As drones become more popular, so does the risk of drone-related incidents. While Google and Amazon are looking to employ drones for delivery purposes, the number of drone owners continues to climb and has prompted the FAA to outlaw drone usage over stadiums and large public events. However, a passenger jet’s near miss with a drone might call for more stringent measures.
An Airbus A320, capable of carrying 180 passengers, nearly collided with an unidentified drone at Heathrow Airport on July 22. The jet was flying at an altitude of 700 feet when the pilot spotted the drone, which didn’t show up on air traffic control systems, and alerted the UK Airprox Board to investigate. Upon investigation of the incident, the board gave it the highest risk rating but was unable to determine who owned the drone involved in the near miss.
According to the Sunday Times, details of the incident will be revealed in a report that will be published this week about the risks of drones.
Speaking to the Sunday Times about drones, British Airline Pilots Association general secretary Jim McAuslan said, “The UK should become a ‘safe drop zone’ so we can make the most of the major business and leisure opportunities offered by remotely piloted aircraft, while protecting passengers, pilots, and residents,” he added. “The technology is developing quickly and we could see remote aircraft the same size as a Boeing 737 being operated commercially in our skies within 10 years.”
The organization is asking that drones be officially known as remotely piloted aircraft systems and meet the same safety standards that are required for piloted aircraft. This includes drones being flown only be owners with pilot-equivalent training.
What kind of regulations or technology should be implemented in response to the ever-increasing use of drones?