NYPD copter, drone have near-miss over Brooklyn

NYPD copter, drone have near-miss over BrooklynNew York Post – by Larry Celona

An NYPD helicopter 800 feet in the air had a near-miss with a drone as the cops searched for a missing teenage boy in Brooklyn early Wednesday, law enforcement sources told The Post.

Just before 1 a.m., the chopper was hovering over 1240 Greene Ave. in Bushwick when it was forced to suddenly change course because of the drone, sources said.

The 83rd Precinct was notified, and Isaac Rosa, 34, was arrested for illegally operating the remote-controlled DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter, equipped with a GoPro camera, sources said.  

“These drones pose a safety threat to aircrafts and the people on board because the pilots do not know they are in their flight pattern,” a law enforcement source said.

Rosa, who lives nearby on Central Avenue, was arrested on reckless endangerment and obstructing governmental administration charges.

He was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court last night and released on $1,500 bail. He denied that flying his drone was against the law.

On Sunday, Rosa posted a 16-second video on Facebook showing elevated shots of Coney Island and the Wonder Wheel clearly recorded by a drone, which is against FAA rules.“I am very disappointed that they are trying to make an example out of me,” Rosa said. “At the end of the day, this is not an illegal activity.”

“I think I’m getting the hang of this,” Rosa wrote in the post.

The FAA could bring additional charges against Rosa for flying the unmanned aircraft near La Guardia Airport — which was five miles away — and in prohibited “Class B” airspace.

Under the FAA’s “model aircraft” guidelines, the tiny remote-controlled machines must not interfere with manned aircraft or fly within five miles of an airport without prior notification.

“The FAA is investigating a report that a small unmanned aircraft system was flying approximately five miles south of La Guardia Airport at 12:45 am. today,” the agency told The Post in a statement.

The FAA plans to introduce a new law regarding drone use later this year, sources said.

The hovering gizmos have become increasingly popular in New York skies.
Earlier this month, 34-year-old Daniel Feighery was nabbed for allegedly piloting a drone near the US Open at the National Tennis Center in Queens.

In July, Remy Castro, 23, and Wilkins Mendoza, 34, were arrested after allegedly flying two drones that nearly took out another NYPD chopper over the George Washington Bridge.

The roughly 2-pound Phantom 2 drone can be purchased for as little as $800 on Amazon.

The missing teen the police were searching for was later found at Woodhull Hospital.

Additional reporting by Lia ­Eustachewich, Amanda Lozada and Frank Rosario


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