A new report makes a startling discovery about drones that could muck up your next flight AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
In this Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 photo, Trent Lukaczyk, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) engineer who builds and flies drones to monitor changes in the ocean environment, controls a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced drone to take photos and videos over the coastline in Pacifica, Calif. Starting this month, The Nature Conservancy is asking tech junkies to capture the flooding and coastal erosion that come with El Nino, a weather pattern that’s bringing California its wettest winter in years _ and all in the name of science. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A five-month review by the Federal Aviation Administration found nearly 600 reports of incidents where drones came into close proximity of private and commercial aircraft over the United States.

The concerning report found the FAA has been notified of unmanned aircraft systems flying beside planes. Some were launched at night, and there are reports that drones were even flown in front of planes and helicopters.

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“We have a number of educational initiatives with our government and industry partners to teach drone operators how to fly safely, including the drone registry we launched last December,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement.

“But enforcement goes hand-in-hand with education, and we will take action against anyone who operates irresponsibly to the full extent of the law.”

More than 406,000 people have signed up since the registry was activated in December.

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The FAA says it averages more than 100 reports each month of interactions between drones and commercial and private airplanes.

Some of the most recent incidents include:
–The pilot of a Southwest Airlines 737 reported a drone passing 100 feet below the plane as it descended to land at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

–In December 2015, a passenger on an American Airlines flight saw a drone flying alongside the plane.

–The pilot of a private aircraft heading to Charlottesville said a basketball-sized drone flew in front of the small plane.

–On Jan. 17, a Jet Blue pilot taking off out of John F. Kennedy Airport in New York reported a near-miss collision with a drone at about 5,800 feet.

–A medical helicopter leaving a children’s hospital in St. Louis, Mo., had to swerve to avoid colliding with a drone that was fewer than 100 feet away.

This map highlights some of those incidents.


Yolanda R. Arrington is a content editor for Rare. Tweet her @iamyolanda and like her on Facebook.
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