• A security threat lurks in the sky around OIA

    By: Jason Kelly , Shannon Butler

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Channel 9 has uncovered concerns about a security threat lurking around Orlando International Airport.

    Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Chairman Frank Kruppenbacher said he would immediately add technology to detect and disable drones but Federal Aviation Administration rules prevent the agency from doing so.

    A new report said the FAA has reviewed almost 5,600 incidents, reported from late 2015 to early 2018, in which drones were flown near commercial planes.


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    The report said none of the reported incidents caused major damage or injuries, but drones are being flown above the FAA's strictly imposed ceiling of 400 feet.

    In one case, a pilot spotted a drone being flown at an altitude of 51,000 feet, the report said.

    One pilot reported being chased by a drone at 260 mph. Researchers who conducted the study said drone operators sometimes play a "high-altitude game of head-on chicken" with commercial airliners.

    Read: OIA to Uber, Lyft drivers: Take down your tents

    The researchers said it's easy to obtain a drone, making detection difficult. 

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    "The FAA needs to get off their duff, so to speak, and empower airports to put in drone-detection technology that would allow us not only to detect it but disable it," Kruppenbacher said. "There have been near misses before where we have knowledge of issues, so why are we not getting ahead of it?"

    Channel 9 asked the FAA how it is handling concerns about drones, but the agency said it didn't have time to prepare a response by Monday.

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