Combined total hobbyist and commercial UAS sales are expected to rise from 2.5 million in 2016 to 7 million in 2020.
— Federal Aviation Administration

As the world continues to embrace the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), the challenges of integrating UASs with existing aircraft operations increase exponentially. To proactively address these issues, the FAA has begun collecting and releasing information on UAS sightings reported by pilots, air traffic controllers, military personnel, and civilians. To date, the FAA has released 1,346 UAS sighting reports occurring between November 2014 and January 2016.

Fully Interactive Visualizations

Fully Interactive Visualizations

Fort Hill Group has developed two interactive visualizations to equip the aviation community to better understand and analyze UAS sightings reported to the FAA. The first provides an interactive view of all UAS sighting reports, while the second provides a detailed view of UAS sightings near airports and manned aircraft. Each visualization is fully interactive. Hovering over each of the data elements will provide additional report details. Clicking on data elements, such as sliders or drop-down boxes, will filter the visualizations.

These visualizations are provided for educational purposes based on data retrieved from the publicly available FAA UAS Sighting Reports Website.


The visualization above provides an overview of all 1,346 UAS sighting reports released by the FAA to-date. Fort Hill Group reviewed and classified all of the key data elements included in the sighting reports. This includes reported UAS altitude, the type of aviation operation impacted by the sighting, and proximity of a sighting to the nearest airport. All data derived from the reports, such as UAS operating altitude or UAS size, are based on estimates made by the person reporting the sighting.



The visualization above provides a deeper look into UAS sightings that were encountered near airports or other manned aircraft operations. Sightings near airports include all sightings reported with an estimated UAS altitude below 5,000 feet and estimated operating location within 5 miles of an airport. The reports of UASs operating within close proximity to manned aircraft operations include sightings where the pilot specifically reported a UAS estimated to be within 1,000’ vertically or 1,250’ laterally of their altitude at the time of encounter. Reports that identified evasive traffic avoidance maneuvers or a near miss were identified only when a report narrative specified those actions. All information used to classify these reports comes from the estimates provided by the person reporting the sighting. 

The Power of Safety Data Analytics

The Power of Safety Data Analytics

Fort Hill Group creates interactive tools that enable analysts and decision-makers to quickly and easily sift through millions of data elements to better understand their operations. Safety data analytics can streamline your organization's analysis process to provide a real-time operational safety picture.

Interactive Analysis

Interactive analytics allows users to quickly drill-down to answer safety questions and identify underlying issues and trends.

Ease of Use

Running complex safety queries involving multiple criteria can be completed by analysts and other stakeholders in only a few clicks.


Accessible Big Data

Interactive visualizations can be developed that fuse many different types of data from multiple data sources in real-time.

Actionable Safety Intelligence

Maximizing the efficient use of safety data empowers analysts and decision makers to target risk mitigation at areas of greatest need.

Partnering with Fort Hill Group

Fort Hill Group was founded in 2011 to help clients identify and manage the risks and benefits associated with human performance in complex systems. Fort Hill Group can help you better utilize your human performance and safety data to make data-driven decisions.

In addition to our data analytics capabilities, our team is experienced with reducing the causes and consequence of human error, developing risk analysis processes, and conducting independent human factors investigations. Fort Hill Group has delivered research results to a variety of industry and government stakeholders including the Federal Aviation Administration, The Boeing Company, Flight Safety Foundation, the National Institutes of Aerospace, and Volpe – The National Transportation Systems Center. Contact us below to schedule an initial consultation.