FAA: Passenger Jet Nearly Collides With Drone
Official says it's become a 'very real' problem for pilots
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 10, 2014 10:32 AM CDT
File photo of a drone.   (AP Photo/Northern Plains UAS Test Site via The Bismarck Tribune)

(Newser) – A US airliner nearly collided with a drone in the sky over Tallahassee, Florida, say federal officials.The FAA's Jim Williams acknowledged the incident Thursday at a San Francisco drone conference, citing it as an example of the "very real" risks posed by integrating drones into US airspace. In particular, a small drone could get sucked into a plane's engines and wreak havoc. The near collision was reported to air traffic control on March 22 by the pilot of an American Airlines Group jet as the pilot approached the Tallahassee runway en route from North Carolina.

The airline pilot said the drone "was so close to his jet that he was sure he had collided with it," Williams said. "Thankfully, inspection of the airliner after landing found no damage." The pilot of the 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200 airliner said the camouflage-colored drone was at an altitude of about 2,300 feet, five miles northeast of the airport. FAA rules state that the aircraft should be kept below 400 feet above ground level and should be flown a sufficient distance from full-scale aircraft. The FAA has been unable to identify the drone's operator.

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Ezekiel 25:17
May 10, 2014 8:50 PM CDT
What bothers me more is the use of the word, "drone" to describe hobby remote controlled aircraft. If it were truly an F-4 remote that passed him, it was most likely a high end remote controlled jet aircraft and not a drone. Model hobbyists know you don't go above 400 feet. But if it really was one of these turbine models capable of 2300 feet, that represents a risk outside of drone risks. It would be small enough to crash through a cockpit window and kill one or both of the pilots. These RC aircraft do not have any transponder gear as that would constitute worthless extra weight. Now we all have been guilty of flying model aircraft that is capable of depositing chaff. That's more for having fun with the TRACON people but it presents no real threat. We've also stuffed a lot of foil shavings in a large model rocket that does the same thing of painting a target on a TRACON display just for the fun of it. But this serves more beneficial purposes because there could be a day when the military comes to RC people to do the same thing to use in a shooting war with a country such as Korea.
May 10, 2014 2:43 PM CDT
Much worse, and more unnecessary, than "bird strikes" (a.k.a. killing birds). Except for the birds.
May 10, 2014 12:33 PM CDT
Sorry! It was me! I was practicing my skills prior to overflying Kanye's wedding.