The War Zone has begun to analyze some of the thousands of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone and unidentified aircraft incident reports collected in our new mapping tool. Several of these reports describe incidents that have been featured in our previous stories, including one that showcased nearly two dozen unusual incidents involving military aircraft or training ranges. However, many of them have provided leads on new and highly unusual incidents, ranging from puzzling high altitude encounters to craft described as cylinders and even discs.
As might be expected, the degree of severity of the incidents in the data set varies dramatically. Many of the reports describe common but nonetheless concerning safety hazards posed by errant recreational drones flown at low altitudes. Buried within the reports are also much more concerning incidents involving aircraft operating near sensitive facilities, such as nuclear installations and military bases, or at highly peculiar, and illegal, altitudes. The reports also vary considerably in terms of the type of aircraft described. Beyond the expected menagerie of commercial and recreational drones, a number of unusual vehicles are mentioned, including some balloon-drone hybrids, and a small smattering of references to what pilots described as UFOs.
We have created an interactive mapping tool that features nearly 10,000 drone and unidentified aircraft encounter incident reports that make up the FAA's database that spans seven years. You can check it all out here.