Researchers Tally Hundreds of Close Encounters Between Drones and Planes

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NBC 5 News

A report released on Friday paints a disturbing picture of how dangerous the skies can be when they are populated by both drones and manned aircraft, NBC News reported.

The report from the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College identified 327 "close encounters" in U.S. airspace from December 2013 to September 2015 in which drones presented a hazard to manned aircraft. Of that total, at least 241 incidents met the Federal Aviation Administration's definition of a near-collision — two aircraft flying within 500 feet of each other. Ninety of the close encounters involved commercial jets.

Moreover, most of the incidents occurred in FAA-prohibited drone airspace — above 400 feet, and within five miles of an airport.

The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. The agency has been working on coming up with regulations governing the operation of unmanned aircraft.

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