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Rogue Drones Posing Greater Hazard Across Nation

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By    |   Tuesday, 11 Aug 2015 04:10 PM

Rogue drones are increasingly becoming a problem around the country, creating a nuisance for both regulated airspace and private entities as well.

According to The Washington Post, this is a growing concern among Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials.

As there has been an increase in reports about drones flying close to airports, Michael P. Huerta, FAA chief, tells the Post that he's "definitely getting much more concerned about it."

Four airline crews reported Sunday that they spotted drones while flying into the Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport, USA Today reports.

There were similar reports at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in late July. One pilot said that a drone traveled right underneath the nose of the plane at 800 feet.

Under FAA rules, drone operators are supposed to acquire clearance to fly within five miles of an airport.

But drones are becoming a problem beyond sharing airspace with planes, the Post reports.

One drone was recently caught trying to smuggle drugs into a prison in Ohio. Another drone crashed into a skyscraper in Cincinnati. Drones got in the way of firefighters trying to take on wildfires in California. They have also struck innocent bystanders, one at a festival in New Mexico and another at a gay pride parade in Seattle.

When the drones interfered with California firefighters, Huerta told the Post that it served as a real "wake-up call for a lot of people. This kind of thing has got to stop."

Drones are becoming cheaper to acquire and are also easy to operate, the Post reports, which partly explains the phenomena. They are also able to travel thousands of feet in the sky and have powerful video cameras attached.

Because they have become less expensive, their use has become more common among novice fliers, who are "blissfully unaware" of the laws and rules that govern them, Michael Braasch, engineering professor and drone expert at Ohio University, told the Post.

"Unfortunately, there's also going to be a small percentage of users who are just going to behave badly," Braasch explained.

While most drone operators are using them recreationally, federal officials are concerned about those who may have more nefarious purposes.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin in late July, saying that since 2012 there have been 500 recorded incidents in which drones were spotted near "sensitive sites and critical installations," including military bases and nuclear plants.

The Post explains that another part of the problem is that there is a void in regulations governing drones. Under rules in place, drones are not supposed to fly within five miles of an airport or above 400 feet. But those rules are often disregarded, and a law was passed in 2012 preventing the FAA from imposing more rules on those using drones for recreational purposes.

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Rogue drones are increasingly becoming a problem around the country, creating a nuisance for both regulated airspace and private entities as well.
rogue, drones, hazard, air, nuisance
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2015-10-11
Tuesday, 11 Aug 2015 04:10 PM
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