From Mashable

By Chris Perkins

If for some reason you think the lack of drone regulation in the U.S. isn't a problem, read this.

The Washington Post obtained records from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) detailing nearly 700 close calls between drones and airplanes in the U.S. in 2015. Over 70 close calls have been recorded between Aug. 1-17.

A government official anonymously provided the Washington Post with these documents because they disagreed with the FAA's level of secrecy. The report notes that the FAA has declined to release public reports on these incidents.

The near-700 close calls between drones and airplanes is three times higher than the same figure in 2014.

Drones aren't legally allowed to fly above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport, but the FAA is mostly powerless to enforce this.

While there hasn't yet been a collision with a drone and an airplane, it doesn't take much imagination to explore the potential hazards. A bird strike has the potential to bring down an aircraft, as was the case with 2009's "Miracle on the Hudson", so one could reasonably assume a small drone could do similar damage.

The issue here is that unmanned arial vehicles (UAV), in their current state, are almost impossible to track: they aren't detected by radar and many aren't equipped with devices to transmit their location. It's nearly impossible to catch the culprits, too, since they are likely flying their UAVs from a distance.

Much of the work towards developing a practical system has actually been carried out by NASA and other private entities like Verizon and Amazon, not the FAA.


Image: Amazon

Many of the regulation plans being floated involve the use of "geofencing" in some capacity. With geofencing, all drones would be required to connect to the Internet and certain areas would be virtually fenced off, preventing UAV flight. Drones would also be required to register with a central governing agency.

The main issue with the NASA/Verizon and Amazon plans is that not all drones are Internet connected, so older drones would need to be retrofitted or banned outright. Of course, geofencing wouldn't prevent rouge operators to fly unconnected drones, but it'd be a step toward bringing order to the current situation.

Full article here

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  • Admin


    I believe that if you look again at the Mashable original post, you will see the link to the original Washington Post article.

    The idea behind my blog post is to get some dialogue going concerning the validity of Perkins' original article as to its content.


    TCIII Admin

  • Why post a Mashable summary of the original Washington Post article, and not a link to the Washington Post article, which is better and has more detail (and did the original reporting)? And even though the Mashable article is from yesterday, it's somewhat out of date because it's reporting on a WaPo article from the 20th and on the 21st the FAA released the records to the public:

    The Center for the Study of the Drone has already done some analysis of the FAA data:, incuding the fact that "in about two out of five cases, a drone was not within an airport’s no-fly zone when it interfered with manned air traffic."  They also pulled out some of the data for each incident, including altitude, distance between vehicles, and location.

    FAA Releases Pilot UAS Reports
  • Admin

    Is the FAA really covering up the actual number of done/aircraft close calls as this author suggests or is he just trying to grab headlines in relation to the building public drone hysteria?


    TCIII Admin

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