The Federal Aviation Administration said reports of possible drone encounters with aircraft and airports were on the rise in 2016.
From February through September 2016 there were 1,274 reports of such encounters with drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, a 46 percent increase from the same eight-month period in 2015. None of the encounters were reported in Kansas.
The sightings were reported to the FAA by pilots, air traffic controllers, law enforcement officials and citizens.
The agency said several pilots claimed in their reports that their aircraft were struck by drones, but the FAA hasn’t verified such collisions to date.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
“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,” the FAA said.
The FAA reiterated that it is seeking to safely integrate drones into the nation’s airspace, but it is also illegal and dangerous to operate them near airplanes and helicopters.