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Near-miss between plane and drone draws calls for tougher UAV laws

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Screenshot of footage taken from drone which narrowly missed a landing Airbus in Las Vegas

Social media reactions were overwhelmingly negative

It is far from the first time a drone has come into contact with commercial airliners. In January, a drone in London came within five feet of colliding with a commercial plane and similiar events in recent years have seen some drones actually strike aircrafts.

World governments looking to better regulate public drone usage

It is already illegal for drones to fly near airports or at heights above 400 feet (120 meters) in the United States. However, with the number of personal UAVs in the United States alone standing at more than a million, aviation authorties are looking to draft better regulations and impose harsher penalties for those who fly recklessly or with disregard for public safety.

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) have launched an investigation into the Las Vegas incident and the drone pilot faces fines of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to three years.

In the last days the Swedish government announced new regulations for UAV’s which include rules that users must keep their craft more than 5km (3.1 miles) away from an airport’s active runway and at least 1km from helicopter landing areas. Other regulations include the need for drone operators in flight zones to maintain a two-way radio connection, or equivalent, with air traffic controllers.

Aviation expert Professor Ron Bartsch told 9 News Australia that considering the increase in the number of drones in the sky: “It’s not a matter of if a drone is going to bring down a commercial airliner – it’s simply a matter of when.”

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