In Tallahassee, a drone and a US Airways jet almost collided. It appears to be the first time a commercial airliner nearly collided in midair. The near hit collision is now raising fear about the possibility of future close calls.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the pilot of the US Airways plane told the FAA he came extremely close to the drone as he approached the Tallahassee Regional Airport on March 22. At the time, he was flying at about 2,300 feet in the air.
The pilot described the drone “as a small camouflaged F-4 fixed-wing aircraft”. He reported that he came so close to the drone that he thought he might collide with it.
The FAA said that they do not know who was operating the drone, which was painted camouflage, or whether it was government-owned or civilian-owned. The Defense Department told the Wall Street Journal that most military drones are not painted with camouflage. A spokesman said that they ‘had no other information on the incident’.
Click like if you would like to know why drones are being flown in US air space
The FAA has given 500 public entities such as police departments permission to fly drones. Drones have only been approved for commercial use in Alaska.
At a drone conference in San Francisco this week, an FAA official disclosed the incident publicly for the first time citing it as an example of the risks drones pose to jets.
The Wall Street Journal says there have been other sightings of the mid-air drones by other aircraft pilots. These were not near-misses though. An Alitalia jet heading into JFK Airport in New York, in March 2013, came within 200 feet of a drone. The FBI said Friday that they are still investigating that incident.
How do you feel about drones being flown in America?