More Central Florida pilots say they're having close calls with drones near airports

Reports of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters at airports across the country, including in Central Florida, are on the rise.

Some pilots believe that people flying the drones in unauthorized spaces are doing so for fun, although the act is illegal.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported 750 unauthorized sightings in a nine-month span. Out of those sightings, 70 were reported in Florida and 19 were spotted by pilots in Central Florida -- some during takeoff and some during landing.

"It can pose a serious danger to an airliner," said retired pilot Richard Owen.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University spotted 190 drones in two weeks around Daytona Beach. Ninety-seven percent of the drones were flying to close too close to airspace.

"The sheer number of people flying on unmanned aircraft out there was vastly beyond what we expected," said Ryan Wallace of Embry-Riddle.

In June, the FAA said a pilot flying near Space Coast Regional Airport reported that he had to turn right to avoid the aircraft, calling it a near miss.

The FAA said it will work closely with law enforcement to investigate reports of unauthorized drone flights.

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