Airliner almost collided with the drone or how to prevent midair collision
Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.
As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.
The first part of the title refers to the incident that happened on 22nd of March, that hit the headlines last week.
American Airlines Group Bombardier CRJ 200, almost collided with a remote controlled aircraft near the Tallahassee Regional Airport. Pilot reported that he saw the drone so close to the aircraft, that he was sure he collided with it. Fortunately he didn’t, as the subsequent inspection of the passenger jet didn’t find any damage or sign of contact with a foreign object. The “drone” was a fixed wing model of a F-4 fighter aircraft, so it is suspected that it was piloted by a hobbyist, not a commercial drone operator. FAA investigated the case, but couldn’t identify the pilot of the UAV.
This puts the FAA in an awkward situation of explaining why commercial UAV use is illegal, and use of UAV by hobbyist isn’t. Any justification based on safety of the air traffic is pointless, since it can be compromised regardless of the classification of UAV users. Hopefully, the FAA will take the point and equalize, from the legal point of view, hobbyist and commercial drone operators. Dronologista hopes that equalizing won’t mean making all UAV use illegal.
Now to the second part of the title: how to prevent midair collision between drones and airliners. Couple of months ago, DJI introduced a new model, the Phantom Vision + featuring a unique solution to increase flight safety and prevent accidental flights into restricted areas. Firmware for the new DJI product line includes No Fly Zones around airports worldwide (Tallahasee Regional Airport is not among them; maybe a software patch would be welcome). How it works, you can see in this video:
If the lawmakers are slow to figure out what can be done to ensure safe operation of UAS, they should apply efficient solutions, such as one DJI uses. Best practice will always be the best, until better appears.