Safety is hot topic after drone incident day after pilot reports near miss with drone in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio - UPDATE Tuesday, July 15

While the FAA continues its investigation into a near miss with a drone reported by a helicopter pilot over Cleveland last Friday, NewsChannel5 is following up on the story with new exclusive information.

Drones, are technically called Unmanned Aerial Systems or UAS's, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAV's.

Regarding the investigation into Friday's near miss, the pilot was at 1,700 feet when the drone passed less than 50 yards from his helicopter.

Guidelines only allow UAS's to fly to 400 feet.

In an unrelated incident, NewsChannel 5 has learned that there was a TFR, or Temporary Flight Restriction, issued during Saturday's demolition of the old Innerbelt Bridge.

During that TFR and implosion of the bridge, Cleveland Aerial Media videotaped the implosion with a drone despite the TFR.

Anthony Serio with Cleveland Aerial Media said they were unaware of the TFR, until after the demolition. 

Serio said they should have contacted the FAA ahead of time.

Cleveland Aerial Media did add that they welcome the FAA to create licensing, regulations, and certification to promote safe drone operation.

Recent incidents involving drones have UAS experts issuing safety reminders since many helicopters, including police and medical choppers, fly between 100 and 180 MPH.

A drone can be made out of 15 pounds of titanium.

Original story follows with safety tips from drone expert Matt Mishak owner of Dronewerx.

A helicopter pilot reported a near miss with a drone over Cleveland. The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating the incident that happened July 11.

The FAA confirmed the incident to NewsChannel5's Paul Kiska and released this statement.

"On July 11th, the pilot of a Schweizer helicopter reported that an Unmanned Aircraft that looked like a red quadrocopter passed about 50 yards to his left side while he was flying at 1,700 feet.  The pilot stated that this occurred about 5 miles northeast of Cleveland.  The FAA will investigate the incident."  

"That's a concern to pilots and all of us who operate at this low altitudes. It's scary, bird strikes scare us, but this is an unknown. We haven't had any documented hits between an aircraft and a UAV and no one wants to be the first," said helicopter pilot Drew Ferguson with the Northeast Ohio Helicopter and Low Fliers Group.

Ferguson is working closely with drone operators to promote safety.

With more people buying drones, which are remote controlled aircraft, mounted with video cameras we turned to a drone expert for the top 5 safety tips.

Matt Mishak with Dronewerx in Elyria, not only makes drones, he offers safety advice for people flying remote controlled aircraft.

Mishak said whether you're flying for commercial, or recreational reasons, keep these tips in mind.

1.Guidelines call for fliers to keep the drone under 400 feet.

2.Keep the drone within line of sight.

3.Beware of temporary flight restrictions in your area.

4.If you're within 5 miles of an airport, you need to contact the airport.

5. Mishak says, the best thing to do is join a local remote control club.

Mishak said you not only get proper training to fly drones through a remote control club, but you get insurance.    

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