• FILE - In this March 12, 2014 file photo, a drone flown by Brian Wilson lands after flying over the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. The government is receiving reports nearly every day _ and sometimes two or three times a day _ of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual, federal and industry officials familiar with the reports told The Associated Press.  (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

    FILE - In this March 12, 2014 file photo, a drone flown by Brian Wilson lands after flying over the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. The government is receiving reports nearly ... every day _ and sometimes two or three times a day _ of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual, federal and industry officials familiar with the reports told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 12, 2014 file photo, Brian Wilson launches a small drone equipped with a video camera to fly over the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. The government is receiving reports nearly every day _ and sometimes two or three times a day _ of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual, federal and industry officials familiar with the reports told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

    FILE - In this March 12, 2014 file photo, Brian Wilson launches a small drone equipped with a video camera to fly over the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. The government is ... receiving reports nearly every day _ and sometimes two or three times a day _ of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual, federal and industry officials familiar with the reports told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2014 file photo, a remote controlled model aircraft flying over the Washington Nationals spring training baseball workout in Viera, Fla. The government is receiving reports nearly every day _ and sometimes two or three times a day _ of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual, federal and industry officials familiar with the reports told The Associated Press.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2014 file photo, a remote controlled model aircraft flying over the Washington Nationals spring training baseball workout in Viera, Fla. The government is receiving reports nearly every day _ and sometimes two or three times a ... day _ of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual, federal and industry officials familiar with the reports told The Associated Press.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) (The Associated Press)

AP Exclusive: Reports of drones flying near manned planes and airports are up dramatically

Industries Associated Press

Federal and industry officials say the government is getting near-daily reports — and sometimes two or three a day — of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission.

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It's a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports to the Federal Aviation Administration were still unusual.

The officials say many of the reports are unconfirmed, raising the possibility that pilots may have mistaken a bird or another plane in the distance for a drone. But other reports appear to be credible.

The officials agreed to discuss the matter only on the condition that they not be named because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

The president of a drone industry trade group, Michael Toscano, says FAA officials have verified the increase to him.