Snakes, birds, and now, drones, make up the list of reasons why you should never board a plane. Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but as the Washington Post recently uncovered, almost 700 close calls between drones and airplanes occurred in the U.S. in 2015. How close? One report described a JetBlue flight that flew at an altitude of 500 feet, flanked by a white drone on its left side. Suffice to say, a lot of Twilight Zone-esque fears may be coming to fruition right now.
Though commercial drones (for the most part) are roughly the size of small birds (think seagulls), a mid-air collision with an airplane could cause some serious complications. In the Post article, experts in aviation safety say "that even tiny drones could trigger a disaster by crashing into a propeller or windshield, or getting sucked into a jet engine."
Although drones aren't legally allowed to fly above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport, figures prove that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) hasn't been doing much in terms of enforcement: according to the Post, "The near-700 close calls between drones and airplanes is three times higher than the same figure in 2014." It probably doesn't help that drones are undetectable by radar.
While the FAA is strategizing solutions in that cute, agonizingly slow way, we reckon someone somewhere is figuring out a way to use this loophole for no good. Next time you're chilling in a window seat, keep your eyes peeled.
Michelle No is an editorial assistant at Supercompressor and has been in zero drone-related accidents. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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