Pilots report increasing close calls with drones

FAA: More pilots reporting close calls with d... 02:23

The government is getting a surge of complaints about drones interfering with larger aircraft.

According to CBS News transportation correspondent Jeff Pegues, the Federal Aviation Administration told CBS News it is receiving 25 reports every month from pilots who have seen drones or model planes near their aircraft.

With drones becoming more affordable and ever more popular, operators are increasingly flying them into the airspace of planes and helicopters.

In September, the New York Police Department's aviation unit had a close call with a drone in Brooklyn -- just the sort of incident that concerns the FAA.

Since the beginning of this year, there have been nearly 200 reports of drones or model planes coming close to manned aircraft in over 30 states across the country.

On a few occasions, the FAA said pilots have been forced to alter their course. These near collisions come as the agency tries to safely manage drones within the national airspace.

"These aircraft sometimes are very small, and they have very high performance characteristics, and so they're difficult for another pilot to see," FAA administrator Michael Huerta said. "Our whole approach is, how can we accommodate activities that don't pose a safety hazard as we learn more about the technology and look to ultimately integrate it safely?"

The FAA is working to develop rules and regulations for the commercial use of drones. In the meantime, the agency says it has partnered with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to identify "unsafe and unauthorized [Unmanned Aircraft Systems ] operations."

While police have made some arrests, getting the charges to hold up in court has been a problem.

"Some instances, we'll make an arrest or we'll issue an administrative codes violation summons, and you know, the process doesn't follow through," deputy New York City police chief Salvatore DiPace said.

The FAA is expected to announce the rules and regulations for the commercial use of drones before the end of the year. For now, the agency says part of the reason there have been more reports is due to increased awareness by pilots and improved record keeping.