Skip to main content

Drone incidents involving airplanes rise ‘dramatically,’ FAA says

Drone Plane
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Close encounters between manned aircraft and drones in U.S. airspace have risen “dramatically” recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed on Friday.

Data collected between August 2015 and January 2016 revealed near misses taking place on average 3.5 times a day, up from less than one a day in 2014.

While the FAA’s figures appear at first glance to mirror increasing ownership of the flying machine, it could also be that a number of the reported incidents have been caused by the same operators. If it’s the former, it’d be an even bigger worry for the FAA as most of its recent data was collected before the spike in new owners over the holiday season.

Earlier this month we learned of a near-miss incident involving a Lufthansa passenger plane coming into land at Los Angeles International Airport. The pilot of the Airbus 380, the largest passenger plane in the world, said the drone passed about 200 feet above the plane as it flew at 5,000 feet.

And it’s not just airplane pilots that need to keep their eyes peeled. A police helicopter flying near San Francisco last December was forced into making a sharp turn after its pilot spotted a drone close by while flying at 800 feet. While in most cases so far the drone operator has gotten away, in this particular case he was quickly apprehended.

The troubling data adds a sense of urgency to the government’s need to introduce an effective anti-drone system to deal with rogue UAVs spotted close to not only airports, but also busy public events, nuclear plants, prisons, and other restricted locations.

The search for a solution has resulted in the emergence of a new industry for anti-drone systems. Proposed technology has so far included anti-drone death rays, electromagnetic shields, and net-firing bazookas.

The FAA is also hoping its recently introduced drone registry will help foster a greater sense of responsibility among drone owners, while the agency has also been promoting use of its new B4UFLY app that offers tips on proper drone operation and up-to-date information on safe flying locations.

“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 release. “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.”

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Meet the game-changing pitching robot that can perfectly mimic any human throw
baseball hitter swings and misses

Who’s your favorite baseball pitcher? Shane McClanahan? Sandy Alcantara? Justin Verlander? Whoever you said, two of the top sports-tech companies in the U.S. -- Rapsodo and Trajekt Sports -- have teamed up to build a robot version of them, and the results are reportedly uncannily accurate.

Okay, so we’re not talking about walking-talking-pitching standalone robots, as great a sci-fi-tinged MLB ad as that would be. However, Rapsodo and Trajekt have combined their considerable powers to throw a slew of different technologies at the problem of building a machine that's able to accurately simulate the pitching style of whichever player you want to practice batting against -- and they may just have pulled it off, too.

Read more
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more
CES 2023: HD Hyundai’s Avikus is an A.I. for autonomous boat and marine navigation
Demonstration of NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

This content was produced in partnership with HD Hyundai.
Autonomous vehicle navigation technology is certainly nothing new and has been in the works for the better part of a decade at this point. But one of the most common forms we see and hear about is the type used to control steering in road-based vehicles. That's not the only place where technology can make a huge difference. Autonomous driving systems can offer incredible benefits to boats and marine vehicles, too, which is precisely why HD Hyundai has unveiled its Avikus AI technology -- for marine and watercraft vehicles.

More recently, HD Hyundai participated in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to demo its NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system for recreational boats. The name mashes together the words "neuron" and "boat" and is quite fitting since the Avikus' A.I. navigation tech is a core component of the solution, it will handle self-recognition, real-time decisions, and controls when on the water. Of course, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes with HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation solution, which we'll dive into below -- HD Hyundai will also be introducing more about the tech at CES 2023.

Read more