Tuesday, November 25, 2014

FAA to Require Full Pilot License to Fly Drones?



The Federal Aviation Administration is getting ready to put an end to all those great drone videos popping up on YouTube.  According to Forbes, the FAA is going to require that anyone piloting the unmanned aerial vehicles, even those from drones like the DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter for GoPro be required to have a full pilot's license.   At least, if they want to profit from the footage.

The requirements are likely to add a bit of confusion surround the drones and their uses.  Already there is an element of common sense about flying a drone.  You don't operate in airfields or near commercial airspace.  You don't fly above the heads of a crowd or people in general, thanks to safety concerns.

The 400 feet of altitude rule has been in play for some time, as has the line of sight operation rule.  Soon drones will be permitted only in daylight hours, so goodbye to night shots.  Again, I've flown these things and I can safely say that 400 feet is really high for a UAV, and keeping withing eyesight range is not really that difficult, but you get hypnotized by watching the footage on a phone or tablet.

Many have wondered why traditional model airplane flyers don't have to have to have a license, and it's really quite simple--money.  Real estate agents, movie makers, and more have a need for drones and their pilots.  What used to cost ridiculous sums of money can now be accomplished in an afternoon with a skilled operator, and why not register a list of all qualified UAV or drone pilots?

It could also be a lack of understanding about the technology.  The majority of pilots I know are not flying around buildings trying to look into windows, they are out scanning the city landscapes and taking some really great videos.  They are responsibly operating their machines, and if they make a few bucks off of a YouTube video so be it.

I wonder if this will take or if it will fall by the wayside, but either way the negativity attached to drones like the Phantom and smaller air craft is going to get dialed up, for no reason at all.

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