Schumer wants drone regulations after close calls

Posted at 7:20 AM, Dec 08, 2014

There are growing concerns about drones entering the airspace in Buffalo and other airports nationwide.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says at least twice, drones have entered the airspace at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. He adds that one actually hovered directly over the airport.

"There are not rules right now on small drones," Schumer explained.

He says there have been multiple times that drones have narrowly missed hitting planes and other aircraft in New York City. Those incidents include commercial flights.

Over the summer, the FAA started working on a new set of rules for owners of recreational and commercial drones. The senator says a proposal from the FAA is in the works, but right now is sitting for review on the desk of the Office of Management and Budget.

He wants new drone regulations put into place as soon as possible. Schumer says you can buy a drone for around $500 and right now there are no state or federal regulations in place.

"It's not that they should be abolished; it's simply that they should be regulated," Schumer said.

The Washington Post reports that there were 25 near-collisions between drones and aircraft across the country between early June and late November.

"There have been at least two instances over the summer of drones entering the airspace of Buffalo Niagara international Airport, according to a report by the FAA," Schumer said. "An airplane could've collided with [an airplane]. It could've led to an engine failure, shattered windshield or all kinds of damage. And when they're planes filled with passengers flying about this airport, it's a very dangerous situation. Simply put: if pilots can see drones from their windshields, it's a huge problem, plain and simple."

Schumer would like to see new regulations put into place in the next couple of months. He says right now, if a person were caught flying a drone over an airport, all they could be charged with is something like disorderly conduct or endangering the welfare.