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The crew of United Flight 135 was readying itself for what it thought would be a typical descent into Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on Sunday. But as the aircraft made its way closer to the runway, an air traffic control operator warned the crew that a drone was flying dangerously close to the Boeing 767-400.
“See about a quarter mile to the left,” the air traffic control worker told the United crew. “That white [inaudible] sitting on top?”
“Yes, we do see it,” the pilot responded.
The flight was arriving after an eight-hour journey from Zurich (ZRH) when the drone appeared to be “in the vicinity of the runway,” United said in a statement. “Our crew monitored the drone and landed the aircraft safely.” The incident occurred at 11:55am, two miles southwest of EWR according the FAA.
An FAA spokesman detailed the incident in an email to Business Insider:
“Preliminary information shows that United Flight 135, a Boeing 767, reported a near mid-air collision with a white unmanned aircraft approximately two miles southwest of Newark. The FAA notified the New Jersey State Police.”
The FAA is further investigating the incident and, coincidentally enough, tweeted only a day before about drone safety:
According to the FAA’s website, you can’t fly a drone within 5 miles of an airport without prior notification to the airport and air traffic control. Reports show that drones can cause significant damage to aircraft while flying. The New York Post reported that flying a drone anywhere near airports is illegal and violators could face fines of up to $25,000 and criminal charges.
H/T: Business Insider
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