Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

Drone “close encounters” are becoming a big concern to aviation officials.

News4 Investigates combed through FAA data and found dozens of reported close encounters between drones and manned aircraft, like planes and helicopters, in Tennessee since 2018.

“Hey you might want to be aware… it looks like a drone went by about 500 feet below us, heading eastbound,” reported a pilot to air traffic control in Nashville.

There were also reports of pilots having to take evasive maneuvers.

“We just dodged a drone!” reported a pilot to air traffic control in Memphis.

And if you think a drone couldn’t cause harm to a plane, researchers at the University of Dayton would disagree.

In a test designed to mimic a midair collision at 238 miles per hour, their test showed a drone causing significant damage to the wing.

Across the country last year, pilots and other witnesses reported 1237 "drone encounters," where drones were spotted in the close vicinity of aircraft or airports.

"We are concerned with the number of pilot-drone sighting reports we're getting and the number or reports we're getting around airports," said Ian Gregor, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration. "The numbers have gone up every year over the past three years."

Currently it is very difficult to track down the owner of an errant drone and enforce flight rules. It is such a concern to aviation officials that the Federal Aviation Administration is developing a system to track drones and their pilots in real time.

"Technology is going to be a very important solution going forward," said Gregor. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

>> Click/tap here to download our free mobile app. <<

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.