Any way here is a link to the story of the Ag drones. http://businessstreetonline.com/all-drone-solutions-lands-at-world-ag-expo/

Mr Blah's picture

NOT DRONE but an RC toy. At least use the proper name and don't fall in that trend news outlet have been doing...

Anthony Cayetano's picture

You know what's really sad? That retarded Drone Controller got away with it!

cameramanDop Shanghai Hong Kong's picture

Not all the "toy" can reach that altitude.
Let's imagine a law where a licence is required to fly a drone. Is this incident will not happens?
If we can't catch this stupid pilot now, can we catch later if he is licensed?

John Choate's picture

This is why we can't have nice things.

Deleted Account's picture

I was going to say the same thing.

I can see the meme already.

Do you want drones taken away? Because this is how you get drones taken away!

Bert McLendon's picture

Everybody hates this drone pilot until the video from THAT drone appears on Fstoppers next week and blows peoples minds!

Glen Grant's picture

One would hope that person would not be any more stupid. M.I.B. guys would love that. Go ahead, make their day.

Philipp Benedikt's picture

I guess that's why "drones"/quadro-/octocopters/... are not allowed any longer without a special permission (pilot license, area approval,...) in Austria/Europe. You are not even allowed to use a small DJI if it's not your private ground.

Nick E.'s picture

And yet another idiot ruining it for all of us.

If we RC pilots don't advocate a general compulsory exam for RC flying, it will eventually be outlawed.

Paul Tucker's picture

Hmmmm.... Has anyone seen Mike Kelley recently?

Adrian J Nyaoi's picture

When you give an adult a toy many will act like kids, in this case an irresponsible kid

Greg Nuspel's picture

Worst thing is the people who then make the laws take it out on the professionals by restricting commercial use. It's the amateur that will end up causing the big problems by simply not thinking.

Trevor Lowe's picture

This is exactly why the public will never be ready for flying cars.. we're getting dumber, not smarter.