New research from the BBC shows that the number of new-misses in the UK skies has increased by 60% in the last five years. The most serious incidents, classed as Category A airproxes, more than doubles between 2013 and 2017. Half of these Category A near-misses, unfortunately, involved drones.

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93 near-misses involved drones

The research that was published yesterday, shows that the number of accidents reported to the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) increased from 654 accidents in 2013 to 708 in 2017. According to pilots who spoke to the BCC the uptick is due to more busy skies.

Built into these numbers are so-called near-misses, officially known as air proximity reports (airproxes). This category rose from 172 in 2013 to 272 in 2017, reflecting an increase of 58%.  Back in 2013, the number of near-misses involving drones was zero. In 2017 that number had shot up to 93 near-misses involving drones. Category A airproxes are the most serious incidents. The numbers in this category more than doubled from 22 in 2013 to 45 last year, half of these involved drones.

Regardless of the increase in near-misses, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) still regards the UK safety record as “one of the best” in the world.

On July 30th, new drone rules were announced in the UK to increase air safety. However, Germany showed us earlier this year that stricter rules are only part of the equation. Increased and improved education of drone pilots in Germany reduced the number of drone incidents relative to the strong growth of the drone market overall.

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