U.S. probe of drone collisions with aircraft points to birds

Investigations into reported collisions by drones with civil aircraft found that they were caused instead by birds, wires and posts, or structural failures unrelated to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), a U.S. regulator said.

There has been widespread concern about the risks that the flying of drones close to aircraft can pose, and the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that reports of “possible” drone sightings to FAA air traffic facilities continued to increase in fiscal year 2016.

There were 1,274 such reports of drone sightings from February through September last year, compared with 874 for the same period in 2015, the FAA said in a statement. Some of these sightings could have also been of birds mistaken for drones, according to analysts.

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