Too Close for Comfort
Drones have always been around but are they now becoming too much to handle?
According to industry officials, there has been a sharp increase in the number of drone sightings lately, with the US government receiving reports from pilots almost daily of drones flying too close to their airplane or helicopter.
In fact getting 2 to 3 such reports a day has become the norm, which is a huge jump from just a couple of years ago when drone sightings were few and far between.
FAA Regulations Regarding Drones
Flying drones without any regulations poses a definite risk to other airplanes. To minimize this risk, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has imposed strict restrictions on drone operations.
According to FAA, it is mandatory for all unmanned aircraft operators to receive permission from the agency before they can fly their machines. This certificate of authorization allows operators to fly their drones up to a maximum altitude of 400 feet with two added stipulations.
The first condition is that the drone should remain visible to the operator at all times and the second condition is that drones cannot be flown within a five mile radius of any airport.
These regulations seemed to have worked fine before but recent reports of increased drone sightings that are flouting FAA regulations are worrisome and have resulted in several high-level meetings that aim to find a solution sooner rather than later.
Drones Out of Control
The biggest risk with flying small drones without any control or regulations is that many of these machines are made up of plastic and other composite materials that do not show up on the radar.
Because of their smaller size, they are also invisible to air traffic controllers. This means there is a huge chance of aircraft and drones flying too close to each other, increasing the chances of a collision significantly.
Despite knowing the risks drone operators continue to fly their unmanned machines for their personal or commercial purposes, which means the FAA needs to step up their act quickly and impose stricter restrictions and steeper penalties before there is a calamity in the skies.