UnNews:Drone fails to down airliner

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Drone fails to down airliner

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19 March 2016

Drone and moon

The aircraft, luckily, avoided a collision with both the thing on the left and the thing on the right.

LOS ANGELES, California -- An unmanned drone was able to come no closer than 200 feet to a Lufthansa A300 airliner on Friday, spurring calls for legislation to improve the precision of the unmanned craft.

The jet was flying at 5,000 feet, about 14 miles east of LAX, when the failure occurred at 1:30 p.m. The aircraft has precise gauges with which to report the former two figures. The other statistic comes from Timex, and the distance to the drone is a complete guess. In fact, at the time, the pilot's only comment on the relatively slow-moving drone was, "What was that?"

Fortunately, area legislators are not hardly as reticent. For example, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, "A near-miss of 200 feet is completely unacceptable." The California Democrat introduced a bill last year that would have mandated high standards for drones, such as health care insurance covering pediatric orthodontics and providing free abortions. She said it would improve air safety by doing for drones what a similar law has done to the American employment situation.

Drone

A drone (file photo).

Drones now outnumber manned aircraft in the United States. Americans frequently use drones for air travel to avoid long lines for Enhanced Jetway Screening. But drones have frightened police and firefighters. Just last year, a drone startled the pilot of a traffic helicopter and induced him to utter an obscenity. Sen. Feinstein said that if a drone hit an aircraft windshield or were sucked into an engine, it could cause a crash; and if it occured at the exact moment of The Rapture, it could lead to an end of life on earth. A bird strike could have the same effects, but Sen. Feinstein's companion bill to criminalize birds went nowhere in Congress, most legislators opposing it because, "They are pretty." As drones generally are not, she said the new bill has a good chance of passage.

In New York, Bard College's Center for Drone Grievance Studies found that 90 percent of close calls with drones involve commercial jets. It found virtually no near-collisions of drones and birds with no airplane involved. The study said most drone sightings were at altitudes higher than 400 feet, raising the question of how the drone got that high without being at a lower height beforehand.

Aides to Sen. Feinstein are also working on the aviation problem that, most times that hand-held laser pointers are aimed upward at commercial jets, the beam fails to enter the cockpit entirely but is merely noticed off to one side. Her office is preparing another law to mandate precision sights for all such devices.

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