Filed Under:Agent Broker, E&S/Specialty Business

Safety incidents rise along with popularity of civilian drones

Most incidents involve drones operating outside legal boundaries.

In this Nov. 14, 2017, photo, Dartmouth's Chad Hill readies a drone to be flown over a site of a Shaker Village in Enfield, NH. Hill and his Dartmouth colleague Jesse Casana are using drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to study a half-dozen archaeological sites around the world. (AP Photo/Michael Casey)
In this Nov. 14, 2017, photo, Dartmouth's Chad Hill readies a drone to be flown over a site of a Shaker Village in Enfield, NH. Hill and his Dartmouth colleague Jesse Casana are using drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to study a half-dozen archaeological sites around the world. (AP Photo/Michael Casey)

(Bloomberg) -- The number of reported safety incidents involving civilian drones is on track to rise dramatically again this year, with almost as many in the first nine months of 2017 as for all of last year.

Through September, the Federal Aviation Administration received 1,688 reports of drones flying in restricted airspace or otherwise appearing to violate rules.

That compares with 1,754 last year and 1,210 the prior year.


In 2014, the year the administration first began collecting data, there were only 236 reported incidents.

Related: 9 essential factors about drones

In response, the agency said in October that it wants to make it easier for enthusiasts to get permission to pilot low-level flights in restricted airspace. The agency said there has been so much pent-up demand that users have been willing to break the law to get their drones in the air.

New record


The number of reported incidents reached a new record of 260 in June. Incidents have risen compared to the same month in the prior year all but once since the FAA first started keeping records in February 2014. There have been a total of 4,889 incidents reported in less than four years.

The FAA encourages pilots, air-traffic controllers and police to report incidents they believe raise safety concerns with drones. Most incidents involve drones apparently operating outside legal boundaries, which typically require that they fly within 400 feet of the ground and within sight of the person in control. 

Related:

FAA warns of drone impact risks with airplanes as use grows

Surge in drone safety reports prompts 'emergency' action at FAA

Drone mid-air collision with Army helicoopter probed by NTSB

Copyright 2017 Bloomberg. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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