Just weeks after Gatwick and Heathrow airports were shut down, Newark Liberty International Airport halted all possible flights due to an alleged drone sighting near Teterboro airport. These alleged drone sightings were reported January 22nd, Tuesday evening at 5 pm (22:00 GMT). Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) is one of the four major airports serving the New York - Philadelphia Urban Area. Teterboro airport is 18 miles NE of Newark Liberty International Airport.
It is interesting to note that these drone sightings have not been validated yet. In fact, CNN changed the headline of their story and published this disclaimer:
"The headline of this story has been updated to reflect that drones were reported near the airport. CNN has not confirmed an actual sighting of a drone in the area".
DJI's Brendan Schulman is also highly skeptical about this incident.
Two drones at once. In the dark. At 3500 feet altitude. It’s very cold outside, below freezing; not the kind of weather for flying drones. This is just not credible. https://t.co/nXysfvyRXA
— Brendan Schulman (@dronelaws) January 23, 2019
The FAA receives many reports of unauthorized drone activities each month. In fact, in the April – June period, 785 such activities were reported to the FAA. But, how many of these sightings were falsely reported? That remains the moot question.
Back to back incidents has prompted the airports of Gatwick and Heathrow to invest millions of pounds in anti drone technology. It is rumored that systems from the Israeli company, Drone Dome have been installed at these airports.
Meanwhile back home, the recently introduced 2018 Reauthorization Act placed greater restrictions on drone operations near airports. SEC. 384 of the Act is titled, “Unsafe operation of unmanned aircraft”. This section prohibited pilots from flying in "runway exclusions". Runway exclusions were defined as
"the length of which extends parallel to the runway’s centerline to points that are 1 statute mile from each end of the runway and the width of which is ½ statute mile"
The need to define runway exclusions prompted DJI to come out with their more refined geo-fencing system, Geo V 2.0.
Meanwhile flights have resumed at EWR. Watch this space for further developments!
Normal #EWR operations have resumed after arrivals were briefly held by the FAA due to reports of drone activity north of the airport earlier this evening. We’re coordinating with the FAA & fully supporting all federal law enforcement authorities as they investigate this incident
— Newark Liberty Airport (@EWRairport) January 23, 2019