LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Flying drones for fun near the Las Vegas Strip has always been illegal, and now ... someone’s watching.
On the north end of Las Vegas Boulevard, The Strat has installed drone detection technology from a company called 911 Security. The detection system tracks a majority of drones on the market today.
"Basically, it alerts us when a drone is close to the tower," The Strat's Corporate VP of Security and Surveillance Al Salinas said.
"What we’ve done is set up a virtual perimeter around the tower, but we also get alerts outside of that perimeter," Salinas said. "It lets us know there is a drone in the vicinity."
The Strat alerts Metro when the drones get too close. Professional pilots get FAA authorization to fly on or around the Strip.
However, hobbyists, those who fly for no compensation, cannot get FAA approval.
Las Vegas police helped paint a clearer picture of the dangers hobbyists face while flying drones.
"I like to say they are doing things in a way that are criminal, clueless and careless," Metro Officer Vincent D’Angelo said. "They can be putting people in harms way by being struck on the ground with the device.”
According to D’Angelo, drone operators flying without permission on the Strip are in violation of both federal and Nevada state drone laws.
If you break federal laws, you are subject to civil fines. If you break state laws, you are subject to misdemeanor charges that begin with either a $1000 fine and/or 6 months in jail.
D’Angelo cautions would-be drone pilots who don’t get permission to fly, "They don’t think anyone is enforcing or paying attention but in Vegas that’s not true.”
The solution? D’Angelo suggests hobbyist pilots download the app B4UFly, which shows flight restrictions and designated launch areas.