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Chad Budreau, public relations and government affairs director for the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the world’s largest community-based organization whose members fly model aircraft and drones for recreational and educational purposes, today issued the following statement on the helicopter incident that took place in Charleston, South Carolina on February 14:
“The safety of our nation’s airspace is of the utmost importance. This is why the incident with a helicopter near Charleston last week is concerning. With our decades of experience flying model aircraft safely, the Academy of Model Aeronautics has offered to help the NTSB with the ongoing investigation. However, while the investigation into this incident proceeds, we urge the public and the media not to jump to conclusions about a possible cause. This incident raises important questions that must be answered before we can truly understand what happened.
“The best way to prevent irresponsible drone pilots from endangering the airspace is to educate the public about the existing drone laws and – importantly – hold people accountable when they break the laws. Local law enforcement and the FAA should use their authority to issue civil and criminal fines, as well as jail time, against irresponsible pilots. For our part, the Academy of Model Aeronautics will continue our work alongside the manned and unmanned aviation communities to urge the public to learn and follow the drone laws at all times.”