Pilots report ‘near miss’ with model plane near Columbus airport

Two pilots reported seeing a model airplane in their flight path Tuesday night at Port Columbus International Airport.

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Federal authorities were called after two airline pilots on approach to Port Columbus reported seeing a model plane in their flight path.

It happened around 11pm Tuesday at the Brentnell Community Center, which is near Port Columbus International Airport.

According to Columbus police, two pilots saw the remote controlled plane flying dangerously close. One of those pilots described it as a ‘near miss,’ according to police.

Columbus police and Port Columbus police responded to the initial report. Officers interviewed the pilot and took pictures of the model plane.

The model plane appeared to be a Horizon Hobby Apprentice S. According to the manufacturer, the electric plane weighs about three pounds and has a wingspan of 59 inches.

Planes on approach to the airport continued to fly overhead while police were on the scene.

Officers told NBC4 the investigation would be turned over to the FAA and FBI. No charges were immediately filed and no arrests have been made.

The FAA asks anyone flying model planes or drones within 5 miles of an airport to notify the airport control tower prior to flying. The Brentnell Community Center is less than two miles from the end of the Port Columbus runway and sits directly under the approach path.

The FAA encourages hobby and recreational unmanned aircraft operators to follow the following safety guidelines:

  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
  • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
  • Don’t fly near people or stadiums
  • Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
  • Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

For more information about safely flying drones, model planes, or other unmanned aerial systems, visit Know Before You Fly.

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