Drones in downtown Denver: What to do if one bothers you

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Drone hovers above the FOX31 Denver weather deck

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DENVER -- It is a video captured on the 16th Street Mall on Thursday night, a drone buzzing high about pedestrians operated by a pilot on the sidewalk.

Some downtown regulars say it is becoming more common.

“I've seen them a lot. They are a lot more prominent lately,” said Kelsey Holland, who goes to school downtown. “They look like mini-spaceships."

With Denver already banning drones in city parks, during Broncos and Rockies games, and at Red Rock concerts, the question is are you allowed to fly them in the heart of the city?

“It may be legal, but it lacks a lot of common sense,” said Steve Cowell, an aviation safety consultant.

Cowell said it’s unclear whether flying over sidewalks downtown violates the Federal Aviation Administration rule prohibiting drones over large crowds. Currently, all drones must be registered with the FAA, fly below 400 feet and avoid all airports.

The Denver Police Department said since April 1, it has received 27 calls for service involving drones. Police say if you have a complained, you can call 911 but Cowell said the FAA is likely your best bet.

“At this point, all you can really do is call the local office of the FAA," Cowell added. “You can be cited for careless and reckless operation of an aircraft."

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