Tallahassee Drone Mystery Continues

By: FAA; Associated Press News; Winnie Wright Email
By: FAA; Associated Press News; Winnie Wright Email
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Updated By: Winnie Wright
May 12, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - "Where something like that could have taken off from, is a mystery", says Michael Levine, President of the Seminole RC Club.

Bluestreak Airlines flight #4650 reported to the FAA on March 22nd to have had a near mid-air collision with a drone at about twenty-three hundred feet, five miles northeast of the Tallahassee Airport.

"We know what the pilot said he saw. We know what he reported. We've been in contact with the Academy of Model Aeronautics. They've been in contact with the FAA" says Jeff Owens, Vice President of the Seminole RC Club, and Private Pilot.

Levine says that while the FAA has been conducting an investigation, the finger has been pointed at their club that operates out of an airfield 11 miles East of the Airport.

According to the Seminole RC Club leadership, they lease the space for their airfield from the County. They say the county entrusts all members to be insured and operate by specific safety principles.

According to that leadership, the aircraft reported by the pilot would require a highly skilled operator and would be very expensive.They say it wouldn't be worth it to them to fly carelessly.

The FAA says they investigated the close call and could not identify the drone, or it's pilot.

News Release: Associated Press News

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Federal officials say a U.S. jet airliner nearly collided in March with an airborne drone in the sky over Tallahassee, Florida.

Jim Williams of the Federal Aviation Administration's unmanned aircraft office acknowledged the incident Thursday at a San Francisco drone conference.

Williams cited it as an example of the risks posed by drones.

The near collision was reported to air traffic control on March 22 by the pilot of an American Airlines Group jet as the pilot approached the Tallahassee runway en route from Charlotte, North Carolina.

The pilot said the drone was at an altitude of about 2,300 feet, 5 miles northeast of the airport.

The FAA has investigated the incident, but in a statement released Friday said it was unable to identify the pilot or the drone's operator.

American Airlines said it was investigating.

News Release: FAA

On March 22, 2014 a near mid-air collision was reported to Tallahassee Air Traffic Control by PSA Airlines (US Airways commuter) Flight #4650, a CRJ2 aircraft.

Flight #4650 was en route from Charlotte, NC (CLT) to Tallahassee, FL (TLH).

It was on a right VFR downwind approach to Runway 36 at TLH and passed an unreported and apparently remotely controlled aircraft at 2300 ft., five miles northeast of the Tallahassee airport.

The FAA investigated. Neither the UAS nor the pilot could be identified.

The FAA is working aggressively to ensure the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace. This includes approving, two months ahead of the deadline, the use of UAS at two of six FAA-designated test sites to help answer key integration questions. The law requires private individuals flying model aircraft to notify an airport operator and air traffic control facility when flying within five miles of an airport. The FAA has the authority to pursue enforcement action against operators who endanger the safety of the national airspace system. (P.L. 112-95 Section 336)

The FAA has the exclusive authority to regulate the airspace from the
ground up, and a mandate to protect the safety of the American people in the air and on the ground. The public expects us to carry out this
mission. Our challenge is to integrate unmanned aircraft into the
busiest, most complex airspace in the world. Introduction of unmanned aircraft into America’s airspace must take place incrementally and with the interest of safety first.

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