JetBlue pilot spots drone while approaching FLL
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A JetBlue pilot had a close call with a drone Monday morning while getting ready to land at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a Federal Aviation Administration representative said.
“We just had a drone at our location cross over the top of us at 5,000 feet,” the pilot told the tower.
The FAA released a statement to Local 10 News shortly after the incident: “The crew of JetBlue 2007, an Airbus A320, reported seeing a unmanned aircraft system (UAS) on approach to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at 9:37 a.m. today. The pilot did not take evasive action. The FAA will investigate.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office said it was also notified about the drone flying in the vicinity of the airport as the plane was about 15 miles west of the airport. A BSO helicopter canvassed the area, but authorities said they could not find the drone.
BSO officials said the FBI was also contacted “for tracking purposes as no flying restrictions were apparently broken.”
According to FAA statistics, pilots have reported an increase in close calls with drones in the past year.
Nearly 700 incidents with drones have been reported to the FAA this year, nearly triple the number reported for all of 2014, the Washington Post reported.
“Anybody with a couple hundred bucks today can order on Amazon or go to the local store, pick one up, go home and launch it in their back yard,” pilot Brian Kilcullen told Local 10 News.
The issue has also captured the attention of the Secret Service, who first dealt with the issue in January when a small quadcopter drone crashed on the White House lawn.
A rogue drone was also spotted hovering near a West Palm Beach golf course on March 29, when President Barack Obama was hitting the links.
Just two weeks later on April 13, military planes attempted to intercept a white drone that was seen flying in the vicinity of the White House.
According to FAA reports, the drone was last seen flying over the Tidal Basin and heading toward Arlington, Virginia.