Aircraft have near miss with drone at JFK

Posted on 9 Aug 2015 by Michael Cruickshank

Two aircraft came dangerously close to a drone last week while flying near New York’s JFK airport.

Both craft reportedly came within 100 feet (30.4 m) of the drone according to audio from the flights’ radio calls.

The first of these, JetBlue Flight 1834, reported sighting a drone at 2:24 pm while approaching JFK Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Audio from this flight details that the drone passed close to the aircraft when it was 800-900 feet off the ground, as it prepared to land at the airport’s runway.

Then, several hours later, at around 5 pm, the pilots of the second plane, Delta Flight 407, sighted a drone below its left wing, also upon decent.

According to the FAA neither craft decided to take evasive action to avoid collision with the drone.

It currently remains unknown whether the drone in question was a smaller hobby or ‘prosumer’ device, or a larger system.

The FAA has promised to investigate the incidents however, is not yet sure if the two are linked.

According to the aircrafts’ radio logs the encounters with the drone occurred as the aircraft few over Floyd Bennett Field, a site known to be popular with drone and aviation enthusiasts, despite the operation of these craft not being permitted at the area.

Currently, flying a drone is illegal in the US if the craft is within 5 miles (8.04 km) of an airport without prior permission from a flight controller. In addition, the drone must always maintain an altitude of less than 400 feet (122 m).

Drone security fears

This latest incident comes at a time when the US government is increasingly concerned about the possible security implications of cheap, high-tech drones.

In May this year, a man was arrested after his drone crashed on the lawn of the White House, in a major security breach.

Then last month, a drone enthusiast demonstrated that it was possible to attach a remote controlled gun to a small, quadcopter drone.

Security agencies fear that such technologies could be used by terrorists to attack aircraft or other vehicles within the country.