A Lufthansa flight approaching the Los Angeles International Airport narrowly avoided some serious danger in a near-miss with a drone aircraft.
Reuters reports that Friday afternoon’s scary scene occurred when Lufthansa Flight 456 was passed by a drone with about 200 feet separating them. No evasive action was taken by the flight crew in the incident, but it did result in the Federal Aviation Administration immediately alerting the LAPD’s Air Support Division. The flight landed safely and The Los Angeles Times notes that the search is on for the owner of the unmanned aircraft.
California senator Dianne Feinstein issued a statement following the mid-air close call and pointed to her Consumer Drone Safety Act as a way to halt future incidents from occurring.
“This is one more incident that could have brought down an airliner, and it’s completely unacceptable. A near-miss of 200 feet should serve as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by reckless drone use.
“Irresponsible drone use must be stopped and here is what we’re doing: In June 2015, I introduced the Consumer Drone Safety Act, with many safety provisions including technological safeguards to prevent drones from flying too high in the path of airliners. This provision and others were incorporated into the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which I understand the Senate will debate on the floor next month. We must pass this bill and strengthen the law wherever we can.”
The debate around regulation of drones is certainly nothing new in regard to transportation safety and public safety in general. The Los Angeles Times reports that “nearly 200 reports of close encounters involving drones reported in California since April 2014” which indicates that yesterday’s near-miss is not an isolated incident. The FAA currently warns drone operators not to fly their unmanned aircrafts within five miles of airports and to keep the height under 400 feet.