Any ideas what you’ll be getting for the holidays? According to the FAA, about 1 million of you will be getting drones, whether that’s a high-end quadcopter or low-end $20 knockoffs from Walmart. Regardless, the FAA is very, very worried about what happens when 1 million new aircraft enter the airspace.
As reported by Aviation Week, the FAA’s Rich Swayze put it this way while speaking at the Airlines for America (A4A) Commercial Aviation Industry Summit: “A lot of people who don’t have a pilot background are operating these things in the airspace.”
Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley was more blunt. “From an operating perspective, [small UAVs are] a very serious issue and there’s considerable concern that it’s going to end in tears,” he said. “It’s not just in and around airports where drones present a danger to the traveling public. There are many areas outside of 5 miles of an airport where a drone conflict could occur.”
And if those million drones cause serious headaches? Some legislators would like to see hard limits placed on UAVs capabilities. According to Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon, (the head of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in Congress),”a lot of what pilots are seeing is irresponsible use of toys. The toys, in my opinion, should be set up so they can’t be sold unless they’re geo-fenced for altitude and perimeters.”
In other words, that new drone you got for the holidays just may end up having some hard ceilings placed on it.