FAA: reported drone collisions with aircraft are all unverified

The Federal Aviation Administration has released its latest report detailing the number of claims it has received about drone sightings near aircraft and alleged consumer drone collisions with aircraft. Though it has received 'several' pilot reports of drones colliding with airplanes, the Administration says that none of the reports have been proven true following an investigation, with causes instead including things like impacts with birds or malfunctions.

The FAA keeps tabs on the number of reports it receives from pilots and other individuals who claim that a drone has traveled too closely to aircraft, such as a commercial airliner. The number of reports it has received has increased, according to the FAA, climbing from 874 during the previous reporting period to 1,274 during this latest report.

The sightings allegedly happened between February 2016 and September 2016. Any report of a consumer drone going close to aircraft is concerning and could, under certain circumstances, land the drone's operator in serious legal trouble. We've seen an increasing number of cases in which drone operators have received fines for various infractions.

Most interesting, though, is the FAA's revelation that none of the collision reports it has received have panned out following investigation. Each investigation into the matter has resulted in other events or issues being identified, such as a bird hitting a plane rather than a drone, other non-living items like wires or posts hitting planes, or even structural failure related to the plane itself.