Whenever ‘airliner’ and ‘drone’ exist in the same sentence, it is almost always trouble. In yet another incident involving drones, airplanes, and airports, a Vancouver near-miss may make you uneasy. A Jazz owned airliner nearly collided with a civilian drone this week. This led to a renewal of the spark regarding stricter drone regulations – especially around airports.
Vancouver Airport Near-Miss
The incident happened 7000 feet in the air. For reference, civilian drones are only allowed by law to reach 400 feet up. How the drone ended up at a flight path of a fully sized airplane is a mystery. What possible reason could the drone’s owner have for flying it the entire way? Was it to photograph the clouds? Take a shot at planes passing by? Or was it more malicious, and they intended on colliding with a plane?
The Jazz plane and the drone were not as close as the other incidents, but still. It was reported by the crew onboard that they did not need any evasive maneuver or changing of flight paths to avoid a collision with the drone.
They were apparently on their way to the Vancouver airport from Saskatoon when the incident occurred. In a majority of these mid-air near-misses, planes almost always are on their way back down to the airports. This means little fuel to spare, and little room for error. It takes a lot of fuel (not to mention a lot of space required) to do an unplanned aerial maneuver. This is especially the case for massive planes with hundreds of people onboard.
The plane is not the only one that turns into chaos with these drone incidents. The airport itself needs to redirect incoming flights to remove the risk of more planes colliding with the drone. They also delay outgoing flights, which can mess up a lot of schedules for both the people and the airline.
These drone incidents can lead to massive fines, confiscation, or even imprisonment for the owner. Take not that you can only fly your civilian drone at a maximum range of 400 feet up (depends per location). You also cannot fly drones on airports, up to 1 kilometer of one’s boundary. Same regulation applies for flying in busy airspaces.
Let’s keep the safety, shall we? Be more responsible when flying your drones.