|Small unmanned aircraft system. Photo: Wikipedia|
[Avionics Today 08-13-2015] Pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, from a total of 238 sightings in all of 2014, to more than 650 by August 9 of this year. Pilots of a variety of different types of aircraft — including many large, commercial air carriers — reported spotting 16 unmanned aircraft in June of 2014, and 36 the following month. This year, 138 pilots reported seeing drones at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet during the month of June, and another 137 in July, according to the FAA.
As a response, the FAA has released a statement to send out a clear message that operating drones around airplanes and helicopters is dangerous and illegal and has warned that unauthorized operators may be subject to stiff fines and criminal charges, including possible jail time.