Why the FAA Should Change Their Drone User Requirements
And I’m sure the FAA already has something in the works regarding changing their recreational drone user requirements. They would be stupid not to – given the multiple warnings from safety and rescue teams and firefighters, and other pilots regarding the hazards already popping up due to recreational drone users. And let me be clear, I am only addressing the recreational use of drones in this article. Because they have not had any formal drone pilot, or FAA training. The big push will be when someone gets seriously hurt or killed due to some bozo flying their drone where it shouldn’t be. It’s just a matter of time. It will happen. An in-air collision with a manned airplane is inevitable at the rate drone usage is growing. And according to firefighting slurry bomber pilots, near misses have already happened because they and drones fly just above the tree lines.
You can’t drive a car without a license and you can’t get a license without the proper training first. The same should be true of flying a drone. After all, they are traveling in the same traffic as other pilots, and for everybody’s safety, should absolutely know what they are doing. The FAA has been far too lackadaisical in recreational drone use thus far. It’s the equivalent of if the DMV were to let people drive cars without a license as long as they are only driving for recreational use. What? Their lack of proper regulatory measures addressing recreational drone use may have been okay when there were only a couple hundred drones out there, but now there are hundreds of thousands in the air. And companies like Amazon want to use them on a daily basis to deliver packages? Soon our skies will be more crowded than our streets. We’ve already witnesses the hazards of unmanned, automated cars crashing. Well….drones are unmanned, automated cars in the sky!
Licensed Drone Pilots are NOT your neighbor with his/her drone toy.
The amateur drone flyers out there (I won’t call them pilots because they’ve had no pilot training) are giving a bad rap to the rest of us responsible drone pilots and the entire aerial photography profession.
The FAA doesn’t just test potential drone pilots on the hazards of operating a drone in controlled airspace, they also require licensed drone pilots to study aeronautical charts, weather patterns, and psychological profiles and behaviors in order to pass the certification exam and receive an UAV pilot license. This is to insure the safety of all the manned aircraft pilots and their passengers who are flying thousands of flights every day all over the world. If you actually looked at an aeronautical chart (and knew what you were looking at), you would be amazed just how much of our airspace is occupied by airports and manned airplanes. It’s far more space than is not occupied by planes these days.
As mentioned above, every idiot with a recreational drone thinks just because they can fly it that makes them a drone expert. NOT. Anyone who is a licensed drone pilot, (such as myself) will tell you that all the FAA rules and regulations regarding commercial drone use are put in place for everyone’s protection. And we responsible, commercial drone users are more than happy to spend the rigorous hours studying for the FAA UAV exam, going through all the paperwork hassles, and paying the licensing and registrations fees because WE respect the regulations the FAA has put into place for EVERYONE’S safety. Very few recreational drone users get that. Hence my comment earlier that the FAA should make it illegal to fly a drone unless you are licensed and have read and studied all the FAA information. Flying a drone should not be taken lightly. It is very easy to put more than your own life at risk with one. Furthermore, drones are not infallible. There are frequent fly-aways, dropping out of the sky for often unknown reasons, and a multitude of functional things that can go wrong with a drone just like any other mechanical device. Recently the FAA has been working with DJI to create a parachute for drones that will deploy automatically in the event of functional failure. That tells you just how often it happens: VERY.
Anyway…the above are all the things a drone pilot has to consider just to fly the darn thing. Then there’s everything to consider to be able to take good photos and video with it. That skill is discussed on my page on Photography and Video Services.
Can you read and understand the aeronautical map at the top of this page? If not, then you have no business flying anything, including a drone.