Have a New Drone in Your Home after the Holidays?
You’re not alone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently reported that more than 616,000 owners of drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), have participated in the first year of the FAA’s online registration program. ALPA continues to urge the FAA to require registration at the “point of sale,” which would allow all, not just some, UAS owners to become informed and engaged in keeping themselves and their community safe when they fly a UAS.
Across North America this week, drones have once again been receiving much media attention—from a possible sighting by a Canadian pilot at 9,000 feet to thousands gathering in California to discuss the commercial applications of UAS technology. All the while, ALPA continues to be a recognized leader in calling for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.
Just as ALPA has been at the forefront of advancing aviation safety for 85 years, the evolution of technology has been a valuable asset for our industry. As unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) gained popularity, ALPA quickly recognized the future potential of these devices and worked with industry stakeholders and government regulators to ensure that the operation of these devices does not jeopardize the safety of our national airspace.
In recent months, UAS, or drones as they are commonly called, have flooded the commercial market. As more people take to the skies with their UAS, pilots around the world are witnessing more of these devices in shared airspace, a problem that ALPA has been working to reduce.
By ALPA Staff
As the popularity of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) increases, so does the number of sightings of these devices in the national airspace system (NAS) by airline pilots. Recently, the FAA issued updated numbers of UAS sighting reports, and the initial findings indicate that more and more UAS are being operated well beyond the restrictions and safe guidelines established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
According to the FAA, between August 2015 and January 31, 2016, there were over 580 reported UAS sightings from pilots, air traffic controllers, and citizens throughout the United States. With more than 406,000 devices registered since December, it’s more important than ever that those operating UAS understand and follow the rules.
By Capt. Tim Canoll
Earlier this month, I testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on the need to fully regulate all uses of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
During this hearing, additional testimony provided by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University cited a recently published report alleging that the “small UAS under 2 kg pose a negligible risk to the safety of the national airspace.”
ALPA takes exception to these conclusions about the extremely low risk of collision. The report’s statistics were built by evaluating the historical number of wildlife strikes and damage caused throughout the past 25 years. Comparing a small machine, often comprised of metal parts, to a bird provides no reasonable correlation. Aircraft engines have been tested against birds and designed to withstand a certain level of ingestion. To date, no such tests have been conducted with UAS. Based on a lack of research and testing data, it is presumptuous to correlate UAS and bird strikes.