Skip to comments.Was the Drone/UAV Hovering in the JFK Landing Approach Kill Zone (LAKZ) a Failed Terrorist Attack?
Posted on 05/02/2013 8:54:46 AM PDT by Seizethecarp
Just as terrorists can use GPS guided drone/UAVs to target jet turbines in the Runway Kill Zone (RKZ) as explained in earlier posts to this blog (here), the quad-copter drone that was hovering in the JFK landing approach of an Alitalia jetliner on March 5, 2013 may have been the first terrorist attack in a Landing Approach Kill Zone (LAKZ). News coverage of the story can be seen here.
Using Jeppesen maps, a terrorist can determine the altitude that jetliners are supposed to fly at for each descending leg of a landing approach to a specific runway. At JFK on March 5, 2013, the Alitalia jet was approaching runway 31R. Going on the internet a recent Jeppesen map for that runway shows a leg approximately a mile in length right before Long Beach, NY (where the multi-copter drone was hovering) during which the airliner is supposed to hold steady at 1,900 feet.
Using newly available First-Person View (FPV) video piloting (here) the multi-copters remote pilot could hover the drone at 1,900 feet at the GPS coordinates of the Jeppesen landing approach to JFK runway 31R and visually guide the drone to target one of the jet turbine intakes on the Alitalia airliner.
That doesn't sound very easy.
As a former dispatcher, I hav always felt that approach plates should be controlled..
hussein encourages more experimentation
Well that’s two. How many more nutty conspiracy theories do you have post as threads?
Guess I'll need a note from my doctor to fly an instrument approach.
Not so nutty. Jet approaches final are quite flat, precise and predictable. You have the opportunity to try one after another aircraft, perhaps one every minute depending on separation.
Now the air would be quite turbulent and disturbed so putting a lightweight drone in the right spot at the right time would be challenging.
“That doesn’t sound very easy.”
Imagine yourself in two-dimensions in a small boat trying to intentionally collide with a large ship.
If you have a navigational chart of the ship channel and know the shipping schedule you could position yourself in the middle of the channel using newly available GPS guidance.
You would have the best chance of achieving a collision if you selected a passage in the channel where the large ship would be following a constant bearing as it approaches your intended collision point.
You could sit there at the most likely collision point facing your craft towards the oncoming ship and you would only have to make very small adjustments to the port or starboard (left or right) to insure a collision, assuming you were not detected on the bridge of the approaching craft.
As a boy my Navy dad taught me “beware the constant bearing” meaning that if your craft is following a constant heading at constant speed and another craft is heading across your bow at a constant heading and constant speed, but the “bearing” (compass position) of the other craft is remaining constant (constant degrees to the left or right of your bow) then you are heading for a collision.
Sitting in your small craft facing an oncoming ship it would be easy to determine whether you should maneuver to the left or right to guarantee a collision, assuming the large ship doesn’t change course. All you have to do is observe whether it is coming straight at you and adjust accordingly.
Now imagine a remotely piloted multi-copter drone remote pilot attempting to achieve a collsion with an airliner where the airliner, like the Alitalia jet approaching JFK, is flying a constant bearing(315 degrees, per Jeppesen) and constant altitude (1,900 feet per Jeppesen) for a mile as it approaches a known optimal collision point (labeled ZULAB on the Jeppesen map and GPS identifiable in three dimensions) right before the airliner begins final descent.
Point ZULAB on the Jeppesen map is a known constant three-dimensional location through which all jetliners must pass on approach to runway 31R at JFK right over Long Beach, NY where the rogue drone multi-copter was spotted “hovering” only 200 feet away from the Alitalia Jet.
A remote terrorist drone pilot positioning the attach drone multi-copter at point ZULAB and facing the drone at bearing 135 degrees (opposite of landing bearing 315 degrees) the terrorist now has a two dimensional target to collide with. The terrorist would only have to position the drone up or down, or left or right to maintain the “constant heading” of the incoming jetliner relative to the drone.
In particular the terrorist would want to target one of the jet turbines of the airliner.
Our opinions differ.
They only have to let the drone (or drones) sit there. It may be a 1 in a 1000 chance, but that would be about a typical day at a busy airport. The odds of bringing down the aircraft are almost zero because they can land just fine on the other engine. But the fear factor would be great. And the overreaction would be even greater.
Give me a break. The information printed on them, for example the 29 approach at EWR denotes a petroleum tank facility just outside the marker. My point was maybe a way of making them accessible to licensed pilots and trainees, something that might keep it away from those who would use it against us..
Just getting close enought for a shrappnel effect could damage the aircraft on final...don’t have to colliade with it...
Think Boston. "Shelter (cringe) in Place" for the whole airport.
Don’t laugh off these tiny drones. Could be just as deadly as bird strikes.
These are coming at you at 400+ miles an hour, you have 1.5 seconds to aim, your hovering drone moves 10 foot per second.
Good luck. Easier to find a needle in a haystack. My guess is there will be about 1000 strikes into the wings and fusalage before you get lucky enough to take out a turbine. Then they will land on the other engine.
So, now you need two drones... You got 1.5 seconds to...
Thought provoking links. Very instructive. Thanks for posting!
“Dont laugh off these tiny drones. Could be just as deadly as bird strikes.”
Correct. A 747 was brought down by TINY Kestrels!
“US freighter operator Kalitta Air has adapted its training procedures to warn crews of the risk of post-V1 rejected take-off, following an inquiry into the overrun which destroyed a Boeing 747-200F in Brussels.
“The aircraft experienced a stall in its inboard right-hand Pratt & Whitney JT9D engine after it ingested a kestrel during the take-off roll on 25 May last year. It failed to stop within the length of runway 20, travelling 300m (980ft) beyond and breaking up into several sections, although none of the five occupants was injured.”
Belgian investigators believe several elements contributed to the crew’s decision to abort the take-off despite the aircraft’s travelling 12kt above V1. After hearing a bang the captain called ‘reject’, seven seconds after the first officer had made the V1 call-out.”
The Runway Killzone Blog does not claim that the Bagram crash WAS a terrorist attack, but only points out that is COULD have been a terrorist attack made using drones positioned to “mine” the runway in the Runway Kill Zone (RKZ).
Ducks and Geese get sucked into jet engine intakes all the time when they get into the flight path of a jet airliner ... so there is no reason that a small drone positioned into the path of such an aircraft would not also be sucked into the engines ... or hit a control surface on a wing or hit the windshield ... regardless it is quite feasible. And viewing the Jeppesen Flight Database to get altitude and vector information is quite possible - not heavily restricted as one might think.
Hitting the moving target at hundreds of miles per hour of the jet engine intake a couple feet across in the 3 dimensions space needs a lot more zero's behind than 1000.
Kind of like shooting a musket ball out of the air with a slingshot.
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