Drones threaten safety of commercial flights

Near miss at JFK between Alitalia and unidentified drone



Following a near miss close to New York’s JFK airport last week between an Alitalia flight and an unidentified drone aircraft, the FBI is asking for the public’s assistance in finding the operator of the unmanned plane.
The flight was on the final approach when the pilot spotted the drone, which was unmanned and possibly remote-controlled, at about 500 metres above the ground and just 60 to 70 metres away, according to the FBI. The incident took place approximately in the area of Atlantic Beach in Nassau County.
Drones are growing in popularity with both government agencies and the American public. The US Federal Aviation Administration has a plan to regulate their commercial use by 2015.
“Even the smallest drone is a substantial weight and could easily do damage like ripping off a part of a wing or impacting a cockpit area,” aviation litigation expert Dan Rose told NBC. “All the indications so far are that we’re seeing a lot more close calls and near-misses, and not more on the technology of how to avoid these near-misses.”
[pictured: “Aerial demonstrators” at 2005 Naval Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Air Demo, Naval Air Station Patuxent River; courtesy US Navy]