Thursday, December 24, 2015

Close Calls Between Drones, Planes On The Rise

On a warm, sunny mid-June afternoon, about 20 miles out from Logan International Airport and a half-mile in the sky, the pilot of a Jazz airline flight from Montreal on its final approach spotted a red-and-black object.
It was a drone, and it was way too close.
It missed colliding with the hurtling 50-seat plane by just 25 yards, according to a report filed with the Federal Aviation Administration.
The close encounter with the drone was one of 26 in Massachusetts reported to the FAA during the nine-month period ending Aug. 20. They are among the increasingly common near-collisions that have aviation safety officials warning that it is just a matter of time before some of the popular unmanned crafts crash into planes and helicopters, potentially causing significant damage and even deaths.
Massachusetts had the seventh-highest total of drone encounters of any state. Seventeen of the reports to the FAA were made from Boston, which tied for the sixth-highest total of any city nationwide.
“Everyone at Logan is concerned about drone use near airports — which is illegal,” said Matthew Brelis, a spokesman for Massport, the state agency that runs Logan. “Drones represent a hazard to aviation the same way that birds do. Depending on the size of the drone or bird, they can pose a significant risk to flight.”
If a drone is sucked into the airplane’s engine or collides with its wings, tail, or other vulnerable equipment, the result can cause catastrophic damage, according to recent research.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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