forbes.comAttention drone operators: If you’re tired of headlines that report airplanes being hit by drones that turn out to be plastic bags or birds or nothing at all, here’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss.

The FAA is asking for public comment on its intended launch of a web-based data collection system for the public to report “airborne and ground based observations by the public of drone behavior that they consider suspicious or illegal.” According to the FAA, this web-based system is intended to respond to Congressional direction to the FAA to “assess the flight behavior of [drones] and enable the reporting of [drone] sightings that cause public concern for safety, national security, and/or privacy.”

The FAA is required to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget prior to launching this website.

As someone who has read the FAA’s collection of “drone” reports filed by pilots and members of the public, making it easier for the public to file reports on line will do nothing to increase the quality of the information provided.

While I am a big supporter of agencies gathering and analyzing data to make policy decisions, the FAA has unfortunately demonstrated an inappropriate use of drone sightings, especially by pilots, to demonize an entire industry.

If you want to comment, you have until July 11 to make your voices heard. Send your written comments to the FAA to Ronda Thompson, Room 441, Federal Aviation Administration, ASP-110, 950 L’Enfant Plaza SW., Washington, DC 20024.

Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water. Considering the sheer number of announcements coming out of the FAA over the past few weeks at the UAV Symposium and XPONENTIAL how was it possible to miss this one. Perhaps because they never announced it in those very public, highly scrutinized forums?

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