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  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

Can Drones Cause Airplane Crashes?

Airline pilots have a profession where workplace safety is a matter of life and death for hundreds of people. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports of close calls with drones continue to increase every year, calling into question whether airline pilots and passengers can fly safely. In the last year, pilots have reported hundreds of near-collisions with consumer drones to the FAA.

The surge in popularity among drone enthusiasts may be the reason reports of close calls with airline pilots have tripled since last year. Consumer Electronics Association data suggests more than 700,000 consumer drones will be sold this year. Although FAA regulations prohibit drone operators from flying the machines above 400 feet, pilots have notified the FAA of drone sightings at above 3,000 feet.

In 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of birds while taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The collision caused both jet engines to fail, sending the plane spiraling downwards. Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and his first officer were able to pull off a miracle landing in the Hudson River, saving the lives of all passengers and crew. What makes this story both relevant and important is that a small flock of birds can take down a passenger jet. Drones are much larger and made of materials that can cause significant damage to aircraft.

How Could New Laws Protect Airline Pilots From Consumer Drones?

Lawmakers are drafting new rules that would ensure consumer drone operators are held accountable for violating FAA regulations. Federal regulators will now require recreational drone operators to register their aircraft, so those who break the rules can be held accountable.

Larrimer & Larrimer, LLCColumbus Workers’ Comp Lawyers

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