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.