Entries in Aircraft (4)


Popularity of Drones Raises Safety Concerns

Stocktrek Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It’s not just the government that is buying drones.

For years, remote controlled aircraft, some of which are toys, have been on the market. But the remote aircraft available today are far from toys. For roughly $700, you can purchase what is known as The Phantom at a hobby store. It’s a four-rotor drone that can carry a small camera, fly at approximately 22 miles per hour and climb to an altitude of nearly 1,000 feet.

However, flying such drones above 400 feet and within three miles of an airport violates federal guidelines, possibly even the law. Additionally, using drones for business is forbidden.

The Federal Aviation Administration is working on new regulations for operating drones.

Drone operating restrictions entered the spotlight when, on Monday, something happened that has never happened before: Just five miles from John F. Kennedy airport in New York, a jumbo jet operated by Alitalia was on its final approach -- one of the most critical times during a flight -- when the pilot spotted something odd. “Kennedy tower, just for your information,” the pilot told the control tower, according to a recording posted on “We just saw a little drone below us.”

The Alitalia pilot said that while approaching the airport at an altitude of roughly 1,500 feet, a small, black, four-rotor craft came within 200 feet of his Boeing 777 jet.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now on the case asking for the public’s help to find the culprit.

Monday’s incident over JFK worries pilots.

“A couple of pounds hitting an airplane going 200, 250 miles per hour,” said Steve Ganyard, a consultant with ABC News. “If it hits the wrong place, like coming through the cockpit, hits the glass, it can hit the pilot or the co-pilot. It could hit an engine, take out an engine.”

For more than a decade, the U.S. military has been using drones to spy, even hunt and kill terrorists around the world. Both the Army and the Navy have their own versions, and now police departments are using small hand-launched drones to look for suspects, or missing children.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pilots to Get New Training: 'Most Substantial Change...In Two Decades'

Valueline/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Federal aviation officials proposed new rules Wednesday for pilot training, following a crash in western New York.

Pilot error contributed the deadly crash of Continental flight 3407 outside Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009. When the aircraft experienced an aerodynamic stall, the captain performed the wrong maneuver. Investigators at the time said pilots need better training. Now, more than two years later, FAA Administrator Randy Babbit said they will get it.

Pilots will receive better training on how to recognize and recover from stalls and aircraft upsets, Babbit said, calling the overhaul “the most the last 20 years.”

“Under this proposal, flight crews would have to demonstrate, not just learn, critical skills in “real-world” training scenarios,” the FAA said in a statement. “Pilots would be required to train as a complete flight crew, coordinate their actions through Crew Resource Management, and fly scenarios based on actual events. Dispatchers would have enhanced training and would be required to apply that knowledge in today’s complex operating environment.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pointing Lasers at Aircraft May Soon Be Illegal

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate has passed an amendment that could make pointing lasers at aircraft a federal crime.

Lawmakers on Thursday voted 96-1 to pass the amendment introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, aimed at cracking down on individuals who engage in such activity. A growing number of pilots have reported lasers directed at their cockpits during takeoff and landing. They fear the lasers could temporarily blind them and pose harm to those on board.

“Shining lasers at airplanes is not a game and places passengers and crew at risk,” Whitehouse said. “With the increasing occurrence of these types of incidents, prosecutors must have strong tools to punish and deter this dangerous conduct.”

Should the amendment make it into law, it will be a crime to knowingly point a laser at an aircraft, punishable by up to five years in prison. The bill exempts those using lasers for legitimate aviation purposes.

The Federal Aviation Administration says over 2,800 reports were filed about lasers being pointed at aircraft in 2010, almost double the amount of reports received the previous year. In 2010, Los Angeles International Airport had a national high 102 laser incidents, while Theodore Francis Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., had the least amount of reports with 12.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Washington Government Buildings Ordered Evacuated

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Capitol and other government buildings in Washington, D.C., were evacuated for a short time Saturday when an unauthorized aircraft entered restricted airspace.

Fighter jets were scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base when a US Airways Express plane briefly lost radio contact. The jets returned to Andrews after the plane re-established its connection, NORAD said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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