A recreational drone pilot has been fined US$20,000 after he lost control of his drone while flying it illegally near McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. In June of 2018, pilot Rueben Burciaga lost control of his DJI Phantom 3 drone while operating it in Class B airspace – a no-go zone surrounding the nation’s busiest airports. The drone then drifted more than two miles towards the international airport before landing next to an active runway.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) slapped Burciaga with a hefty $20,000 fine in November 2019 for committing “a litany of serious violations” and flying his drone “carelessly and recklessly”. The FAA added that the incident could have turned out much worse. FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor said: “An incident like this could’ve resulted in a plane hitting the drone or in disruption of airport operations or in injuries to people walking on the strip if it had crashed there. It was very fortunate that it ended up crashing where it did and didn’t cause any damage or injury.”
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