San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Drone hits small plane over Costa Rica park

A student pilot had a close call flying over the National Stadium Thursday morning when a drone struck the wing of his plane, local media reported.

Channel 7 News reported that Leonardo Ugalde was flying over the National Stadium in La Sabana park in western San José when his Cessna C-172 collided with a drone 400 meters in the air. No one was hurt.

Rodolfo Valverde, director of the Aviation Training Institute, told Channel 7 that if the drone had hit the plane’s windshield or propeller it could have caused a “catastrophe,” considering that the accident happened over a populated part of the capital.

This is reportedly the first time such an in-air collision has happened in Costa Rica.

In September, the Civil Aviation Authority announced new regulations banning drones from flying at an altitude above 120 meters. The new rules, which are not yet in effect, require drone operators to submit a flight plan to the Aviation Authority before sending up a machine, stay 8 kilometers away from airports, and avoid prisons and other restricted air space.

Drone operators will also be required to have insurance and a license, and will have to pass a flight training course.

The new rules are set to take effect before the end of the year.

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The government should focus on their sins for selling their souls to the Chinese for fishing rights in CR waters (for some POS outdated stadium) that is destroying the eco system and all of the marine wildlife. Or, they should apologize to the world for the 12 tons of CO2 per hour that the GEO Thermal 1 power generation facility is pushing into the atmosphere. How green is CR? Not very……

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I’m a very active drone pilot and have been for several years. I live here in Costa Rica and have over 500 flight hours recorded. First, I would love to see the evidence of the collision because hitting a drone with a small airplane is like hitting a fly with a bullet at a distance of 1000 meters while the pilot of the drone was traveling in a car blind folded at 100 miles per hour. I would pay to see the evidence. Secondly, what altitude was the plane flying at? Since there are civil aviation min altitude requirements for fixed wing aircraft in all 1st, 2nd and 3rd world countries, it is clear to me that he was not flying at a safe min altitude. Those of us responsible drone pilots clearly understand the issues associated with irresponsibility. The units I fly have safety integrated in regards to altitude and proximity to an airport. It is a proper way of handling the safety while flying. The laws should restrict flying in city limits/populated areas, make anyone that has a drone register it and demonstrate they know how to fly properly. There isn’t a person in this country that has more flying time than I do and I will find it hard for a trainer to teach me safe flying practices. Just isn’t going to happen. In stead of making us have insurance to fly our drones the CR government should make it mandatory for drivers to have car insurance or they lose their driving privileges, period.

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