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Near Miss At LAX May Spark Tighter Regulations On Drone Use

LOS ANGELES ( — Some in the aviation community are calling for tighter laws and regulations after a potentially hazardous event was avoided at LAX involving a commercial flight and a drone.

The recent call for regulation stems from an event, which occurred on Sunday at LAX, in which the pilot of Southwest flight 366 communicated with an air traffic controller after spotting an unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV).

Experts say the UAV, which proceeded to fly over the Southwest flight was likely one of the most popular and widely-purchased models available on the market.

Tesla Foundation and UAV System Association representative Keith Kaplan says the groups are working with the White House, industry, and universities in order to advance rules and regulations around the use of drones.

"This is very alarming to us, because we're doing everything we can to educate people," Kaplan said. "Proponents of this new technology, it is only in its infancy, and uses are now being developed that are of interest to law enforcement, to the medical community, and of course, to Hollywood, but they also say they are well aware they will have to address two concerns..."

Those concerns, Kaplan suggests, are related to public safety and privacy.

In response to the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration released a statement, which reads, in part:

"Unmanned aircraft operations are not allowed in the highly controlled Class B airspace around major airports, such as LAX. The FAA has a number of enforcement tools available to address unauthorized use of UAVs, including warning notices, letters of correction and civil penalties."

Kaplan says that new, tighter laws and regulations are in need of development in order to protect the public, while, simultaneously, providing a platform for the technology in national air space.

"There's tremendous personal responsibility, and you need to educate yourself before you open the box and start to operate an airframe like this."

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