U.S. passenger jet nearly collided with drone in March -FAA

NEW YORK Fri May 9, 2014 6:01pm EDT

NEW YORK May 9 (Reuters) - An American Airlines Group Inc aircraft almost collided with a drone above Florida earlier this year, a near accident that spotlights the growing risk from the rising use of unmanned aircraft, the U.S. air safety regulator said.

The pilot of the airliner told authorities a small, remote-control aircraft came dangerously close to his plane about 2,300 feet above the ground over Tallahassee Regional Airport, said Jim Williams, manager of the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Office.

"The airplane pilot said that the UAS was so close to his jet that he was sure he had collided with it," Williams said at an industry conference on Thursday, referring to an unmanned aircraft system.

The aircraft, operated an American subsidiary, did not show damage when it was inspected after the March 22 incident, Williams said.

But "the risk for a small UAS to be ingested into a passenger airline engine is very real," Williams said. "The results could be catastrophic."

American said it is "aware of the published report alleging an incident with one of our express flights and we are investigating."

The airline said it would share any information with the FAA and would not comment further.

The incident was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In his address to the Small Unmanned Systems Business Expo, Williams also showed videos of several drone accidents, including one in which a drone crashed into a crowd during the running of the bulls in Richmond, Virginia, last fall. The incident was caused by a battery failure and there were minor injuries, he said.

The FAA currently bans the commercial use of drones in the United States and has come under growing criticism for failing to set rules that would permit their broader use. Last year, the agency began establishing test sites where businesses can try out commercial uses.

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Comments (1)
This was HARDLY considered a DRONE. And to put a picture of an actual remotely controlled DRONE on the Headline photo is an absolute LIE. GET your facts straight. It was a Model Airplane Jet. A REPLICA of an F-4U Phantom fighter jet. Not a drone. Model Airplanes are regulated by the Academy Of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and have strict rules and guidelines. They are only to be flown at an approved model airplane flying field. These fields sanctioned by the AMA are submitted for approval from the FAA. The FAA can set more restrictive guidelines on the field.For instance Altitude restrictions A litte research and you will find there is an R/C model aircraft club field approximately 5 miles east of downtown Tallahassee and lies due east of the airport by about 7 miles near the county landfill. The PSA Airlines jet reported the near miss at approximately 2300 feet. In your article you said “Over” the airport. NO Get it straight. Airlines do not make vertical straight up takeoffs. This event had to take place further out several miles from the airport. Most Instrument approaches start around 2500 feet above field elevation and several miles away from the airport. All this was is a dangerous case where the model was allowed to either fly to high or simply was to much for the RC pilot to handle and it got away from him. Dangerous? ABSOLUTELY? YOU BET. Drone? NOT A CHANCE. Reporter who likes to twist stories and put their own B.S. spin on things to get ratings. BINGO. Bellow is a link to a picture of what the PSA airlines pilot saw whiz past his windscreen.

http://www.bvmjets.com/HotShots/F-4s/P_Frost2-sm.jpg http://www.bvmjets.com/HotShots/F-4s/P_Frost2-sm.jpg

May 10, 2014 11:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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