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Drone Sightings and Close Encounters: An Analysis

Drone Center

“Drone Sightings and Close Encounters: Analysis” represents the result of a comprehensive and detailed analysis of incidents involving unmanned aircraft and manned aircraft in the U.S. National Airspace System. We have collected records of 921 incidents involving drones and manned aircraft in the national airspace, dating from December 17, 2013 to September 12, 2015. We have organized these reports into two categories: Sightings, incidents in which a pilot or an air traffic controller spotted a drone flying within or near the flight paths of manned aircraft though not posing an immediate threat of collision, and Close Encounters, where a manned aircraft came close enough to a drone that it met the Federal Aviation Administration’s definition of a “near midair collision” or close enough that there was a possible danger of collision, even if an exact drone-to-aircraft distance was not reported.

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