In recent years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has made significant changes to their regulations surrounding the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), also known as drones. These changes, which were aimed at increasing safety and security for both operators and the general public, have had unintended consequences that have caused a surge in sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
According to a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), there has been a significant spike in UFO sightings since the FAA’s “Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Over People” rule change went into effect. The report states that the intelligence community has reviewed a total of 510 UFO sightings over the past few years, a significant increase from the 144 they had investigated before the rule change in March 2021.
Many of the newly reported sightings were explained by balloons, drones, or other natural phenomena such as birds or plastic bags. However, a significant number of sightings, 171 to be exact, were marked “uncharacterized and unattributed.” These sightings are particularly concerning as they seem to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis.
The ODNI attributes this surge in UFO sightings to a “concentrated effort to destigmatize the topic” of UFOs and an increased awareness that UFO encounters may pose risks as both a “flight hazard and potential adversarial activity.” Most of the new sightings came from military pilots or operators, according to the report.
It is clear that the FAA’s rule change has had a significant impact on the number of UFO sightings reported. The agency must now work to address this issue by conducting further analysis of these unexplained sightings and implementing measures to mitigate the risks they may pose. The FAA should take steps to correct misinformation. Additionally, the FAA should also consider ways to improve the identification and tracking of drones and other sUAS to reduce the likelihood of misidentification as UFOs.
In conclusion, while the FAA’s rule change was aimed at increasing safety and security, it has also led to a surge in UFO sightings. These unexplained sightings pose a potential threat to national security and require further investigation and analysis. The FAA must take steps to address this issue and improve the identification and tracking of drones to reduce the likelihood of misidentification as UFOs.