A few weeks back Best Buy sent me an e-mail bragging up that they are selling drones. My heart just sank as someone who flies well over 100 segments on jets year after year. I just thought to myself that this will not end well one day.
Just yesterday ABC7 in New York reported on the latest event of a drone very near to a Delta jet about to land at JFK.
I will tell you upfront, I am not a drone fan. I have never flown one, but get how much fun it looks like to do so. I also clearly understand the footage they produce is simply amazing and that from tourist sites to Realtors selling a home having this kind of “WoW” footage is a must have nowadays. But who should get to fly them?
When you can go online (i.e. anyone) and get one and fly it around – I think you are just asking for trouble. Why? Well, take a look at the video above. Sure, clearly against the law, but what else really needs to be said?
I spoke with a friend who sells drones and asked him about just what damage he thinks a drone could do to a jet? He said we need to keep in mind just how hard these things are to fly and how any gust of wind can send them out of control. I was not really that comforted by his words.
Others who are drone hobbyists suggest that there is not enough mass for a small drone to cause any more damage than a bird if it ever hit a jet. I am not so sure as I have seen some very big drones that I would really not want to see ingested into a jet engine attached to an aircraft I was on (would you?)!
Not to mention the lifting capacity of some of the new drones is VERY impressive. Would you want the above drone with its “payload” flying anywhere near you on a jet?
Then you can take that to the next level, think about 5 or 10 or 20 of these flying around anywhere near an airport. What damage could they do to a jet at takeoff or landing?
People who don’t fly much often ask if I am afraid of flying as much as I do. My stock answer is always the same that I am MUCH more afraid of the car ride to the airport as we all know flying is just about the safest type of transport on the planet (probably safer than walking, but I have not checked that). But I will tell you this, drones are starting to scare me a bunch. – René
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