The government is getting near-daily reports – and sometimes two or three a day – of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, federal and industry officials tell The Associated Press. It’s a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual.
Many of the reports are filed with the Federal Aviation Administration by airline pilots. But other pilots, airport officials and local authorities often file reports as well, said the officials, who agreed to discuss the matter only on the condition that they not be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Michael Toscano, president of a drone industry trade group, said FAA officials also have verified the increase to him.
While many of the reports are unconfirmed, raising the possibility that pilots may have mistaken a bird or another plane in the distance for a drone, the officials said other reports appear to be credible.