On February 23, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released an updated drone sighting report containing data covering February through September 2016. The report includes pilot, air traffic controller, law enforcement, and citizen reports of potential encounters with drones. The reports of drones has continued to increase –there were 1,274 such reports from February through September with only 874 reported for the same period in 2015. The reports of these drones sightings have not been limited to one particular state –the report includes sightings from Massachusetts to California, and from Alaska to New York.
Although the data in many of the reports received from pilots by the FAA suggests that drones have struck aircrafts, to date, the FAA has not verified any collision between a civil aircraft and a civil drone. The FAA’s investigations of these reports have shown that the reported collisions were likely birds, impact with wires and posts or structural failure unrelated to collisions with drones. In the FAA’s press release, it reminds drone operators that unauthorized flights could be subject to fines and even criminal charges, including jail time. To view the report, click here.