The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has released a detailed analysis of the data alluded to in the FAA’s August 12 press release, “Pilot Reports of Close Calls with Drones Soar in 2015.”  A close examination of the 764 records reveals a more complex picture of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)activity in the United States than initial headlines suggested. There are military crashes and a UFO sighting in the data. Only a fraction of the records were legitimately reported “close calls”and “near misses.” Some didn’t involve drones at all.AMA’s analysis, “A Closer Look at the FAA’s Drone Data,” was included in last Monday morning’s USA Today: “Drone hobbyists find flaws in “close call” reports to FAA from other aircraft.”

While AMA works closely with the FAA, and we continue to consider the agency a partner in promoting model aircraft and consumer drone safety, our report concludes that the FAA could have done a better job of presenting their data in a more factually accurate manner. By using misleading language in its press release, releasing only preliminary reports and not critically analyzing those reports, the FAA’s report only served, at best, to paint a cloudy and less than accurate picture and raises concerns that simply may not be realistic.

AMA has distributed a press release to the media with its findings. Additionally, AMA sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. AMA also sent a letter to members of Congress.