A passenger jet plane nearly collided with a drone at a 2,700-foot altitude above LaGuardia Airport in New York on Friday morning.
On Thursday night, four commercial airliners approaching the city’s airports reported that they had been targeted with green laser beams coming from a unmanned small aircraft.
The pilots of Shuttle America Flight 2708 said that they had to perform a risky move above Brooklyn to avoid the drone collision. Just above Prospect Park they had to climb 200 feet minutes before they were able to safely land on LaGuardia at about 11 a.m.
Soon afterward, the Joint Terrorism Task Force arrived at the scene and started an investigation. The incident was preceded by four strange incidents related to green lasers being pointed at the cockpits of four airliners flying over New York City.
Five pilots reported the same incident that occurred at about 8,000 feet above ground on Thursday night. The Federal Aviation Administration briefed the New York State Park Police on the issue.
Moreover, a Sun Country airliner also had a green laser pointed at its cockpit while getting close to the JFK Airport on Thursday night. The FAA promptly reported the incident to the New Jersey State Police.
Aviation experts explained that airliners find it extremely hard to dodge drones, but if a drone also has a laser, the mix could have fatal consequences.
Usually drone owners trespass the restricted air space unintentionally, but if the drones point a laser at a plane’s cockpit that clearly shows a “criminal intent,” experts said.
“People use the drones for photography, and they can truly do amazing things. They typically don’t realize that, in New York for instance, nearly the entire city is Class Bravo restricted airspace,”
said Phil Derner, an aviation consulting expert.
According to Derner, restricted airspace means that no unmanned aircraft can be flown above the city. He also noted that drones and birds pose a real threat to airliners of all sizes because they can easily end up in their engines. But of the two, drones are the most dangerous because they are harder to “swallow.”
Nevertheless, despite warnings, people still fly their drones in restricted airspace. So, it’s a matter of time before a drone hits a plan, experts believe.
Derner also explained that when one points a laser at a cockpit’s window, the glass disperses the beam into the cabin and nearly blinds pilots. So, pointing a laser at a plane’s cockpit is either made with a criminal intent or simply the dumbest thing on Earth, Derner concluded.
Image Source: 1MS
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