Drone's operator detained for flying near Chinese airplane

An amateur drone pilot captured up-close footage of a commercial airliner apparently coming in to land at a major Chinese airport.

Story highlights

  • Amateur drone pilot captures close-up footage of commercial airliner
  • Authorities investigating after video surfaces on social media

Beijing (CNN)Chinese authorities have taken a dim view of a close call between a commercial drone and a passenger plane.

The footage, shows the airliner descending for landing, apparently taken from the perspective of the unmanned drone, flying by at close range. Chinese state media reports that the drone's pilot has been detained by police.
The airport police at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Zhejiang province investigated the footage, which appeared on QQ, a popular instant messaging app.
A briefing from the Zhejiang Provincial Police states that a 23-year-old Xiaoshan local launched the drone to film the sunset.
"The drone ascended to 450 meters and filmed multiple scenes including several civilian airliners passing by. The aerial shoot lasted around 10 minutes.
"Afterward, (the suspect) intercepted an eight-second part and uploaded it to a QQ group of aviation enthusiasts."
It states that the drone pilot is an amateur aviation enthusiast who is not licensed to fly the equipment.
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'Strong condemnation' from drone maker

A statement from Shenzhen-based drone maker DJI, China's leading drone maker, the manufacturer of the Mavic Pro drone determined to have been used in the incident, expressing its "strong condemnation" of the illegal filming.
"Like other tech products, the safety of the drone mostly depends on user habit, safety awareness and a sense of social responsibility," the statement reads.
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"The behavior of operating a drone close to a civilian airliner is very likely to endanger public security, which is stipulated in the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China. DJI solemnly reminds drone users not to cause severe consequences on a whim."
It adds that the company had been developing geo-mapping technologies that prevent their products from flying in restricted areas.