As the skies get increasingly crowded, tension sbetween airlines and drone manufacturers are heating up. A recent viral video is behind three aviation lobbyist groups demanding increased regulation on non-military drones.
The video shows a drone to a passenger plane in the Las Vegas area, within 10 feet of a plane in the process of landing at McCarren International Airport. It's spurred groups like the Air Line Pilots Association, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and Airlines for America to issue a statement pointing out the safety weaknesses with how the FAA currently treats drones.
“Small drones are very difficult to visually acquire by pilots in flight or by air traffic controllers in the tower,” the statement , “and small drones do not currently have electronic anti-collision technologies that are compatible with airline collision avoidance systems."
If all drones were equipped with anti-collision tech, the statement argues, commercial planes could take necessary evasive actions. The statement calls for enhanced FAA controls on drones.
“The likelihood that a drone will collide with an airline aircraft is increasing. By providing the FAA with the full authority to regulate all UAS operations, the safety of passenger and cargo flights will be protected," it reads.
The Drone Manufacturers Alliance (DMA), made up of companies like DJI, 3D Robotics, GoPro and Parrot, have not issued any specific response to the Las Vegas incident. It did release in response to a recent Hawaiian crash between a helicopter and a drone, though, where it "emphasizes that all drone pilots must follow laws and regulations about drone flights to keep the skies safe."
Rather than equipping drones with new pieces of technology, the DMA that they be monitored remotely through local broadcast technology. So far, the FAA seems to agree with them.
If more Las Vegas-style incidents occur, however, it's hard to say what it's in the future for drone monitoring.