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U.S. airplane pilots are reporting more drone sightings, but no collisions yet

1,274 possible drone sightings were reported.

Drone in Flight Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration today released an update on the number of reported sightings of drones near airplanes or air traffic control facilities.

Between February and September of last year, the FAA says pilots, air traffic control, law enforcement and members of the public reported possibly spotting 1,274 drones flying near air traffic control facilities — up from 874 during the same period in 2015. That’s 400 more reported sightings, which is about a 45 percent increase from the amount of reported sightings in 2015.

Still, the FAA says it has yet to count a single collision between a manned airplane and a drone, despite the fact that approximately 670,000 drones were registered since the FAA opened its registration system at the end of 2015, according to Michael Huerta, the head of the FAA, who shared the figure at the agency’s press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

The FAA forecasts that 4.8 million drones will be sold in the U.S. in 2017.

Considering hundreds of thousands more drones were in the skies this year than ever before in the U.S., the fact that only 400 more possible drone sightings were reported means that most people seem to at least be flying safe enough to avoid airplanes. Flying near airplanes is, after all, illegal.

“Unauthorized operators may be subject to stiff fines and criminal charges, including possible jail time,” said the FAA in a statement.

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