Last week, reports of “drone activity” temporarily halted flights at the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had to briefly hold arrivals due to “reports of drone activity north of the airport earlier that evening.” The airport had to coordinate with the FAA and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate the reports, which came from crews of both Southwest and United Airlines flights. The FAA did not confirm the sighting.
However, incidents like this are one of the reasons that the FAA is concerned with the safe implementation of drones in the national airspace. Drone operators must be cognizant of the dangers and safety risk posed to manned flights by drones flying in and around airports.
This report comes after a series of other similar reports in the U.K. at Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Of course, drone industry leader, DJI, has issued a notice cautioning those evaluating initial reports of drones sightings which have, in the past, turned out to be a plastic bag, structural failure of the manned aircraft itself, a bat, and a balloon.