’30 Feet Off Our Right Wing’: Pilot Describes Spotting Drone That Shutdown Newark

Jan 24, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A United Airlines pilot reported that the drone from Tuesday’s Newark shutdown incident passed his aircraft’s right wing by a scant 20 or 30 feet.

As the pilot of UA Flight 2335 approached Newark Liberty International Airport Tuesday afternoon, air traffic control warned him that a drone was in his vicinity, based on another pilot’s report around 4:44pm. According to the radio exchange, the pilot could see the drone flying at their “exact same altitude” of approximately 3,500-3,600 feet, “probably 20 feet, 30 feet off our right.” The apparatus was sighted nine miles north of Newark, nearby Teterboro Airport.

The drone incident led Newark to temporarily shut down arrivals for just under an hour, which forced 43 flights to hold, nine of which had to divert to other airports, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Dozens of additional later flights were delayed as a result of the unscheduled hold. 

In 2017, the FAA discovered that drones can cause more aircraft damage than bird strikes. A drone may have damaged an Aeromexico Boeing 737-300 in Tijuana in December 2018. In the same month, unauthorized drone activity shut down London Gatwick for 36 hours over three days around the Christmas holiday travel season, causing 1,000 cancelled flights, costing EasyJet $19.4 million and resulting in travel disruptions for an estimated 140,000 to 200,000 passengers. London Heathrow had its own drone fiasco just a few weeks later, resulting in a shutdown of around 30 minutes. As a result, Heathrow and Gatwick will install anti-drone technology in an effort to reduce future incidents. 

Despite all this, the Federal Aviation Administration recently authorized nine companies to begin piloting drones closer to a number of airports.

Featured photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.