| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 9 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
The aircraft, operated an American subsidiary, did not show
damage when it was inspected after the March 22 incident,
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
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
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.