FAA: Drones Nearly Hit Planes 25 Times in 6 Months

Reports of close calls are surging
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2014 6:50 PM CST
FAA: Drones Nearly Hit Planes 25 Times in 6 Months
These are a familiar sight to pilots.   (AP Photo/The Advocate,Travis Spradling)

Air travelers appear to have a genuine new problem to fret about: small drones. The FAA has logged 25 close calls with planes since June 1, reports the Washington Post. By "close call," it means an instance in which a drone "came within a few seconds or a few feet of crashing into much larger aircraft." Most of the incidents took place near New York City or Washington while planes were either landing or taking off. Just one example: Air traffic controllers say Republic Airlines Flight 6230 was “almost hit” by a small drone at 4,000 feet as it was descending toward LaGuardia.

The newly released figures show that sightings by pilots at airports are close to an everyday occurrence now: The FAA says it gets about 25 reports a month from pilots of drones in restricted air space. The numbers are rising quickly as small, camera-equipped drones surge in popularity among hobbyists. Exhibit A: GoPro, which has made its name selling wearable video cams for athletes, plans to start selling helicopter-style drones in the $500 to $1,000 range next year, reports the Wall Street Journal. (More drones stories.)

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