A Washington Post analysis claims that of 70 so-called "near-misses" involving aircraft and drones in the U.S. this month, three were in central Illinois. According to the Post's analysis of FAA reports, two were reported in Springfield, and one was in Taylorville. Mark Hanna, Executive Director of Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield, says he wasn't made aware of any such reports, but that doesn't mean he's not concerned -- especially during times when the air traffic control tower is unmanned.
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"Hobbyists and those people that are now seeking to operate these drones, are going to have to kind of come into line with some of the operational facets that come with operating in and around the vicinity of an airport," says Hanna. Hanna says that means adhering to FAA rules prohibiting flying drones within five miles of an airport. Otherwise, Hanna says he and others in the aviation community are excited to have something new to add to flying history. "At the end of the day, it's aviation," says Hanna. "So, a lot of us in the business are really excited that there is something new for people to get excited about." Hanna cites the uses they can have for farmers, real estate developers, public safety officials, and others. But, he says he's just as concerned that their misuse can cause serious problems for other aircraft.