Texas

CareFlite helicopter narrowly misses collision with drone in Denton

A CareFlite air ambulance such as this one came close to colliding with a drone Monday in Denton.
A CareFlite air ambulance such as this one came close to colliding with a drone Monday in Denton. Star-Telegram archives

A drone narrowly missed colliding with a CareFlite helicopter taking off from Denton Municipal Airport on Monday, officials said.

The pilot and two emergency personnel on board were on their way to pick up a patient about 5:30 p.m. when a drone flying in the area almost hit them, said Jim Swartz, CareFlite CEO.

The helicopter was flying at 500 to 600 feet, about four miles outside the airport, Swartz said.

“It was a near-miss. It was a very dangerous situation,” Swartz said.

Lynn Lunsford, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that drones are not supposed to fly higher than 400 feet above ground and users must tell the control tower if they’re operating within five miles of an airport.

Swartz said CareFlite experiences the problem once every couple of months.

“I don’t want to speculate what could happen but depending on where it hit, there is potential for it to be catastrophic,” Swartz said.

In November, a small Cessna 182 plane came dangerously close to colliding with a drone near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Lunsford said the drone was flying around 4,000 feet that day.

All close calls with drones are reported to the FAA for investigation.

Azia Branson: 817-390-7547, @aziabranson

In June 2014, Robert Eddelman crashed a drone into the roof of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, drawing the attention of the FAA. He later flew a second drone over the stadium, Six Flags, and downtown Dallas and posted it on YouTube. More than a year la

  Comments