Mysterious drone swarms have been seen flying in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming at night since December, sometimes over locations believed to house nuclear missile silos. A federal task force has been formed to investigate the drones' origin and purpose. The Phillips County Sheriff's Office in Colorado reported the first drones on 20 December. There have been hundreds of sightings since, some of groups of drones flying in grid patterns. Some observers assumed the drones were part of a military exercise, but the US Air Force has denied involvement.
But how do you describe what you saw? Your answer is probably dependent on the time you live in. In 1561, you might have called the weird flying thing a heavenly portent. In the U.K., just before the start of World War I, you would probably say you'd been startled by an unexpected zeppelin. During the Cold War era, you might have called the thing a flying saucer of possible alien origin, or perhaps a secretive Soviet spy weapon: objects that fell into the category of UFOs.
The Pentagon, the world's largest user of drones, has posted a new policy on signs outside the mammoth five-sided building: No Drone Zone. The signs, complete with a red slash through an image of a quadcopter drone, reflect America's growing concern about the proliferation of the small, inexpensive remote-controlled devices and the risk they pose to safety, security and privacy. Federal law prohibits flying a drone anywhere in and around Washington, an area known as the National Capital Region. Other communities and institutions across the country are wrestling with the potential threat from more than 400,000 private and commercial drones now registered to operate in the skies. The pilot of a commercial jetliner said his plane nearly collided with a drone while approaching Los Angeles International Airport on Friday afternoon, sparking a search by L.A. police and sheriff's officials for the owner of the unmanned aircraft.
LOS ANGELES – It was an otherwise routine flight until, at an altitude of about 1,100 feet east of this city's downtown, the crew aboard the news chopper heard a loud bang. "The pilot and I just looked at each other. 'What was that?'" reporter Chris Cristi of KABC-TV remembers thinking. Not far from their base, they landed Air 7 HD, as their Eurocopter is known to viewers, and discovered a dent in the horizontal stabilizer and next to it, a gash and one-inch hole. There was no blood or feathers as if they had hit a bird.
After a drone-induced shutdown, London's Gatwick Airport is back up and running again. Still at large, however, are the drones which caused around 1,000 flights to be diverted or cancelled over three days late last week, with Sussex Police investigating 67 drone sightings made by the public. SEE ALSO: This drone was built to detect and take down'rogue' drones Authorities also recovered a damaged drone, which comes after two suspects were released without charge on Sunday. Earlier, police had some doubt if there was genuine drone activity. Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley told BBC News that no footage of the drone had been obtained, and that there was "always a possibility" the drone sightings could be mistaken.