there are now more registered drones than manned aircraft in the US, and they have been accessible to consumers for years now. there has yet to be a single fatal collision with a drone. on the other hand, there were 5-10 (graph is hard to read) fatal collisions (and over 200 fatal accidents) in general aviation just in 2016.
There's just no good reason to be flying near an airport. On the other hand, if you're five miles away from the nearest airport, the odds of a collision (even if you break the rules r.e. flying in LOS or under a certain ceiling) are just astronomically low. The sky is an enormous place and the odds of two things occupying the same space in it without trying to are once in a century if that. At the current level of density, at any rate.
Another thing that strikes me, and probably won't make me popular with pilots on this board: dozens or hundreds of GA pilots get themselves killed every year. Most of the time, this is due to pilot error. Drones represent some amount of increased risk to GA pilots. But, at the current level of drone market penetration, it seems empirically tiny compared to the risks GA pilots already faced voluntarily. I don't know what to do with this observation, except perhaps downgrade my personal concerns about the risks of drone <-> plane incidents.
Not near an airport. Planes takeoff and land in extremely predictable patterns. And at about the same height as drones typically operate.
I think you're thinking of a meteorite hitting an airplane, which yes is probably extremely rare.
Not as rare as you might think: for one airplane yes, but there are many planes and many meteorites. There’s a 5% chance a plane, somewhere, gets hit in the next 20 years: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2009/06/04/...
Just think about what happened with laser pointers: the sky is enormous, and yet many idiots decide to aim them at planes.
>The sky is an enormous place and the odds of two things occupying the same space in it without trying to are once in a century if that.
Bullshit, and also it's a stupid statement. Just do some basic research about how many midair collisions there have been. A huge reason why we have positive control airspace and instrument flight rules is because of midair collisions.
At some point Congress or some state legislature is going to pass restrictive legislation regulating drone ownership and use much more strictly than is the case today. It might require manufacturers to include backdoors to enable law enforcement to take control of a drone. It will be portrayed as a safety measure, perhaps even as an antiterrorism measure.
This is why we can't have nice things.
The biggest concern is what if some organization (let's say ISIS) organized a drone disruption "attack". With a few thousand dollars you could disrupt TONS of airports (by keeping constant drone coverage over just a few large airports). There's only 36 class B airports (37 if you include Hawaii). You could even be smart about it and just shutting down a much smaller subset of that and you'd have HUGE disruptions. At least millions lost to the economy, if not billions, due to the inability for these airports to operate (and the loss due to passengers not being able to reach their destinations). We're talking a (bs number) lower bound of 5 drones and possibly shutting down the East coast. That's not an expensive attack. Let's even take an estimate to ball part what it would cost to shut down all class B airports in the (contiguous) US. We'll say 5 drones per airport at $1k each (upper bounding). That's still under $200k (not including operative costs). That's too cheap NOT to do. And I'm sure you can think of a million ways to extrapolate this kind of attack to make it FAR worse for not much more money.
This isn't a regulation problem. This is a technical one and it needs to be solved fast.
What needs to be figured out is some way to disable the drones. And then to automate that process for drones that violate these air spaces. I honestly can't see any other good solution.
Pretty sure there are consequences for violating FAA regulations, so I doubt there will be a lot of intentional aircraft disruption by drone operators.
Congress is too lazy to figure out this language. They'll just opt for harsh penalties. Minimum 5 year jail terms, say.
That's the genius of this form of disruption: fly a drone past an airport just once, and people in the airport will report spurious drone sightings for hours afterwards. Flights will be delayed and much money will be spent tracking down things that don't exist.
Likely they saw the lights of the drone flying around. It's a clear sky tonight, so they would have been able to see the drone for several miles.
Let’s assume they did though. All of the drones I’ve owned have red and green lights. Aircraft typically have red and green lights in addition to white lights facing aft and typically a red beacon and strobes. What’s so different about these lights that they’re able to distinguish them as those of a drone? Isn’t it possible it was a helicopter? A GA aircraft flying VFR? What about the red, green, white lights from a boat?
In my experience there have been many times I’ve seen something strange in the sky where my mind wants me to think it was something but in the end I really cannot be sure what it was. There’s been multiple times something has gone whizzing by at cruise or in the terminal area and for all I know it could have been a bird, a drone, a balloon, a kite, etc. Given the report was at night and it’s at an altitude that a drone shouldn’t normally be operating it seems questionable to me whether what they saw was actually a drone. With the recent media attention drones have had around airports I suspect there will be an uptick in reported sightings that likely are not drones at all.
If these are indeed drones causing disruption then they might not be off-the shelf video drones.
But then again I never would've assumed that Sony would store passwords in plaintext until they got hacked...
An EMS helicopter was lased a few months ago resulting in (I think temporary) injury to the crew and a delayed response to an EMS transport mission.
Hanlons razor says this was somebody trying to get that sweet picture or see how far they can push their toy.
And I put letting your toy fly into terminal area airspace in the same category. I don't care if it's intentional or accident. Control your shit, or go to prison.
Consider that drones may not show up on radar, restricted air space around airports can change at a moment's notice, they cannot be avoided through visual identification, airplanes need a long distance to drop/gain altitude when landing/taking off, airplanes need vertical buffer when sharing airspace with other airplanes, and that much aerial maneuvering and control happens at the speed of humans talking in technical jargon to other humans.
Even if no planned flight needs the airspace, the drone may be in buffer airspace that would be used for emergency complications.
The drone pilot was grossly irresponsible to fly where they did, and should be in jail.
- 107.41: over Tererboro airport and did not appear to have contacted ATC (air traffic control) and/or obtained waiver to operate in class B-E airspace
- 107.51: They flew above 400 feet
- 107.31: did not maintain VLOS with their drone (Visual Line of Sight)
- 107.43: interfered with operation of airport
- 107.39: possibly flew UAS over people
- 107.51: possibly within 500 feet vertically or 2000 feet horizontally from clouds
- 107.37: possibly (b) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard
Under CFR 14 part 107 you could request an waiver from FAA for a specific mission to fly above 400ft or outside VLOS or within different class airspace’s etc. 107.21 states also: In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the remote pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent necessary to meet that emergency. I suspect they had not.
Summary of FAApart 107: https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf
Note: in the us you can also fly under section 336 (model aircrafts) or under section 333 (pilot licensed remote pilots). But without checking the rules, I think differences would be minimal (e.g. ability obtain waivers, technicalities for ops near airports - e.g. 5 mile rule instead of airspace considerations).
The operator is either dangerously ignorant, or reckless.
"The drone was spotted about 3,500 feet over Teterboro Airport"
Drone flying at 3500 feet definitely seems like it could pose a risk to flights out of Liberty 17 miles away
and an object near TEB at 3500' is inside the Class B airspace which requires positive control (not merely radar contact, not merely radio contact, but you must have a clearance or you cannot enter class B). TEB is also within 12 miles of EWR, and that's inside the departure/arrival path for EWR's main north south runways. Aircraft inside class B have a guarantee of positive separation by ATC. Everyone has to follow very specific rules in that airspace. And any aircraft that is not under positive control is a threat to all other aircraft.
Anyway, it is definitely not an overreaction. Also with the government shutdown, I expect there's next to no one available from FAA or NTSB to do a thorough investigation, most inspectors are not categorized as essential.
What I wonder is whether those fears are proportionate. Are drones any worse than a flock of birds?
Edit: video from a sibling comment suggests the answer is "yes" for the case of a collision with a wings's leading edge.
Yes. A flock of birds has incentive and the means to get out of the way. Drones don't react to their surroundings.
Drones are also hard and do more damage than a bird strike.
Now whether we should actually trust said human to do so... that's a different question, as is the potential damage vs birdstrike.
My understanding is that planes mostly continue to fly even if you change the shape of the wing (see all the examples of planes flying upside down or with one wing). Probably the answer is "it depends", especially if we are talking about a flock of birds compared to a single drone.
actual report: http://www.assureuas.org/projects/deliverables/sUASAirborneC...