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American Air Pilot Claims He Almost Hit a Drone Over Florida

Excerpt from Wall Street Journal

May 09, 2014 4:00 pm

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As small drones become more popular, we’ll see more instances like this, and hopefully take steps to avoid an accident.

— Jason Clampet

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Euan Rocha  / Reuters

The Aeryon Scout, a small drone developed by start-up Aeryon Labs used by public safety, commercial and industrial users to reliably collect high quality aerial imagery and data is pictured in Waterloo, Ontario, March 11, 2014. Euan Rocha / Reuters


A U.S. airliner nearly collided with a drone over Florida earlier this year, a federal official said, a near miss that highlights risks posed by the proliferation of unmanned aircraft in U.S. skies.

A pilot of an American Airlines Group Inc. regional jet told officials that on March 22 he came dangerously close to a “small remotely piloted aircraft” about 2,300 feet above the ground near Tallahassee Regional Airport in Florida, said Jim Williams, head of the unmanned-aircraft office at the Federal Aviation Administration. Mr. Williams disclosed the incident publicly for the first time at a drone conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

American Airlines on Friday said it couldn’t find evidence of the incident and declined to comment further.

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