FAA launches campaign targeting rookie drone pilots

FAA launches campaign targeting rookie drone pilots
The FAA has launched a campaign to promote safety around unmanned drone flights (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
The FAA has launched a campaign to promote safety around unmanned drone flights (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
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The FAA has launched a campaign to promote safety around unmanned drone flights (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
The FAA has launched a campaign to promote safety around unmanned drone flights (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
The FAA has launched a campaign to promote safety around unmanned drone flights (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)
The FAA has launched a campaign to promote safety around unmanned drone flights (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag)

If you were gifted a drone for Christmas, then the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has you in its sights. It may not be in the form of long-awaited laws for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are due later this year, but is a campaign directed at rookie pilots whose expertise may be outstripped by their unbridled enthusiasm.

With the increasing availability of cheap and feature-packed drones, these aircraft have become the ideal stocking-fillers this festive season. The danger is the potential for swarms of drones taking to skies across the US, controlled by people who mightn't have such a great handle on how to use them.

The FAA is continuing to work away on new regulations to keep all these flying vehicles in check, but in the meantime it has teamed up with UAV organizations and hobby groups to launch Know Before You Fly, a public awareness campaign promoting its already existing rules. Primarily, this means keeping the drone within sight, not flying it over 400 ft (122 m), conducting routine inspections of the craft, keeping clear of manned aircraft and notifying airports or control towers if flying within 5 miles (8 km).

The FAA has attracted criticism for its slow progress in revamping rules for what is a new era in unmanned flight. It remains illegal to fly UAVs for commercial purposes unless granted permission from the agency, a roadblock that has seen some private firms promise to take their operations overseas.

But Know Before You Fly is at least an acknowledgement of the sharp uptake in the number of drones taking to the skies and expresses a desire to inform and cooperate with budding pilots. The campaign will incorporate a website, educational materials offered at the point-of-sale, along with digital and social media campaigns.

"We are proud to be partnering with AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International), AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) and the Small UAV Coalition in spreading the word about ways to fly safely and responsibly,” says FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We often say that safety is a shared responsibility. The ‘Know Before You Fly’ campaign allows us to harness the resources and expertise of industry as we strive to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.”

While a strong dash of common sense should stop you running into too much trouble with your freshly unwrapped drone, the agency has also produced a short educational video that can be viewed below.

Source: Know Before You Fly

Know Before You Fly

Anne Ominous
It bothers me that I have to keep telling people this, but according to the Constitution, the Air Commerce Act, AND a recent Federal Court ruling, FAA HAS NO AUTHORITY OVER LOW-ALTITUDE DRONES as long as they don't cross state lines, and don't enter navigable airspace. And according to that recent ruling, that is true regardless of whether the use is commercial.
"Navigable airspace", just like "navigable waters", is well-defined and DOES NOT include the kind of airspace small drones operate in... unless you try to operate one near an airport.
FAA appealed the ruling, but it is pretty clear from Congress' intent in passing the Air Commerce Act, Constitutional limits on Federal authority, as well as that Federal Judges decision, that it will lose that appeal.
In the meantime, it has kept announcing "pending regulations" that it damned well knows will never fly.
anne, it's cute you think they give a damn about the constitution. when has that stopped them before, on..well..anything?.
they'll pass their drone regulations, and enforce them. there isn't a drone lobby, or a drone legal defense fund that I know of..and if there are any of those, they don't have pockets deep enough to go after government lawyers with unlimited amounts of our tax money.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics (http://www.modelaircraft.org/) and who co-produced this video has a long-standing relationship with the FAA and does lobby on behalf of flyers.
I like that the AMA and this 'Small UAV Coalition' are trying to get word out and educate people. While you cannot stop the real idiots from doing stupid things, most people will pay attention to common sense rules if they are made aware of them. The less high-publicity negative incidents we have, the better.
William Mosby
Oh, really, Anne? Does that mean I can own a machine gun without regard to Federal restrictions (transfer tax, date of manufacture, etc) as long as I don't shoot it across state lines and be careful not to aim so the rounds don't go above 400 feet?
Go ahead, you first. lol
Anne Ominous
Regardless of whether they go ahead with the regulations, as I have stated a Federal Judge has already ruled that they have no authority to do so.
William R. Mosby:
Yes, as several states have recently affirmed. About 6 states now have passed Second Amendment Preservation Acts (or similar wording) over the last couple of years, declaring that the Federal government has no authority over arms manufactured within a state which remain in that state.
It's true. Look it up.
About 16 other states have similar pending legislation. Just like others do for marijuana.
Craig Newhouse
Thank you Anne for your accurate statements and knowledge based on real LAW, versus one agency's overreaching, ill-defined "position" that has never even been vetted through the FAA's own rule-making process since told to do so by the US Air Force back in 2002!
My local FAA office recently told me, and I quote: "Don't bother submitting for an exemption because we don't have the manpower, your application will go to the bottom of the pile of other [real] pilots' requests, and it will likely be years before we can even begin to review it." end flippin' quote! That is an agency that needs serious help, and a significant change of approach to their tax-funded jobs.
Canada has BRILLIANT sUAS regs: P H O T O C O P Y T H E M . This does NOT have to be the endless postpone-another-2-years travesty it continues to be here in the our great nation. 2017 is WAY too far out. A real agency effort could have this done by Feb 1, 2015. Seriously...13 years and not a single sentence worth of regs specifically for sUAS?!?
I've flown safe for over 2 years now w/ a sizeable list of self-created safety regulations that I follow, and I'll continue to because the fed gov't has completely lost credibility on this.
These 'droplets' of ridiculous exemptions need to give way to a properly controlled 'river' of simple, common sense reg's... N O W.