The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reported that there has been a sharp increase in near-collisions between drones and aircrafts across the country in the last six months.
As cited in Washington Post, records have shown that commercial airlines, private pilots and air-traffic controllers have alerted the FAA to close to 25 incidents since June, in which small drones came within a few seconds or a few feet of crashing into much larger aircraft.
The FAA has stated that many of the close calls occurred during takeoffs and landings at the nation’s busiest airports, which are coming across as an emerging threat to aviation safety after decades of steady improvement in air travel.
The FAA released the data in response to a long-standing public-records requests from The Washington Post and other news organisations. Most of the incidents were reported to have occurred near New York and Washington.
The Washington Post further stated that the 25 near-mid-air collisions were among more than 175 incidents in which pilots and air-traffic controllers had reported seeing drones near airports or in restricted airspace since June.
The rogue drones have been described by pilots as small, camera-equipped models that have become popular with hobbyists and photographers.
While such drones measure only a few feet in diameter and weigh less than 10lb, aviation safety experts have warned against possible accidents that could occur in case of a collision with a plane’s propeller or if the drone gets sucked into a jet engine.
Although FAA guidelines allow hobbyists to fly small drones for recreational purposes at least five miles away from airports and outside other restricted areas, the influx of cheaply available drones has increased the incidences of near-collisions.
Image: Two drone planes and games controller. Photo: courtesy of Victor Habbick at freedigitalphotos.net.