Drones flew too close to manned aircraft 1,200 times in 2015, according to the FAA. In 2016, that number jumped to 1,800 times. In 2017, there was an actual collision between an unmanned aircraft and a Blackhawk helicopter.
That tracks with ownership trends, as the number of civilian-owned unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) registered with the FAA has reached well over 1 million in 2018, including nearly 900,000 for recreational use. That list was started just over two years ago, in December 2015, and there were 150,000 registrants by the end of the month. In July 2016, it had more than half-a-million. At the same time the following year, it was approaching 800,000.
This despite the fact that, for most of 2016 and 2017, small UAS owners (operating under Special Rule for Model Aircraft, section 336) did not