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Eric Salard / Flickr - tinyurl.com/h7o933o

The Federal Aviation Administration says reports of unsafe flying by civilian drones "have increased dramatically" over the past two years.

Andri Koolme / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zxyevkj

The Consumer Technology Association estimates about 1.2 million drones were sold during the just-completed holiday shopping season. Now one state lawmaker from western Washington wants to give you the legal right to tell a drone operator to buzz off.

Vicki Burton / Flickr

The Federal Aviation Administration has recently granted clearance for takeoff to big batches of commercial drone operators.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Judging from holiday advertising, lots of teenagers and grownups will find a drone under the Christmas tree this year. But the increasing affordability and popularity of remotely piloted airplanes and choppers is leading to conflict in Northwest skies.

Skyris Imaging

Commercial drones are taking to the Northwest skies even though the rules aren't clear.

Amazon.com

When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled plans for aerial drone delivery of packages last year, many observers dismissed the concept as science fiction or pie-in-the-sky.

Beth Redfield

The White House says President Obama will sign a fast-tracked Congressional bill to end the furloughs of air traffic controllers. Operators of smaller Northwest airports hope the measure also stops the planned closure of their control towers.

As of now, more than a dozen of the less busy airport control towers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho remain on a list to be deactivated in early June. They're potential casualties of across-the-board federal budget cuts at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Beth Redfield

Some Northwest cities and counties are exploring whether to use local or private money to keep their airport control towers open. By mid-June, the federal government plans to close the control towers at 13 small to medium sized airports across the region.

Beth Redfield

According to an airport industry association, control towers at 14 small to medium sized airports around the Northwest will close on April 1 in response to automatic federal budget cuts: Four in Idaho and five each in Oregon and Washington. But regional airlines intend to keep flying to those cities they now serve.