I'm beginning to wonder about all these drone sightings coming in. It seams every day now there is a new report of an airliner seeing a drone flying in their airspace. When I read drone spotted above 3000' AGL I really question the integrity of the spotter. Funny how there are never any pictures. Yes I know pilots don't have time to grab a camera flying at 250kias. I have a feeling that some of these spotting may be a little exaggerated. I've been burned once when the pilots were in a labor dispute and my United flight was cancelled for a non safety reason, the pilot was making a stand and walked off the plane. The people working at the counter said ask the pilot why he isn't flying not us.
The FAA has asked everyone to report any sightings. Probably in the 70's no one reported because they would call them UFOs, now you call them drones. I believe a report came in to the FAA were a pilot spotted a drone flying over an AMA RC field in Phoenix.
Now in regard to situational awareness. I'm currently taking private pilots lessons. We use radio and look around while flying. One very important sense is not used and that is hearing. When I'm flying my rc planes and helicopters I have no problems hearing other planes over a mile away. I can barely here a plane taxiing next to us in a full size plane.
I think along with regular public we also need to reach out to pilots. Many are scared what is going to happen. One I believe they are scared for the loss of jobs and second is safety. I truly believe that once unmanned aircraft are allowed to fly we will actually see a decrease in injury and deaths. This reduction will come from not having people flying dull and and dangerous flights. We will probably see an increase in accidents but I wouldn't worry about $5 worth of foam hitting the ground.