A pilot reported an unmanned aerial vehicle was about 200 feet away from colliding with a Lufthansa jet landing at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration says. Pilots' reported sightings of drones rose sharply last year, the FAA says, and a Los Angeles Times analysis shows California leads the US with about 200 reported close encounters in the past two years. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is calling for the passage of a bill to toughen laws on consumer drone use.
The Federal Aviation Administration is being urged to expedite drone-flight rules by a coalition of more than 30 drone trade groups, which say the FAA's pace on regulation is being outstripped by technology's advance. "[W]e strongly encourage the FAA to simultaneously expedite its small [unmanned aircraft systems] rulemaking and issue notice and public comment as soon as possible," says the letter from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Academy of Model Aeronautics and 31 other groups.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the agency plans to hire 10,000 air traffic controllers over the next 10 years. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, meet age requirements and be willing to relocate to one of 315 FAA sites across the U.S. Applicants must also display "three years of progressively responsible work experience, or a Bachelor's degree, or a combination of education and work experience that totals three years."
The Federal Aviation Administration said it will leave privacy concerns up to sites for drone testing. The agency plans to select six sites by the end of 2013. "The test sites will provide invaluable information that will help us develop policies and procedures to ensure safe, responsible and transparent integration," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in a statement.
Though the Federal Aviation Administration says it still may have to close air traffic control towers at 149 small-and medium-size airports operated by contractors, it says it will keep towers at mid-size airports open at night. The FAA formerly said it would have to cut tower service at night at the mid-size airports, but Congress passed a measure to make funding available so the towers can stay open during overnight shifts.