A YouTube video uploaded by a drone operator showing a helicopter narrowly missing a collision with a drone over Hollywood Beach, Florida, is being investigated by federal authorities.
The video, uploaded to YouTube on Thursday, Aug. 16, but since removed, shows a helicopter approaching the drone over the ocean as it faces west toward the shore. The helicopter appears to be on a collision course with the drone, but fortunately flies just underneath it.
According to Miami’s Local 10 News, the YouTube user who posted the video, identified as Masih Persian, captioned the video in a way that indicates he understood the magnitude of the near-collision.
“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 has happened. Phewww.”
The part of the video showing the narrowly averted disaster can be seen on the Local 10 News report.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), which is investigating the incident, mandated drone operator certificates in 2015, after the unmanned aircraft proliferated in popularity among people of all ages, from professional videographers to recreational enthusiasts.
The FAA requires drone operators to observe some basic safety measures, such as flying the aircraft no higher than 400 feet and not operating it out of vision. The FAA rules also prohibit operators from flying drones near other aircraft and requires them to be aware of FAA airspace restrictions.
Last September, a drone collided with a U.S. Army helicopter near Hoffman Island, New York, just east of Staten Island at an altitude of 300 feet. The Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter landed safely but the impact dented the leading edge of one of the helicopter’s four main rotor blades and parts of the drone were found lodged in the helicopter’s engine oil cooler fan.
The drone operator wasn’t aware of the collision until a federal investigator contacted him, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found. He also didn’t hold an FAA remote pilot certificate and was not aware of temporary flight restrictions that were in place at the time of the collision because of presidential travel and a United Nations General Assembly session, investigators found.