Drones Force Temporary Ground Stop On Newark Airport Arrivals

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Stock image of drone and airplane (Shutterstock)

Arriving flights to Newark Airport were temporary prevented from landing on Tuesday because two drones were spotted flying above Teterboro Airport, according to a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The drones were flying at 3,500 feet above the airport; Teterboro Airport is in class D airspace up to 2,500 feet, and above that, in class B airspace, which means air traffic control would need to grant permission for anyone—or anything—to fly in that space. Further, the FAA says that drones are not allowed to be flown over 400 feet, or 30 minutes after sundown.

The ground stop was issued at 5:30 p.m. Incoming flights resumed shortly afterwards, but there may be residual delays for tonight's arrivals as some flights to Newark were delayed from taking off as well.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled at Gatwick Airport near London last December over reports of drone sightings near the airport. Now that airport is conducting "drone drills."

According to the FAA, "Generally, drone operators should avoid flying near airports because of other air traffic. It is very difficult for other aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying, and drone operators are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment." NJ enacted new limitations related to drone usage last year, such as, "No drinking and droning. No flying drones in the way of police or firefighters. No using drones for help in hunting animals," but essentially the law states that if you violate FAA rules, you could be prosecuted for disorderly conduct in the third or fourth degree.

Reporting by Danny Lewis and Jake Dobkin

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