Encounters between drones and aircraft are increasingly becoming a problem, with pilots reporting more than 650 close calls through August 9th this year. According to a statement released by the FAA yesterday, that's a worrying increase from the 238 reports it received in all of 2014.
In June alone there were 138 reports of drones flying at heights up to 10,000 feet, up from 16 in the same month last year, raising concern about the potential for a deadly collision. The FAA says that flying a drone near airports, airplanes, and helicopters is extremely dangerous, and generally warns against flying drones above 400 feet. And for good reason — just last month drones hampered emergency efforts to combat a massive wildfire in California, when water-carrying helicopters were unable to take off due to recreational drones flying around the area.
Although the FAA's drone-specific regulations remain proposals for now, the agency says in its statement that it has already "levied civil penalties for a number of unauthorized flights… and has dozens of open enforcement cases." It plans to work with the police to find operators who are violating its regulations.