Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began investigating a YouTube video that shows a helicopter almost colliding with a drone right off the coast of Hollywood Beach, Florida. In the video, the drone is heading west towards the coast before its camera turns south and the helicopter is seen in the distance; the helicopter remains on its path, which is in direct line with the path of the drone, missing it by only a few feet as it continues to fly north. The video has since been removed—the user had posted a comment stating, “Enjoying an afternoon flight with my drone around Hollywood Beach, FL. A private helicopter flew right into my drone. I guess I got lucky that day nothing happened. Phew.”
Current FAA regulations prohibit drones from flying near other aircraft and to be aware of FAA Airspace Restrictions; drone operators must also fly their drones below 400 feet. The FAA’s investigation is ongoing. This is a valuable lesson for both commercial and hobbyist drone pilots—follow FAA regulations and be aware that even the FAA is checking out YouTube.