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Pilots Report Drones Flying Near JFK Flight Path

Discussion in 'News' started by bald1eagle, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Great Pumpkin

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    I saw this report on BBC news tonight and wondered what the final answer to the story will be? First we might guess that the UAV pilot is clueless and has no idea what s/he's doing flying around a busy airport. Second is it possible s/he is flying around JFK air traffic purposely to cause a crash to provoke a federal case and the wrath of the FAA just to mess up everything for responsible fliers?

    Or is it possible that the three airline pilots are trying to provoke the wrath of the FAA with erroneous or even faked reports? One of the airline pilots said the UAV was one foot off the end of his wing tip. Really? What is the landing speed of a "heavy"? Could a UAV keep up with a landing heavy long enough for the heavy pilot to keep sight of the UAV? And what would a UAV do to a heavy's wing if the two collided?

    Think we'll ever find out "the rest of the story"? Because the report doesn't say much so far. Inquiring minds would like to know.
     
  2. SteveMann

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    Typically a heavy will be going 120 to 140 knots on final. There's no way someone could see a drone right off the wingtip.

    A paint smudge. Odds are it wouldn't even be noticed until the next maintenance cycle. I flew jump-seat in a Dash-9 and when we left the aircraft there was a lot of bird feathers and guts in the nacelle of number 2. No one in the cockpit had any clue that we had a bird strike. Fortunately as a guest in the jump seat, I was not a required crew member, so I didn't have to fill out the paperwork for the company.

    This was not our plane but it's very similar to what we saw:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Meta4

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    Another cut & paste formula piece.
    Insert one unconfirmed report of dangerous drone activity.
    Give no details and no intelligent comment.
    Paste in the same half dozen similar accounts that get tacked on to all drone stories.

    Once upon a time the reports were of UFOs so that's what people saw.
    Now the drone is firmly front of mind - that's what people see.
    Whether or not it really is doesn't enter into it.
    The scant details on some reports confirm that those incidents weren't drones at all.
     
  4. Greyfox51

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    Back in early October, I had a hunting party of five men staying in the lodge. All knew about the Phantom but none had ever seen one in operation, so I took the opportunity to introduce them to the hobby. They were suitably impressed. During a fifteen minute display I was able to show them its capabilities, including distance and, at one point, elevating the aircraft to an altitude of about 350ft.

    At this juncture, we got on to the subject of legally imposed limitations and the possible consequences of a collision with a light aircraft or helicopter. Removing the battery, I invited each of them to handle the aircraft and feel its weight. They were amazed at just how light the Phantom was.

    At this point, almost on cue, about 1000 gaggling Greylag geese passed over in seven or eight large skeins. The weather was calm and the skies clear and we judged the birds to be at an altitude of at least 1000ft. If one was needed, the arrival of these geese put the risk of a collision between the Phantom and an aircraft in clear perspective, with the natural hazards that aircraft pilots have to face being of a far more immediate danger.

    I don't know for sure, but I imagine such a large concentration of geese would show up on radar, and a warning issued of the potential hazard to pilots?
     
  5. SteveMann

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    Yes and no. Air Traffic Control radar can see primary returns, but they don't normally have their screens in that mode. Entirely too much clutter. They are only looking at transponder returns from aircraft "in the system", or more specifically on an IFR clearance or participating VFR aircraft receiving radar advisories. Other transponder equipped aircraft will set their transponder to the VFR code of "1200", which is normally filtered so that the controller doesn't see those aircraft. (If a 1200 return would cause a conflict with another target on the controller's screen, it will come up flashing "CA" for Conflict Alert). Some airports are experimenting with doppler radar to detect birds in the airport vicinity.

    If bird flocks were so obvious on radar, then US Airways Flight 1549 (Miracle on the Hudson) may not have happened.
     
  6. Greyfox51

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    Thanks for the clarification.
     
  7. Great Pumpkin

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    Because most of us on this forum are Phantom pilots, we may tend to assume the errant "drones" are Phantoms or something just as small and (?) harmless. But there are lots of "drones", and I doubt if an airline pilot is going to distinguish between a Phantom and some large octacopter or flying wing. They're all "drones." My point is that the clueless public and the FAA may not make a distinction between a little "drone" like a Phantom, which an airliner would bat away like a gnat, and large $30,000 "drone" that could cause serious damage to any manned aircraft. Regrettably and realistically, as William Burroughs wrote: "We're all in this together. If one hangs, we all hang."
     
  8. SanCap

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    I can not for sure say but that looks like more like a Beechcraft King Air/series nacelle than a -9 nacelle, not that it matters to your point.
     
  9. SteveMann

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    What part of "This was not our plane but it's very similar to what we saw:" did you miss?
     
  10. SanCap

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  11. CarlJ

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    too much coffee? :shock:
     
  12. SanCap

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