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Schumer: Keep drones away from airports, sports events, Pentagon

In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, photo, a

In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, photo, a police officers stands beside the remains of a drone that crashed into an empty section of seats at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Credit: AP / Kathy Willens

Free-roaming drones should be manufactured with "geo-fencing" technology to keep them away from airports, the Pentagon and sporting events such as the U.S. Open, where a remote-controlled aircraft crashed into the stands earlier this month, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday.

Two unauthorized aerial drones were reported over last week's West Indian Day Parade, Schumer said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told him.

Schumer (D-New York) said 39 state legislatures have called for the abolishment of drones, but he said he doesn't want to "throw out the baby with the bath water." Aerial drones are important and essential for use by law enforcement, farmers, businesses and others, he said.

"The elegant solution is called geo-fencing," the Democrat said at a news conference Sunday at his Manhattan office. "And that solution is virtually fool-proof. ... Good uses of drones could continue, but the dangers of drones would be eliminated."

New York's senior senator is proposing an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill that requires all drones sold in the United States to have tracking technology built into their software, limiting their altitude and how close they can fly to sensitive locations. Punitive measures would include confiscation of the drones and fines, Schumer said.

The FAA reported 52 instances of pilots sporting drones in June and July 2014, but the rate of such sightings has risen to 275 in June and July 2015, the senator said. Schumer said he fears a drone may eventually be sucked into the engine of a plane or otherwise collide with aircraft.

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