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Drone dangers in Hampton Roads

Posted at 2:01 PM, Jun 15, 2015

You might call them drones, or quad-copters, or maybe the more technical "unmanned aerial vehicle."

But whatever you call them, some of the people at the controls are breaking the law and putting airline passengers in danger.

There's been an explosion in drones buzzing through the skies, from cheap Radio Shack models, to high end copters carrying high-def cameras. They're all perfectly legal, as long as you keep them low and away from airports.

"They are high on my list of hazards when flying."

FAA records show the hazards are increasing. Drone operators are soaring these whirring machines too high, into the paths of airplanes. In just a few months' time, the agency has documented dozens of dangerous close calls, including some right here in Hampton Roads. In fact, the records show drones have buzzed by planes near the Norfolk International Airport.

"As a pilot, does that make you nervous?"

"Very nervous. That's frightening."

NewsChannel 3's Mike Mather is giving us a look into the skies above Chesapeake, where more and more local pilots are reporting close encounters with outlaw drones, unmanned aerial vehicles flying where they shouldn't be flying -- and that could put your safety in jeopardy.

"Without a doubt, it could cause a tremendous amount of damage."

This story is coming up, Tuesday at 5.