J.C. Buehler was 3,000 feet above an Indiana farm field when he saw the drone. It didn’t appear on his single-propeller airplane’s systems, and he almost didn’t see it about 1,000 feet away.
Buehler was working as a Federal Aviation Administration examiner certifying a new pilot, who noticed the drone first. Neither knew what it was doing or whether it was legal.
“It was a little scary to see a drone very close to an aircraft into which I was strapped,” Buehler told the Washington Examiner.
To address the increasingly common sight, Congress included in this year’s FAA Reauthorization Act permission for the Department of Homeland Security to “track,” “disrupt,” “control,” and “seize or otherwise confiscate” drones deemed a “threat.”
Civil liberties groups are concerned, however, that authorities could misuse the authority to surveil aircraft, silence journalists, and flout traditional standards for confiscating property.
President Trump signed the