SEWAREN - Last week, four pilots at Newark Liberty International Airport reported seeing a drone in the sky while making their approach, and one Middlesex County drone operator is worried it may be his.
The FAA reported the drone was spotted 13 miles from the airport, which would be close to Sewaren and Alvin Williams Park, where the operator, who wishes to remain anonymous, tends to fly his craft.
"I wanted to make sure everybody knew I was flying this aircraft and flying it safely," he says.
The operator regularly flies his drone at the park, and last weekend spotted several low-flying planes but assures News 12 New Jersey he was not violating FAA regulations. The planes were flying at an altitude of around 2,000 to 3,000 feet and the operator's drone has software that keeps it from flying above 400 feet in the air.
"I respected the laws put in place for a reason. They are there for everybody's safety," says the operator.
The FAA says the number of close calls between drones and planes increased from 238 in 2014 to over 650 as of Aug. 9.
The agency is warning against the illegal use of drones, which could result in fines of $25,000 and 20 years in jail.