JetBlue Pilot: Drone Scares Plane’s Flight Crew, FAA Launches Investigation

A JetBlue pilot and his crew received quite the scare after they spotted a drone flying near their aircraft, and the incident has prompted an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration. According to Local 10 News, the JetBlue flight was to land at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when it spotted a drone as it approached the airport on Monday morning.

“We just had a drone at our location cross over the top of us at 5,000 feet,” the pilot communicated to the tower.

Officials say the JetBlue pilots didn’t have to take evasive action, and the plane was able to make a safe landing. However, the FAA released a statement regarding the matter.

“The crew of JetBlue 2007, an Airbus A320, reported seeing an unmanned aircraft system on approach to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at 9:37 a.m. today. The FAA will investigate.”

Below is a transcript of the JetBlue pilot’s reaction after spotting the drone.

“PILOT: ‘Miami. Jetblue 2007. Just advise you, we have a drone crossed over us about 1,000 feet.’
TOWER: ‘Say again.’
PILOT: ‘Just had a drone in our location cross over top of us about 1,000 feet.'”

The FAA also confirmed to CBS Miami that the pilot took no evasive action as the aircraft and drone were not very close. However, the incident caused the control tower to alert other planes that an unmanned aircraft was in the area.

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The incident also prompted a response from the public. Trevor Duke, who is the co-owner of Icarus Aerials in Fort Lauderdale — a company that films drone videos for construction jobs and boat shows — said drone operators have to be especially careful in airports such as Fort Lauderdale, mainly due to their close proximity to city centers.

“If I were flying any plane from a 747 to a little Cessna, I would be careful of any drones in the sky,” Duke said. “If you were to fly around an airport and not be aware of the planes and be anywhere near that flight path, you’re looking for trouble and the authorities are going to look into that.”

The fact that the drones get too close to aircrafts is becoming a serious problem. Between January and August, 650 cases of incidents involving aircraft and drones were reported. It is believed that by the end of the year, incidents will be four times more than last year. Recently, there were three drone incidents in three days at JFK Airport in New York. The situation is becoming so disturbing that a New York senator proposed that the drones use computer programs that limit where and how high they could fly.

[Image via Bruce Bennett/Getty Images News]