Sanford Urges Awareness of FAA Drone Regulations

Drone sightings near Sanford Health MedAir helicopters in Fargo, Sioux Falls

FARGO, ND — Anyone can buy a drone.

It’s as simple as going on Amazon and having it delivered to your doorstep the next day.

While it can be easy to get them in your hands, not everyone knows the rules.

It’s posing a threat for some pilots.

“There’s a 400–foot rule whether you’re doing it commercially or for your own fun,” said drone pilot Jesse Stiller.

Just last week, a drone made it 50 feet away from one of Sanford’s helicopters in Sioux Falls.

Last night, it made it just 100 feet from another one in Fargo.

“You can’t fly at night and you have to make sure you always steer clear of other air traffic,” Stiller said.

But the average person might not know that as opposed to a pilot.

“A normal person isn’t going to know exactly what the air traffic is like around their town,” added Stiller. “They’re really not going to know how to look out for airplanes in the sky.”

The solution: do your research.

“The best thing and the best tool for all of us it the internet,” said Josh Weiland, lead safety officer at Sanford Health. “The FAA has different websites, or Google, which we’re all very familiar with. Just do research on what is legal in your part.”

Weiland said it’s not just about each person’s own self–awareness.

It’s also about all the people who constantly fly aircraft in Fargo.

“We want people to enjoy using their drones because they’re fun but at the same time, we want to be safe with them too because not only do we have air medical aircraft flying out of Fargo or Sioux Falls, but we have passenger airlines, the military,” Weiland said. “So we just want to keep people safe.”

No one was hurt in either incident at the two Sanford Health locations.

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