TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) is investigating an incident in which an unregistered helicopter was spotted landing and taking off in a residential area of New Taipei City last month.
On Sept. 12, a video surfaced showing a private helicopter landing and operating in a random area of New Taipei City's Tamsui District. The CAA on Tuesday (Oct. 6), confirmed that the takeoff and landing coordinates of the aircraft were illegal and it will fine the operators in accordance with the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法), while the identity of the pilot is still under investigation, reported UDN.
In the video, which was shot from an apartment window, a white Robinson R-22 helicopter has apparently just landed on a street in front of a stoplight at the intersection of Yishan Road and Xinshiyi Road in a residential area of Tamsui. Standing frighteningly close to the roaring rotors, two elderly men can be seen conversing and gesturing towards the aircraft.
Helicopter taking off from street. (YouTube, Stevan LIU screenshot)
While the rotors are still whirring, one of the men hops inside and the aircraft quickly takes off. As it climbs, the helicopter flys precariously close to trees, powerlines, and high-rise apartment buildings.
The netizen who goes by the handle Stevan LIU and posted the video expressed fears that the helicopter might crash into residential dwellings. In response to the video, the CAA said that because there were many obstacles near where the helicopter had landed and taken off, it was a very dangerous and therefore illegal.
The CAA said it will impose a fine of between NT$60,000 (US$2,000) and NT$300,000 on those responsible, in accordance with the Civil Aviation Act. It added that because the Robinson-R22 was not legally imported into Taiwan, its owner and pilot could face a prison sentence of up to 5 years or a fine of up to NT$1 million.
Helicopter flying in close proximity to apartments. (YouTube, Stevan LIU screenshot)