Over the last several weeks we’ve seen and heard reports of drones around Heathrow and London’s Gatwick airports. It seems Newark Liberty International Airport in N.J. faced a similar incident Tuesday, grounding all departing and incoming flights.
Two pilots were the first to report a drone sighting over nearby Teterboro Airport at 3,500 ft. Following the sightings, flights were put on hold, and incoming flights were warned. Initially, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had reports of two drones, but it was later discovered to be the same drone.
Airport goers were none too pleased by the development. One traveler even tweeted to the drone owner.
CBS New York was able to acquire the transcripts from traffic control when the drone was within 30 ft of an aircraft.
“There’s something flying here, we thought it might be a drone. There is definitely something there.”
“Yes sir, it definitely looks like a drone…we missed the drone about 30 ft away from the right wing.”
The drone presence incited a police helicopter search for the machine and its operator. Newark Liberty Airport resumed flights around 5:45 p.m. ET, but flights set to land at the airport were further delayed. Normal operations didn’t begin again until around 7:00 p.m. ET.
Regarding an investigation, the Times reports, “[Port Authority officials] said they would work with the FAA and federal law-enforcement agencies “as they investigate this incident.”
“Teterboro Airport is patrolled by the Port Authority Police Department and falls within the jurisdiction of the Moonachie Police Department. Asked Tuesday evening about the drone sighting, an officer on duty there said the department was unaware of it.”
While no drone operator or drone was found by police, the sighting at 3,500 ft is means for concern. Pilots are set to fly at a maximum of 400 ft above the ground as per FAA guidelines. The fact that an unmanned aerial vehicle was zipping around the airport and near flying planes put a fair amount of travelers in limbo. One passenger, Thor Kongvold, spoke with CBS New York, “They shouldn’t be flying near an airport, period. They do, and they caught they’ve got to pay the consequences.”
Just this month, the U.S. Transportation Department proposed new rules that allow drones to fly over populated areas and end permit requirements for night flights. However, in 2018 the U.S. Congress granted the Justice and Homeland Security departments the ability to disable or eliminate drone threats.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense