For the past few years, the Federal Aviation Administration has been reminding people not to fly drones near JFK Airport. But unmanned-aircraft pilots seem to think these warnings were made on Opposite Day, as drones are instead being sighted with greater regularity closer and closer to their giant aerial siblings.
Three were spotted this weekend — one pilot noticed a drone flying only 25 feet away from the plane he was currently landing, according to the New York Post. “This is not a threat where they were 2,000 or 3,000 feet in the air,” a source told the paper. “The pilot was landing the airplane, and [the drone] violated airspace in an extraordinarily sensitive location.” The Department of Homeland Security warned pilots, who collectively report a total of about two drone sightings a day, per the FAA, that drones can be used in terror attacks and should be avoided when spotted.
Senator Chuck Schumer called on the federal aviation agency to change drone rules immediately. “The FAA has to act and toughen up the rules before a tragedy occurs because if a drone were sucked into a jet engine of a plane filled with passengers untold tragedy could result and we do not, do not, do not want that to happen.”
The federal government has been working on rules for recreational drone pilots for quite a while — but not soon enough to prevent drunken government employees from accidentally crashing drones on the White House lawn or to stop unknown individuals from scaring pilots. Meanwhile, the FAA is currently trying to finish regulations to allow even more drones to crowd the air — in the next year, proposed rules for commercial drone use are supposed to be completed.