The City of Twin Falls is encouraging hobbyists who operate drones to follow federal regulations that prohibit Unmanned Aerial Systems, or UAS, from operating in areas where the devices may create a safety or security risk. Although incidents involving drones in prohibited areas are often accidental, they nonetheless pose a significant hazard when used improperly.
On Friday, Oct. 16, personnel at Magic Valley Regional Airport found a drone on the ground within 50 feet of the main runway. Personnel could not locate anyone nearby who may have been operating the drone. As per protocol, airport personnel notified the Federal Aviation Administration and turned the device over to the Twin Falls Police Department for further investigation. Detectives are working with the FAA to contact three persons of interest, who were believed to be using the device to photograph a nearby event.
“We have several different types of aircraft operating at our airport that include military, wildfire tankers, medical, commercial airlines, and personal aircraft,” said William Carberry, Magic Valley Regional Airport Manager. “And the folks who operate these aircraft are put in danger anytime a UAS or other object enter the restricted flight areas.”
UAS devices are prohibited in areas with Special Flight Rules, which include the following: airports, military or other federal facilities, certain stadiums, power plants, electric substations, dams, oil refineries, national parks, emergency, services and other industrial complexes. The areas are defined and enforced by the FAA with assistance from local law enforcement and facility staff.
Anyone who witnesses the use of UAS devices in prohibited areas within the City of Twin Falls, are encouraged to call the Twin Falls Police Department at 208-735-4357.