FAA and Unmanned Aircraft Groups Partner on Drone Safety

With the growing interest and ownership of unmanned aircraft, or drones, the Federal Aviation Administration recently announced new resources to help businesses and recreational users fly safe.

With questions of drone safety still up in the air, the Federal Aviation Administration recently partnered with several unmanned aircraft groups to help educate the public on responsible flying.

Launched just before the holidays in anticipation of people receiving drones as gifts, the “Know Before You Fly” campaign provides resources aimed at both businesses and recreational users.

“Often people who purchase UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] for recreational use in stores or online are unaware of the existing safety guidelines,” Michael Drobac, executive director of the Small UAV Coalition, one of the sponsoring organizations, said in a statement. “Our hope is that this campaign will make that information more accessible to the legions of flyers taking to the skies, ensuring safety for all aircraft, both manned and unmanned.”

The campaign, which is also sponsored by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Academy of Model Aeronautics, includes an educational video, point-of-sale materials, online and social media campaigns, and a website that lists information on FAA regulations. For example, did you know that universities need FAA approval before they can use unmanned aircraft for research, that businesses can request permission from the FAA to use unmanned aircraft, or that these aircraft must adhere to temporary flight restrictions around stadiums and racetracks?

In a conference call with journalists last month announcing the campaign, the FAA said it received about 25 reports a month last year of people seeing drones flying near manned aircraft or airports, The New York Times reported.

“This is an issue of growing concern,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “The price of unmanned aircraft has come down and this newer and more powerful technology is more affordable to more people, yet many are not familiar with the rules of flying.”

While the FAA has been criticized for its slow rollout of regulations regarding use of this type of aircraft, the agency has responded to pressure from specific industries, including real estate and filmmaking. And the FAA announced on Monday that it will work with CNN to create guidelines for drone use in news reporting.

“Unmanned aircraft offer news organizations significant opportunities,” Huerta said in a statement. “We hope this agreement with CNN and the work we are doing with other news organizations and associations will help safely integrate unmanned news gathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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