Countless stories have been appearing in the news over the years regarding drone activity in federal airspace, citing safety concerns for passenger aircraft and disruption of airline operations. These risks are clear – a drone crash into an aircraft will cause damage to both vehicles. In 2012, the FAA established The FAA Modernization and Reauthorization Act, putting into law a requirement for hobbyist drone operators to contact their local airport management and the air traffic control tower if they plan to fly their drone within five miles of an airport.
The notification requirement was designed to provide the airport an opportunity to prepare for drone activity. However, since then, this rule has largely gone unnoticed by hobbyist drone users, raising concerns for airports, aircraft pilots, and passenger safety. With this marked increase in drone sightings, airport operators are considering how to approach drone safety measures and determine the additional risks that drones pose to their overall security program. Airports are multi-faceted security centers. They have officers monitoring the airfield, tarmac and fences, people on the ground following cargo and passenger baggage, and managers of warehouses that contain fleet maintenance programs.
Thousands of safety and security elements exist on a single day in the life of an airport, and each component has a different security risk. The FAA and airports are acutely aware of the dangers drones pose to their airspace. However, there is a gap of knowledge and understanding of the intention of drones within physical grounds of airports, leaving questionable security concerns.
An unauthorized drone near an airport is a serious breach of security and can ground flights, shut down runways, and alarm passengers at airports who rely on airport managers to help them travel safely.
Airports around the world experienced multiple drone incidents firsthand in the first half of 2017, and were involved with the following activities:
Chinese airport experiences multiple drone incidents, prompting dramatic security measures: More than 10,000 passengers were stranded at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport after more than 60 flights were interrupted by four drones.
Drone in near miss with plane near Edinburgh Airport: An unmanned craft was flying about 20-30 metres away from a Loganair flight at about 4,000ft. No-one was injured and the plane successfully landed.
FAA investigating drone that nearly struck plane at Charlotte Douglas airport: Crew members on board a Jetstream International plane spotted a drone a mile and a half from the runway as their jet was preparing to land.
Drone pilot arrested in China for threatening safety of aircraft: A 23-year-old hobby pilot in China, who launched the drone to film the sunset, came within 50 meters of an airplane, and filmed multiple scenes including several civilian airliners passing by. He was detained by police.
Report published, “Unmanned Aerial Systems Sightings Report”: Reports of UAS sightings from pilots, citizens and law enforcement have increased dramatically, and the FAA now receives more than 100 such reports each month. The agency wants to send out a clear message that operating drones around airplanes, helicopters and airports is dangerous and illegal. Unauthorized operators may be subject to stiff fines and criminal charges, including possible jail time. This report is published quarterly. for endangering public security.
An airspace security platform that detects, classifies and mitigates all drone threats.