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FAA UAS Sightings Report - 21Aug-31Jan2016

Discussion in 'News' started by shipdriver, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. shipdriver

    Jun 16, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Bothell, Washington, USA
    The latest "drone sightings" list came out last week from the FAA:

    Similar level of quality control (i.e. poor) on the reporting as the August report compilation. I went through the reports and gleaned some altitude numbers:
    60 had no altitude info.
    142 were from 1-999 feet (24.4%),
    56 were from 1000-1499 feet (10.7%),
    55 were from 1500-1999 feet (10.5%),
    161 were from 2000-4999 feet (30.8%),
    87 were from 5000-9999 feet (16.7%),
    18 were from 10000-14999 feet (3.4%),
    3 were over 15000 feet (0.6%).

    Yes, that is correct: Over half of the reports that had an altitude were over 2000 ft and 20% were over 5000 ft. In fact, there were more sightings between 2000 and 5000 ft than there were under 1000 ft.

    Interesting tidbit:
    Did you know that there was a suspected drone-airplane collision on 2 Jan over Modesto, CA?
    "He reported hearing a thump noise and then seeing to the right of his aircraft, a lot small shattered pieces of black colored debri. The pilot was very confident it was a man made object that struck his aircraft and not a bird. After the pilot landed he performed a thourogh inspection of his aircraft and fould no damage or any new blemmish on his aircraft. " Besides all the typos and poor command of English, we now know that drones apparently cause no damage at all, not even a "blemmish."

    There was a drone shooting green lasers at an airliner,
    Lots of saucer-shaped "drones",
    A drone that may have been a large bird,
    A model rocket,
    A few model airplanes (one of them over a known model aircraft field),
    Something that "appeared" to be a UAS hovering about 8 feet directly over a radar transmitter at Logan,
    A few drones following aircraft (including an airliner),
    A CAP aircraft that was "buzzed" by a drone,
    Several objects that could have been balloons or drones,
    Someone using a jetpack or a drone,
    A drone trailing a 5-foot streamer,
    Orange glowing lights in the sky,
    Lots of reports of drones at large distances (e.g. 1000 feet below, etc.)
    and so on...

    I recommend identification training for pilots. Perhaps show them what a drone actually looks like during the day/at night/at different distances. While none of these reports are as bad as the 'white, high fixed-wing drone on approach to KPAE squawking 1200' report from the last set of reports, a very large percentage (probably a significant majority) of these are clearly not drones at all. It seemed the more reliable reports were from helicopters at lower altitudes (where both drones and helicopters are actually likely to be sharing the airspace), but the sheer number of reports above 2000 feet (not to mention the 108 reports (!) above 5000 ft) makes me very skeptical of those high-flying (or just high) reports. Additionally, the number of reports that involved evasive action was extremely small (I'm pretty sure they can be counted with one hand).
    astroserge, Denarius, bbfpv and 2 others like this.
  2. smp


    Mar 18, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Bedford, NH
    Wow. Interesting. Thanks very much for the synopsis, and pointer.

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