Saturday, April 1, 2017

FAA Releases New Drone Sighting Report

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Washington D.C. has recently  released an updated list of pilot, air traffic controller, law enforcement and citizen reports of potential encounters with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – more popularly called “drones". The latest data covers February through September 2016.

The FAA reported that possible drone sightings to FAA air traffic facilities continued to increase during FY 2016. There were 1,274 such reports from February through September in 2016, compared with 874 for the same period in 2015.

The FAA reported that, although the data contains several reports of pilots claiming drone strikes on their aircraft, to date the agency has not verified any actual collision between a civil aircraft and a civil drone. Every investigation to date according to the FAA has found the reported collisions were either birds, impact with other items such as wires and posts, or structural failure not related to colliding with an unmanned aircraft.

The FAA’s overarching mission, as I have indicated in several filings with the FAA,  as well as in posts elsewhere in this blog, is Safety First.  Safely integrating unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system is one of the FAA's top priorities, and the FAA continuously warns the public that operating drones around airplanes and helicopters is dangerous and illegal. The FAA states that unauthorized operators may be subject to stiff fines and criminal charges, including possible jail time.

The FAA’s data concerning possible drone sightings to FAA air traffic facilities during FY 2016 and other periods is attached here.


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