Commercial jet and drone had close call over Florida, FAA says

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. Airways regional jet and a drone nearly collided in midair over the Florida Panhandle in March, the FAA said Friday.

An FAA spokesman says the collision occurred on March 22 at an altitude of about 2,300 feet as the plane was trying to land at Tallahassee Regional Airport. The pilot in this case thought that the drone had hit him.

The information came to light on Thursday at a drone conference where Jim Williams with the FAA spoke of the incident.

It is unclear how close the plane and drone came, what type of drone it was or who was controlling it.

The FAA is developing regulations and standards for drone use. They may be in place by the end of next year, but it could take longer than that. There are several issues at play in the increasing popularity of drone use, including privacy and safety, as the March incident demonstrates.

American Airlines issued as statement about the incident.

"The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority. We're aware of the published report alleging an incident with one of our express flights, and we are investigating. Any information will be shared with the FAA as part of our normal procedures, and we will not comment on any matter that may be under investigation."




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