In three separate incidents this past weekend, drones were witnessed buzzing planes close to airports, with one pilot having to literally swerve to avoid hitting a remotely operated aircraft.
On Friday, two commercial airplanes each came within 100 feet of a drone buzzing around JFK airport, according to audio from each flight’s radio calls.
At 2.24pm, JetBlue Flight 1843 reported that a drone passed just below the plane’s nose when at an altitude of between 800 to 900 feet when it was approaching the airport.
Less than 3 hours later at around 5pm,, Delta Flight 407, containing 154 people, reported seeing a drone 100 feet below its right wing, as it was preparing to land.
Traffic controllers called in a police helicopter in an attempt to find the drone and track the owner.
A third incident occurred Sunday over South Jersey, as the pilot of a Piper PA28 aircraft spotted a drone approximately 1000 feet, about 25 miles northwest of the Sewell Airport.
The pilot had to take evasive action in order to avoid hitting the drone. The FAA is investigating all three incidents.
Phil Derner of NYCaviation.com told WPIX News that drones pose significant dangers.
“Going into an engine can destroy an engine,” Derner said. “Going into the cockpit window can injure a pilot or even kill a pilot.”
The reports come in tandem with a bulletin issued by The Department of Homeland Security warning police that there is an increasing risk that a terror attack will be carried out using drones.
While the alert did not identity a specific security threat, it warned of “emerging adversary use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems present detection and disruption challenges.”
“While many of these encounters are not malicious in nature, they underscore potential security vulnerabilities … that could be used by adversaries to leverage (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) as part of an attack,” according to the federal memo obtained by CBS.
But CNN analyst Bob Baer speculated on how drones could be used by those seeking to attack planes.
“This is crazy,” Baer said. “You can take these drones and, with a 3D printer, make them out of explosives. They’re very dangerous and they’re advancing pretty quickly.”
The FAA says it is now receiving on average two reports per day from pilots saying they have seen drones. The machines are banned within five miles of airports, and are not permitted to fly above 400 feet.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.