Close shaves between aircraft and drones on the upswing in US

The US FAA released data that indicated that pilots had to sometimes take evasive action

Near misses between drones and aircraft are on the increase, with pilots of airplanes sometimes having to take evasive action, according to data released by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to some news outlets.

Pilots and controllers have reported to the agency about 150 incidents this year of drones flying close to aircraft or airports, with a surge in such incidents in recent months, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The disclosure by the FAA comes at a time when it is under pressure to allow drones, known in FAA jargon as unmanned aircraft systems, to be used for commercial purposes. Amazon.com, for example, has said it is testing the use of drones for package deliveries.

The use of UAS for commercial purposes is currently prohibited though the FAA has said it plans to allow commercial operations in low-risk, controlled environments. The use of model aircraft for recreational purposes is, however, permitted but with a number of restrictions.

The FAA in September exempted some aerial photo and video production companies to allow them to use drones.

FAA had previously disclosed a near-collision between a drone and a passenger aircraft in March over Tallahassee, Florida.

The incidents cited by the FAA on Wednesday include a report that a helicopter drone flew about 100 feet off the right side of the aircraft during takeoff at New Orleans by United Airlines Flight 315, an Airbus 319 headed for Houston, according to data published by The Washington Post

The pilot of a Piper Archer II reported in September a small red drone passing 50 to 100 feet away at an altitude of 3,000 feet (914 meters), while on descent to Portland International Airport. In another incident, US Airways Flight 5180, operated by regional carrier PSA Airlines, reported a drone passing 200 feet below the aircraft while three miles (4.8 kilometers) southeast of Norfolk International Airport.

FAA could not be immediately reached for comment.

New FAA rules expected by the end of this year are expected to require operators of commercial drones "to have a license and limit flights to daylight hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls, The Wall Street Journal reported this week, citing people familiar with the rule-making process. The rules will be finalized after receiving feedback from the public, it said.

The FAA is required by U.S. Congress to frame a "safe integration" plan for the commercial use of UAS by Sept. 30, 2015.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board ruled this month in an appeal that drones are to be treated as aircraft for the purpose of the FAA's prohibition of their careless or reckless use.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceroboticsU.S. Federal Aviation Administration

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

TerraCycle Zero Waste Box Pens and Markers Small

Learn more >

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?