Do you want to get killed by one of these? I don’t! So why are these things able to fly around our skies putting our lives in jeopardy?
As an airline pilot, my job is to keep you safe. There is nothing we can do to prevent a collision with these if they are in our flight path. We fly too fast with large jets and these drones are too small to see until we are upon them! In a report from the FAA, there have been 920 drone sightings just this year alone across the country and 200 have been near misses with commercial jets and civilian aircraft.
This is a military UAV Predator Drone that that is use for intelligence, etc. They are operated by highly trained military pilots and are regulated.
Here are some close call in the civilian arena so that you can experience in your mind what is happening out here:
– August 16th, a Jet Blue Airbus almost collided with a drone as they approached LAX to land. It passed just under the left wing.
– August 16th, 5 hours after the above, an Allegiant Air jet almost hit a drone that passed just near its left wing.
– August 16th, A United Airlines flight out of Chicago, saw one near at 3,500ft.
– August 8th, A West Jet B737 reported a near miss with a black, helicopter type drone up at 1,300ft.
– August 4th, Another UAL flight reported a “pizza sized” drone that they nearly missed.
– July 30th, Fires ablaze in Socal continued to burn houses and cars because when the fire bombers and news media arrived on the scene, they almost hit several drones people were using to take pictures. They refused to further put their lives in danger to help others as long as the drones were endangering their ability to do their jobs.
– July 10th, an Air Force F-16 came within 50ft of a drone and a Navy T-45 almost hit one near Yuma, AZ.
– June 8th, American Airlines almost hit one coming into LAX as it was 50ft just above their wing.
– Delta Airlines had a drone overfly a B757 at 100ft above.
– May 30th, A Jet Blue crew saw one at 12,000ft near JFK airport.
– March 31st, Delta has a near miss near La Guardia by 50ft.
– The White House has already had several drone incidences that have flown into highly restricted airspace and even crashed on the lawn. Fighter jets have had to be scrambled in case they needed to shoot them down. The President had a drone hover near him while playing golf in West Palm Beach, FL a few months back.
– These drones can be even more detrimental to smaller aircraft if they take one to the engine, windshield, or flight controls. On July 7th, a pilot had to do aggressive flying to avoid hitting a drone. On July 28th, a helicopter out of Riverside CA had to take evasive action to avoid a drone collision. On April 27th, a pilot out of Van Nuys CA was actually followed by a pair of drones. Also in April, a pilot flying out of Livermore to Chino felt a thud that rocked his aircraft badly. Upon landing, he found 2 gouges that were 3 inches long each in his aircraft fuselage from being hit by a drone.
The only restrictions in place for operating these machines is a warning that says not to fly them within 5 miles of an airport and 400ft. As you can see above, this is not happening. Even if people were responsible with these, there are many cases where aircraft like police helicopters are down low and not near an airport.
What if the charging system on them dies? Or there is a malfunction? Even if these do not take down an aircraft that would crash and burn into a neighborhood, it may fall out of the sky on its own injuring or killing people and property. Even the manufacturers are asking for strict regulation on the operation of these because they do not want to get completely shut down when there is an accident.
My question to you is: Are drones worth the risk? We need national legislation right now with extremely restrictive guidelines such as licensing, registration, training, and punitive liabilities – just like we need to have as pilots. The alternative is that they should not be flying at all. Please write to you local senator and congress representatives and demand safe skies.
I want you to feel safe and comfortable when you fly! The numbers of these threats will continue to rise unless we do something now to mitigate these dangers. Thank you for your help!
Blue Skies! Thank you for flying with me, Laura