A letter from Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) president Rich Hanson to the International Civil Aviation Organization has sought to correct misinformation surrounding the regulations recreational pilots must comply with and urge more effective education and enforcement in the drone industry.
In it, Hanson suggests the ICAO considers the full picture and the existing regulatory framework when creating Standards and Recommended Practices for drones, particularly when making recommendations to the United States on UAS regulations.
The full letter can be read here.
The key points in the letter refer to misinformation, education and enforcement – three topics we’re more than familiar with when it comes to drone industry policy.
Unfortunately,” he says, “as drones have become more popular in recent years, there has been a significant amount of misinformation about the existing laws recreational UAS pilots must follow. Even those who work on drone policy sometimes inaccurately characterize the current regulatory regime governing UAS. This is why AMA has worked diligently for years to educate the public on the laws, as well as the basic guidelines for flying responsibly.”
Accountability is key to preventing the kind of negative headlines that have been giving the majority of law-abiding drone pilots a bad reputation by association.
“We strongly believe that education is the best and most effective way to ensure the safety of our airspace,” writes Hanson. “Importantly, if UAS pilots do not follow these drone laws, they must be held accountable by the authorities. We have urged law enforcement and the FAA to issue civil and criminal penalties, as well as pursue jail time, against reckless pilots. There must be consequences for not following the law.”
He concludes, “For our part, AMA will continue to advocate and educate the public – and correct any misinformation about drone policy when we see it. For existing drone laws to work, they must be followed. And if they are not followed, there must be consequences. Increased education for the public and increased enforcement against careless and reckless operators is critical.”