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Drone operators could face stiffer penalties for interfering with aircraft


People who use drones that interfere with conventional aircraft could be charged with a crime under a bill approved Monday in the Oregon Senate.

Drones can be a headache for pilots of conventional aircraft. Some airborne firefighting crews in Oregon last year even had to stay grounded when drones were spotted in the vicinity. The concern is that a drone could cause a plane crash, either intentionally or by accident.

Using a drone that interferes with aircraft is already a violation on par with a speeding ticket in Oregon. The bill moving through the legislature would create a new misdemeanor offense if the interference happens on purpose or if it happens a second time by mistake.   

The bill passed the Oregon Senate 27-0 and now heads to the House. The chief sponsor is Eugene Democratic Senator Floyd Prozanski.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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