Captain C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger, famous pilot and public speaker, has weighed in on the FAA’s Drone Registration plans. Sullenberger posted the following to his Facebook page, generating hundreds of comments pro and con the proposed drone regulations:
The recommendations on consumer use of drones put forth by the FAA’s task force are a start – but they do not address some of the more concerning safety issues with these unmanned aerial vehicles, such as how to avoid potentially catastrophic collisions with manned aircraft. The FAA must address ALL concerns before issuing its final official rules.
The airline pilot has simply echoed the sentiments of most of the manned airline industry, who may see fewer flights in their future and would certainly prefer never to see drones in sight of any aircraft, although no accidents have been reported. This has been an immutable position taken by the Airline Pilots Association, as they work side by side with the FAA to explain why drone regulations have not yet been put in place, repeating the statistics of multiple “sitings” of drones by pilots.
The public weighed in on Sullenberger’s comments quickly. Those who agreed with Capt. Sullenberger seemed to want drones to disappear (“Why do we need drones anyway?” asked one commenter. “I was just fine without them.”) Those who disagreed cited the lack of any statistic or evidence of an accident or even an incident that has actually taken place between drones and large aircraft; and promoted the economic benefits of supporting the drone industry.
Those commenters who actually understood the issue did seem to concur, however, that registration itself may be ineffective at accomplishing any of the FAA’s concerns; there is general agreement that a registration system will be difficult to enforce and implement and could have little benefit.
It would certainly seem ineffectual at serving to address an all-capitals “ALL concerns” about drone safety – that has yet to be achieved with airplanes, automobiles, or bicycles, and seems unlikely to be achieved by any means that the FAA can imagine.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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