The Transportation Security Administration will test new drone tracking technology to spot, track, and identify drones in restricted airspace after dozens of drone sightings and a few reports of a “guy in a jetpack”, near Los Angeles International Airport.
According to the TSA's statement on Thursday, the federally financed initiative will make LAX the second airport in the nation to use the “state-of-the-art equipment,” which is already being tested at Miami International Airport with ambitions to expand nationwide.
The TSA reports that there have been 38 drone sightings at LAX this year, one of which was within 700 feet of an aircraft. A three-mile radius around LAX has had 90 visible sightings and 5,200 technological detections of drones since last year.
Drone tracking tech at LAX
“While there are many beneficial uses for drones in our society, it is becoming far too common that drones are sighted near airports, which presents significant security risks and unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Downey) reportedly said in a statement.
Pilots at LAX have reported many close calls with drones during takeoffs and landings.
In 2020, several pilots reported seeing a person flying in a jetpack at a great height close to the airport. The allegations were never proven; the FBI said that the balloons may have appeared to the pilots, while another explanation put forward the possibility of the item being a drone carrying a mannequin.
According to TSA Federal Security Director Keith Jeffries, the agency opted to test the new technology at LAX since it is one of the biggest airports in the nation, and there have been several recorded incidents using drones.
The TSA claims that the Miami program, which was started last summer, has discovered thousands of drone flights close to the airport.
Many drones include software and GPS systems that stop users from using them in places where it's banned, including close to airports or other restricted airspace, but some users bypass the safety measures.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, violating airspace limits may result in civil fines or Legal action.
We have not been able to confirm whether this drone tracking tech includes DJI AeroScope.
Photo credit: Jeremy Bezanger via Unsplash
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