A Helicopter Fighting The Hawken Fire Was Almost Hit By A Drone

Jun 17, 2016

Credit Washoe County Sheriff's Office

While fighting the Hawken Fire in south Reno this week, a helicopter for the Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit, or RAVEN, was almost hit by a drone. Our News Director Michelle Billman spoke to the pilot to learn more about the scare. 

Doug Russell with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, which runs the RAVEN unit, was flying at nearly 90 miles per hour when a drone came within 50 feet of his aircraft.

"It really is a life-and-death manner," he says. "I can tell you that catching a drone in your face is not going to work out well for you when it's going 90 miles an hour. The bottom line is that drone can have a catastrophic impact on any aircraft that it hits."

Our interview with Russell provides a detailed account of what happened and why drone safety is a critical issue for local law enforcement. And the Federal Aviation Administration has heaps of information on how to safely operate personal drones.