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By Paul Feldman, FairWarning 

As the nation’s fleet of small recreational and commercial drones keeps soaring — the government projects nearly 3 million will be in the skies by 2022 — safety concerns are rising even as federal enforcement stalls.

The Federal Aviation Administration has collected 6,117 reports of potentially unsafe use of drones from February, 2014 through April of this year, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office. What’s more, an FAA-industry working group wrote in December that, while most of the incidents don’t appear to be serious, “There is general consensus that some of the sightings are potentially high risk.”

By Rick Schmitt and Stuart Silverstein, FairWarning 

Owen Ouyang

Owen Ouyang

On a Saturday night in early December, while relaxing at his Martinez, Calif., home, Chinese exchange student Owen Ouyang decided to have some fun. He went out to the front yard and launched a sleek new drone he had recently purchased online for about $1,000.

The 2.8-pound drone, advertised as “easy to fly,” proved anything but. Soon after takeoff, the drone veered dangerously toward a power line. It then climbed more than 700 feet – right into the path of a California Highway Patrol helicopter. A head-on collision was averted only after the chopper’s crew made a sharp right-hand turn at the last moment.