UAVs as a Threat to Commercial Aviation

UAVs as a Threat to Commercial Aviation

DALLAS — In the last few days, the United States and Canada have shot down several unidentified aerial vehicles (UAVs) over North America. It is unclear who is operating the UAVs, but both countries are taking the threats seriously. The U.S. has shot down four UAVs, while Canada has shot down two.

The actions were taken in response to reports of possible threats to national security and the safety of civilian flight. As to the potential hazard to civilian aircraft, pilots gave different accounts of what they observed after coming near the object; according to CNN, some pilots said it “interfered with their sensors,” while other pilots said they didn’t experience that.

The UAVs that were shot down were flying at an altitude of between 30,000 and 40,000 feet, the same altitude at which commercial aircraft typically fly. This altitude range provides commercial aircraft with a balance between fuel efficiency and safety.

While flying at higher altitudes reduces the likelihood of encountering turbulence and bad weather, commercial airlines tend to fly at the highest altitude possible while still remaining within the range of air traffic control and other navigational systems.

The issue with UAVs is that they can disrupt aircraft navigation, communication, and air traffic control systems, not to mention the risk of mid-air collisions. They can also be used to spy on commercial flights with cameras and sensors that can monitor commercial aviation activities.

Photo: Author

UAV Sightings

While the official narrative is that the Northern Command has adjusted the parameters of their radar capabilities in a way that they can see more than they could before, there have been reports of unidentified objects flying over North America since the early 20th century. In recent years, the increasing prevalence of UAVs has led to an even greater number of sightings and documented collisions.

On the night of March 16, 2017, a pair of WestJet (WS) flights near B.C.’s Okanagan Valley allegedly saw “a bright, white strobe-type light” above them, as well as a pre-dawn January 10, 2015 encounter outside Regina, Saskatchewan, when “multiple aircraft reported a very large object with a small white light in the middle, surrounded by a halo” that “appeared to descend from above” 41,000 feet.

The WS sightings come from Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Report System (CADORS), a searchable digital archive. CADORS contains nearly 300,000 aviation incident reports spanning three decades, covering everything from mechanical failures to rowdy passengers to bird strikes. It also contains an enthralling record of UFO sightings by professional aviators in Canadian airspace.

In January 2020, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported an incident involving a commercial pilot and an unidentified flying object. The pilot reported that the object flew within 500 feet of the aircraft and that the object had no visible lights. However, the FAA did not confirm the presence of a UFO, and the incident remains unresolved.

Many modern UFO sightings have been debunked as drones and paper lanterns, and some even argue that UFO stories are merely a cover for advances in foreign surveillance technology. In the U.S., the FAA tracks similar observations, but they are frequently labeled as drones, that is until yesterday, opting for referring to them as “objects.”

The objects shot down on Friday and Saturday did not resemble surveillance balloons. Some theories suggest that these objects could be drones, while others suggest they could be extraterrestrial in origin. It is also possible that these objects could be a result of military testing or other activities. In any case, it is important to stress that these objects pose a potential threat to commercial aviation and should be monitored closely.

Featured image: Almighty Shilref on

Digital Editor
Digital Editor at Airways, AVSEC interpreter, and visual artist. I am a grammar and sci-fi literature geek who loves editing text and film.

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