One incident that could have been tragic took place last March, FAA reported. An American Airlines Group Inc aircraft almost collided with a drone above Florida earlier this year, a near-accident that highlights the growing risk from rising use of unmanned aircraft, the U.S. air safety regulator said. Read more here
Although the plane’s flight ended safely, still it was a threat so grave it cannot be casually overlooked.
American Airlines said that safety is its top priority and that it is investigating the alleged incident. “The airline pilot said that he thought the [drone] was so close to his jet that he was sure he had collided with it,” Mr. Williams said. Inspection of the aircraft later found no damage, he said, but “the risk for a small [drone] to be ingested into a passenger airline engine is very real.” Read more at
Presently, the FAA allows unmanned aircraft like recreational drones to be flown below 400 feet, and requires anyone flying model aircraft to notify airport operators and controllers when flying within five miles of an airport, the Wall Street Journal article above continues.
What is tragic, though is no one knows for sure who operated the drone. It was at 2,300 feet and about five miles from the airport when it encountered the remote controlled jet. The FAA investigated but could not identify the pilot of the drone. Read more here
It has also been reported that the FAA is assuring everyone of safety in the skies, through a statement: “The FAA is working aggressively to ensure the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace,” the agency said in a statement.
However, time is of the essence. More and more drones are being flown without any clear guidelines from the FAA, which has promised to come out with its publication of new rules soon. Already many mishaps have happened involving drones. Others are saying many recreational drones users do not exactly know safety parameters, and mishaps can be caused by miscalculations or losing of controls.
This latest reported incident of a near accident involving the flying of a drone could either delay the FAA into issuing clear, strict guidelines for further refining of its policies, or it could spur the agency to move a bit quicker this time. The point is, we do not need a major air catastrophe to happen at all.
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