The airspace in and around LAX is ground zero for drone-related incidents. While the growing number of sightings between drones and airplanes have, for now, only been close encounters, it is just a matter of time before something more serious, and potentially tragic, takes place. With the FAA’s announcement this week that there are more registered drones than there are registered airplanes, we must act now.
Drones and airports do not mix. LAAPOA advocates for placing control in the hands of airports, not drone operators or manufacturers, to prevent drones from flying in and around the airport’s airspace. We have been actively promoting LAX being the 1st west coast airport to install drone detection technology, technology that exists, as it is critical that our airports are proactive in definitively halting and deterring drones that seek to disrupt air travel and/or impose severe harm to America.
Geo-fencing does not work—it relies on the Chinese manufacturers of drones for compliance. Jamming does not work—it will jam all airport communications. Sensor detection technology that airports can control is the answer and airport police are committed to doing our part to find, deter and apprehend rogue drone pilots. Drones are the next big threat to our airports—either by inexperienced or wayward operators, or those with more nefarious intentions. Either way, airports and airport police must get ahead of the problem using technology that has been tested and proven to prevent drone incursions into airport airspace.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to consider legislation, that LAAPOA supports, which directs the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct three pilot programs to evaluate drone detection systems that will detect a drone and its ground operator (so we actually know who is flying these) in a way that will not interfere with existing airport communications systems. LAX must advocate strongly to be the west coast pilot project location.
“It is incumbent on airports to independently protect their airspace from drones,” said Marshall McClain, President of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association. “LAAPOA is constantly looking for ways to protect your safety, and having LAX be a pilot project location will increase safety exponentially.”