US airliner nearly collides with drone

US Airways
US Airways

(CNN) — Recent close calls in the sky underscore what many say is the need for rules governing unmanned aerial vehicles.

It’s the biggest fear of the booming industry in drones with amateurs and others taking the remote planes to the skies where commercial planes are flying.

The FAA is in the process of working out rules to allow unmanned aerial systems to fly, and keep them from hurting anyone.

A near nightmare in the sky, a passenger plane nearly crashes into a camouflaged drone flying at 23-hundred feet, well above the typical altitude for a private drone.

The incident in the Tallahassee skies involved a US Airways Express jet flying near the airport.

The first details of the March scare previously not revealed until an FAA official spoke about it Thursday in San Francisco.

“The UAS was so close to his jet that he was sure he had collided with it,” Jim Williams, Manager of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) said. “Thankfully inspection to the airliner after landing found no damage.”

Authorities do not know who flew the drone but say it could have brought down the plane.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority,” US Airways said in a statement. “We’re aware of the published report alleging an incident with one of our express flights, and we are investigating.”

There have been close calls before. The FBI is investigating a drone that came within 200 feet of an Alitalia flight in New York this year.

“We saw a drone, a drone aircraft,” the pilot can be heard telling air traffic control.

And this Monday a small drone was found after apparently hitting this building in St. Louis.

In the next 5 years, the FAA estimates as many as 7,500 drones could be flying in U.S. airspace at any given time.

The agency has been working on a plan to safely integrate drones into the airspace so that you don’t have accidents with passenger aircraft.

Now it’s illegal for commercial use although there are some exceptions.

As for hobbyists, the FAA only allows recreational drones to fly up to 400 feet.

It’s unclear who was operating the done. The Pentagon says they don’t know of any camouflaged drones.

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