Drone comes within 200 feet of Lufthansa jet near Los Angeles airport
19 March 2016
In a near-miss incident, a drone came within 200 feet of a Lufthansa jet near Los Angeles International Airport yesterday.
The pilot of the Lufthansa A380 approaching the airport on a flight from Frankfurt, Germany, reported that a drone passed about overhead around 1:30 pm, said Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane which was flying at 5,000 feet was 14 miles east of the airport, over the heavily populated suburbs of Los Angeles. However, no untoward incident was reported as the plane landed safely.
Police and Los Angeles County sheriff's helicopters were asked to keep an eye out for the drone, but there was no immediate word about where it was launched or landed, as also the type of drone it was, or to whom it belonged.
"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," Senator Dianne Feinstein said in a statement.
The California Democrat last year, introduced legislation requiring the FAA to create rules about where and how high drones could fly and to require the aircraft to have safety features such as collision-avoidance software.
According to federal regulations, drone aircraft and model airplanes were barred from flying higher than 400 feet (122 meters) or within 5 miles (8 km) of an airport without first contacting air traffic control and airport authorities.
Operators would also need to keep their drones away from other aircraft and groups of people.
The FAA had received more than 42 reports of drones flying unsafely near Los Angeles airport, the nation's second-busiest airport, since April 2014, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis last fall, of federal data released by Feinstein.
The data showed around 200 pilot reports of close encounters involving drones in California alone over the past two years, the most of any state, according to the Times.