FBI Charlotte Seeking Information on Illegal Drone Activity
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to identify the person(s) responsible for illegally flying a drone above the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina. On March 9, 2021, at 9:15 p.m., employees in the control tower informed the airport that a drone was flying over the airfield. Air traffic controllers switched runways and periodically suspended flights while the drone was flying in the area. They also held flights on the ground and one flight diverted to another airport. Over the next two hours, multiple law enforcement agencies and fire department officials worked to locate the drone’s operator, but were unsuccessful. Normal operations resumed at the airport around 11:30 p.m. The drone appeared to launch from the area of Market Street and Regional Road, but was seen at multiple locations over airport property.
In 2018, The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act included 18 USC 39B, which federally criminalizes “Unsafe Operation of Unmanned Aircraft.” Specifically, knowing or reckless interference or disruption of a manned aircraft, and the operation of unmanned aircraft in close proximity to airports. While the drone(s) did not come into direct contact with an airplane or cause a pilot to make an evasive maneuver, the actions are illegal and extremely dangerous.
Anyone flying a drone as prohibited by law can face federal criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment. It is possible the drone operator(s) are not aware they are violating the law. We encourage anyone with information to assist in this investigation to contact the FBI at 704-672-6100.
When operating a drone, the FBI encourages the public to abide by federal and state laws. You can learn more https://www.faa.gov/uas/