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Commercial jet almost collides with drone near LAX sparking police search for UAV’s pilot

A Lufthansa airlines commercial jet has had a near-miss encounter with a drone during its approach to Los Angeles International Airport. Now, the LA police and sheriff’s office are on the hunt for the owner of the UAV.

The aircraft’s pilot reported the incident, which involved a drone flying 200 feet over the Lufthansa Airbus A380, before 2:00 pm PT on Friday afternoon, reports the Los Angeles Times.

A spokesperson for the L.A. police told the newspaper that the airline was at an elevation of 5,000 feet, about 14 miles east of LAX, when the drone flew over it. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has deployed police helicopters to the area as part of its search for the drone pilot.

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A report last year showed that pilots across the U.S. are noting a sharp increase in the number of near misses they’ve had with drones. Federal data released earlier this week also showed nearly 200 reports of aircraft incidents involving drones in California alone, since April 2014 — the most out of any state.

Although the FAA has issued severe warnings regarding the use of drones near special events, including this year’s Super Bowl, there are few federal restrictions against UAVs.

The FAA currently requires all owners of drones and remote control aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds to register with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry before they fly outdoors. The aviation authority also warns drone hobbyists not to fly within five miles of airports or above 400 feet, stating that UAV operators can be fined if they are deemed to be endangering people or other aircraft.

Additionally, last year, the FAA launched its free drone safety information app for iOS and Android. B4UFLY informs UAV owners of any immediate or future flight restrictions at a specified location.