Sky Talk

FAA tests drone detection system at DFW Airport

During the dark of night, drones have been buzzing around Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s west diagonal runway. And the government has been trying to find them.

The drone flights were part of a weeklong test conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration to evaluate a drone detection system that could eventually be installed at airports around the country. The system, created by Gryphon Sensors, uses radars, radio-frequency sensors and an electro-optic camera, to find drones in flight.

“We believe that most people who fly drones for fun or those who do so for commercial purposes intend to fly those drones safely, but some people don’t understand what flying safely means,” said Michael O’Harra, deputy Southwest regional administrator for the FAA.

In 2016, the FAA received 1,800 reports from pilots of drones flying near airplanes and airports, up from 1,200 the year before.

The DFW Airport drone flights were the last in a series of tests conducted by the FAA of different detection systems. Tests were also conducted at Atlantic City Airport, New York’s JFK airport, Eglin Air Force Base, Helsinki Airport and Denver International Airport.

Andrea Ahles