Earlier this month, a news helicopter had to make an emergency landing when an object struck the tail. The news chopper was flying east of the city at 1,100 feet when the crew heard a loud bang, according to reporter Chris Cristi.”We felt it, we heard it and we all looked at each other; didn’t really know what it was,” he said of the incident. Initially they thought they had a bird stike. Once on the ground with an assessment of the damage it became apparent that it was not a bird.
Observers onboard the helicopter saw a flash of lights during the incident which they now believe to be lights from the drone.
The Eurocopter AS 350 B2 sustained substantial damage but was able to land safely. No injuries were reported. The incident is being investigated by both the FAA and the NTSB.
Drones are required to be at or below 400 feet in airspace where there is no air traffic control and drones are banned from flying in controlled airspace near airports.