12:22 GMT27 February 2020
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    Calls for tighter controls over unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - more commonly known simply as drones - are garnering steam after the pilots of three commercial flights near New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport spotted drones flying dangerously close to their planes.

    The latest incident unfolded Sunday night, when the pilot of a Shuttle America flight from Richmond, Virginia, reported a drone flying on the left side of his aircraft while it was approaching the runway, CBS reported. It comes after pilots of two other flights — one operated by JetBlue out of Haiti and a Delta flight from Orlando — both reported seeing a UAV on Friday as they prepared to land at JFK.

    Though all the three flights completed safely, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warns drones spotted near passenger planes have become a trend of late, with around two such sightings each week, according to FAA data. The issue has attracted the attention of security officials and legislators.

    The US Department of Homeland Security last week distributed a bulletin to police agencies across the country, warning of the potential use of drones for terror attacks, CBS revealed.

    Meanwhile, legislation has been proposed to require that drones be equipped with Geo-fencing technology, software that prohibits UAVs to enter no-fly zones.

    “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,” US Senator Charles Schumer, who supports the use of Geo-fencing, told CBS.

    Many professional drone operators are meanwhile criticizing amateurs for their irresponsible use of UAVs.

    “It really annoys all of us. It can be a danger because the drones we fly are fairly large,” Rob Feiner from Ultimate Aerials photographic services told CBS. “If we find them we’ll turn them in and will make sure that the FAA deals with them,” he added.

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    Tags:
    UAV, aviation, drone, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Homeland Security, Charles Schumer, United States, New York
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