Low-Flying Aircraft Causes Concern

Image shows the track path of the low-flying aircraft on April 28 as it flies over the City of Glendale on April 28.


On April 28 at about 8:25 p.m., law enforcement starting receiving phone calls from Glendale residents concerned about a low-flying airplane.

“Burbank-Glendale dispatch advised us of a low-flying aircraft,” said Officer Jason Embleton, a pilot with Burbank-Glendale Air Support.

Burbank-Glendale officers are pilots that work jointly with air support. When the calls came in they were near the area working a different incident.

“We [saw] a fixed wing aircraft and noticed it flying too low,” Embleton said.

He contacted the pilot to inform her she was flying too low.

“We [contacted] the pilot just south of the 210; her altitude was 1900 feet above sea level, which is 400 to 500 feet above the ground,” he said. “FAA requires 1000 feet.”

Embleton advised the pilot of the mistake and the FAA is now investigating the issue.

Burbank-Glendale Air Support is in the city areas everyday keeping a watchful eye on mountainous areas.

“We fly up there [in Deukmejian Wilderness Park] every single [day] to check on trails and parks to make sure no one is hurt or in need,” he said.

They also fly over areas throughout Glendale and Burbank to make certain people are safe and not in need of support or rescue.

The call concerning the low-flying airplane is a common one for the air support agency.

“This is not the first time we [have received] calls like this,” he said. “Sometimes there is an explanation and sometimes we contact FAA enforcement.”

CVW readers have been reporting a seemingly unusual amount of air traffic over normally quiet skies. Embleton said there could be a number of reasons for this including media helicopters, other Los Angeles County agencies and even Southern California Edison, which has had some aircraft overhead as part of its wildfire power line observation.

Although calls are received concerning some flights law enforcement cannot make all aircraft move from the area or land if they are not presenting any danger. Embleton did add that they do follow up on complaints and that many of the pilots they contact will comply to their request. For example, if the pilot of a helicopter has been hovering in a specific area for a long time he/she will move from the area or “bump up” to a higher altitude.

The air support can and will immediately react to any concerns of dangerous behavior.