US, December 1, 2014: Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, believes that regulations are in place to prevent drones from interfering with large aircraft. He, however, adds education about drone safety and regulation enforcement needs to be improved in order to actually keep airways safe.
Talking on CNN’s “State of the Union” earlier this week, Huerta said, “That is certainly a serious concern and it is something that I am concerned about…That’s why we are very focused on education. That’s why we’re also focused on enforcement. We’ve enforced hundreds of these cases where we have seen someone operating one of these things carelessly and recklessly and posing the danger to aircraft, and that can’t happen.”
Since drones have entered the commercial market, the FAA reports pilots have seen up to 25 cases per month of drones flying above the regulated limit of 400 feet, with some flying as high as 2,000 feet in the air. Huerta says the FAA is working to educate people about the dangers of flying drones that high, since enforcement of the small, unmanned aerial vehicles can be difficult.
“We have been working with the Model Aeronautics Association, with the model community and clubs so we can educate people because these are not your typical pilots that may be flying one of these for the first time and they may be unfamiliar with the rules,” he added.
In 2012, the FAA set a September 2015 deadline to lay out a concrete list of rules and regulations for flying commercial drones, many of which are operated from the ground by untrained civilians. The current rules prohibit owners from flying drones higher than 400 feet, near an airport, or out of eyesight. But enforcing those regulations can be difficult, especially in light of the increasing rate of commercial use.
In response to that potential threat, Huerta says the FAA will be publishing a “rule-making” that takes into consideration the qualifications of the drone operator, and the certification of the aircraft. “I can’t say what is going to be in it but broadly speaking, what we are looking at are all the questions relating to how we certify the aircraft and what are the qualifications of the operator as well as what uses they can be put to,” Huerta said.
Source: SUAS News