FAA investigating “extremely dangerous” incident
May 17, 2012
A mystery object, thought to be a military or law enforcement drone, flying in controlled airspace over Denver almost caused a catastrophic mid air crash with a commercial jet Monday.
The pilot of the Cessna jet radioed air traffic controllers to warn them that “A remote controlled aircraft” had flown past his plane far too close for comfort.
“Something just went by the other way … About 20 to 30 seconds ago. It was like a large remote-controlled aircraft.” the pilot said in the transmission that was captured on the live air traffic audio website liveatc.net.
The craft was reported as being about 8,000 feet above sea level, or about 2,800 feet above the ground, at the time the pilot reported the seeing it. It did not show up on radar.
The type of drones used by NATO typically fly at 10,000 feet and below. Other tactical military drones can fly up to 18,000 feet.
Denver 9News reports that the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, which it has described as potentially “extremely dangerous.”
“The threat is there from a collision standpoint,” an FAA spokesman said.
In a statement to USA Today, the agency said: “The FAA is investigating the incident and will try to positively identify the object the Citation pilot reported, where it came from and who was operating it.”
Aviation expert and former NTSB investigator Greg Feith told 9News that he believed the object could have been either a military or police drone.
“We have something in controlled airspace that poses a danger,” Feith added.
Watch the report: