Pilot Has Close Call In Air After Dangerous Drone Sighting

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Police are searching the perimeter of Miami International looking for a drone, or its operator, after a pilot had a close call with one.

At about 11:15 Wednesday morning, the pilot of an American Airlines plane reported a drone crossed its flight path.

“Drone on final for American 1317, runway 9,” the pilot could be heard saying over the radio. “It was about 500 feet. I saw a drone on final for runway 9, 1317.”

American Flight 1317 from Chicago was just 500 feet about the ground on final approach, about a mile or two from touch down, when it happened.

“That’s a pretty frightening thing that a plane could be rerouted or diverted or possibly in some sort of danger because the drone got into the engine,” said passenger Lisa Wallace.

For passengers, it’s frightening to think about what could happen if a drone and plane collide.

“It’s a danger to us. The plane could have an accident and lives could be lost because it could fall into the engine, fly into the engine,” said another passenger, Angela Woodward.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson from Florida released a statement on the incident:

“Today’s incident is yet another example of the danger drones pose to the traveling public…  Finding a way to implement the technology needed to prevent this kind of dangerous situation near our nation’s airports will be one of my top priorities.”

Gabriel Bigore, who owns Scorpion Drones, said drones can’t even fly near the airport, which are designated “no fly zones.”

“Example, we have Miami International Airport, that circle, that’s a no fly zone.  If we try to go that way we stop, we can’t access to that circle,” he explained.

Individual drones have apps that prevent it. A drone can fly right up to the no fly zone, then it stops.  The FAA also has an app that gives even more detailed information about areas where drones cannot fly.

New rules now require anyone who owns a drone to register with the FAA. Part of that includes learning the rules to fly by.

A couple other important things to remember about those drones is that you have to be able to see it the whole time and you can’t go over 400 feet. But most important, you certainly can’t fly near an airport.

For more information on drone rules, visit FAA.gov.

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