drone sightings

Drone sightings as reported to the FAA are up (and that’s not a bad thing)

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released its report of a drone sightings — and they are at an all-time high.

The FAA’s list, includes pilot, air traffic controller, law enforcement and citizen reports of potential encounters with drones.

The latest data, covering reports between February and September 2016, shows 1,274 possible drone sightings, vs. just 874 drone sightings for the same period in 2015.

It makes sense — as sales of drones rise, more drones have the potential to be spotted.

But the high number of drone sightings isn’t a bad thing. The FAA has yet to verify any collision between a civil aircraft and a civil drone.

“Every investigation 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,” according to an FAA news release.

It should be noted that just because a drone sighting was reported doesn’t necessarily mean a drone was actually there. Reports are documented whether or not there is any sort of evidence, and often times, objects initially reported as drones turn out to be balloons or trash bags.

Additionally, past reports have indicated that when reporters see something but aren’t sure what it is, the FAA classifies them as drones, according to Vice.

The media is prone to publishing many hysterical articles implying that drones have collided with airplanes.

And those stories of unconfirmed drone sightings have even prompted legislation around drone use.

California Assemblyman Mike Gatto proposed AB 2724, the Drone Act — that would require a “kill switch” to be built into the unmanned aerial vehicles that would be activated near airports, though many drones including DJI’s drones prevent drones from taking off or flying in restricted airspace through geofencing software.

 “This (FAA) report is another example of how claims of potential drone sightings need to be considered carefully and in a proper context,” said Kara Calvert, Director of the Drone Manufacturers Alliance.  “We are committed to ensuring drones are used safely and responsibly, even as age-old hazards such as birds and wires remain far more prevalent in America’s skies.”

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