With the holiday season approaching and the prospect of even more private citizens acquiring drones as gifts, the issue of regulating these un-manned aircraft is coming to the fore. The administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration Michael Huerta discussed the issue this week on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Huerta said that the FAA is now developing regulations to control the use of drones throughout the country so that the safety of all aircraft can be insured. The aviation chief said that there were 25 events so far in which unmanned aircraft interfered with manned flights.
One aspect of creating a saver environment for passenger flights and smaller manned aircraft is simply education.
“These are not your typical pilots that may be flying one of these for the first time, so a big part of what we’re doing is educating people,” Huerta said.
Huerta added there are rules already in place limiting the height drones can fly to 400-feet and a no-fly zone near airports.
He also stated that the FAA is planning to institute regulations in stages which will allow broader commercial use of drones. Lower risk uses will first be instituted, while over time other applications will be introduced.
“There are proponents of unmanned aircraft, and they see huge potential of this technology — and for them, we can’t move fast enough,” Huerta said. “What they would like to see is free and open use of unmanned aircraft as soon as we can get there.”
“On the other side,” he added, “we have pilots — commercial pilots and general aviation pilots — who are very concerned that these are difficult to see, and they don’t have a really good understanding of how they interact with other aircraft.”