The Federal Aviation Administration released its latest Reported UAS Sightings report, revealing that unmanned aircraft systems, or more popularly known as drones, are becoming a bigger problem.
The report, which covers the period of August 2015 to January this year, detailed 582 incidents wherein drones entered airspace they should not be flying in.
The incidents were reported by pilots, air traffic controllers and citizens, with such events said to be increasing dramatically since 2014. According to the FAA, it is now receiving 100 such cases per month, despite the measures that it has in place to educate drone operators.
The FAA said that one of its top priorities is the integration of drones into the national airspace system, and it is looking to send a clear message to drone operators that flying the machines near airplanes, helicopters and airports is both illegal and dangerous.
According to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, there are several educational initiatives in place to teach drone operators the safe way of flying, but enforcement is needed to go hand-in-hand with that education. As such, action will be taken against operators that fly their drones irresponsibly.
The latest report shows that education and enforcement are sorely needed for hardheaded drone operators. While most of the reported incidents could be considered minor, as the drones flying into restricted airspace did not actually endanger anybody, there were some events that revealed how dangerous such incidents can become.
One incident outside the JFK airport in New York in August detailed a drone flying at a height of 7,000 feet and only 20 feet away from an airplane's right side.
It can also be remembered that just last week, a drone almost collided with a Lufthansa passenger airplane near the Los Angeles International Airport. The airplane, 14 miles away from the airport, was flying at 5,000 feet, and the offending drone was flying only 200 feet above it.
Such incidents are very dangerous as the drones could get sucked into one of the engines of an airplane, causing the engine to stop and endangering the lives of the aircraft's passengers.