The FAA’s latest list of “pilot, air traffic controller, law enforcement and citizen” reports of potential drone sightings has been prepared for the time period February through September 2016. What’s refreshing for a change is that the FAA finally appears to have some healthy skepticism of some of the drone reports – something many, including me, have pushed for.
According to the FAA’s press release today “although the data contain several reports of pilots claiming drone strikes on their aircraft, to date the FAA has not verified any collision between a civil aircraft and a civil drone. Every investigation has found the reported collisions were either birds, impact with other items such as wires and posts, or structural failure not related to colliding with an unmanned aircraft.”
According to the FAA’s data – which it still has not posted on its website – reports of possible drone sightings to FAA air traffic control facilities increased to 1,274 for this period in 2016 compared to 874 for the same time period in 2015. Of course, just as the claims of actual aircraft strikes by drones are suspect, it’s likely that the pilot reports of drone sightings are also suspect and just as likely to be birds, as anything else.