Somebody illegally flew a large, unmanned aircraft system – a device more commonly called a drone – over parts of Paine Field Airport on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Nobody was hurt and no property damaged, but the person flying the drone risked a collision with aircraft that were then landing and departing from the airport, Paine Field Deputy Director Bruce Fisher said.
“Drone operators need to understand the gravity of the situation,” Fisher said. “An airport is no place for drones. Clearly, this incident could have put lives into jeopardy.”
It is against the law to fly a drone within five miles of Paine Field without first obtaining permission from the Federal Aviation Administration and the airport. Similar restrictions are in place around other airports across the country.
The drone that visited Paine Field on Wednesday hovered over parts of the airport’s west side for about 40 minutes. Surveillance cameras show it arrived about 8:20 p.m., entering from the south. It headed north along the western perimeter and lingered until after sunset.
Regulations for drones are on the FAA’s website. The agency also offers a mobile app, B4UFLY, to help drone operators avoid airports and other locations where airspace restrictions generally prohibit drone use. The FAA also offers these safety tips for drone operators:
- Register your drone
- Fly your drone at or below 400 feet
- Keep your drone within your line of sight
- Be aware of FAA Airspace Restrictions
- Respect privacy
- Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
- Never fly over groups of people, public events, or stadiums full of people
- Never fly near emergencies such as fires or hurricane recovery efforts
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol