ALPA, NATCA Urge Drone Regulation

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Current laws limit the ability of the FAA to regulate drone operations, to the detriment of safety, according to a joint letter to Congress released by ALPA, NATCA and Airlines for America on Tuesday. “Small drones are very difficult to visually acquire by pilots in flight or by air traffic controllers in the tower,” the statement says, “and small drones do not currently have electronic anti-collision technologies that are compatible with airline collision avoidance systems.” If the drones were equipped with anti-collision technology, the groups said, flight crews would have a better chance to take evasive action. Current laws restrict the FAA from regulating drone operators who fly for fun.

That restriction “has limited the FAA’s ability to fully regulate UAS, to the point that safety of the national airspace is at risk,” the groups said. The groups cited recent incidents when drones came too close to commercial aircraft, including a recent drone-shot video that showed a close encounter with an airliner. “We strongly urge you to remove legislative restrictions that have been placed on the FAA that limit its safety oversight of UAS,” the groups said in their letter. “The likelihood that a drone will collide with an airline aircraft is increasing. By providing the FAA with the full authority to regulate all UAS operations, the safety of passenger and cargo flights will be protected.”

Comments (4)

Just substitute the word "bird" for each use of "drone" in the article. I'm sure Sulley could testify in support of the initiative.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | February 14, 2018 7:37 AM    Report this comment

Let's see. Do we have a problem here? There are about 230,000 GA and approximately 7,000 transport and cargo aircraft in the U.S. Compared to over a MILLION DRONES with a potential to increase to 3+ MILLION DRONES soon. Aircraft and humans on the ground would need protection. Dusting off my Vietnam steel pot.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | February 14, 2018 7:58 AM    Report this comment

I'm not opposed to more regulation of drones, but I question if they would accomplish the desred result. The recent video of the airliner passing beneath the drone shows that the operator was clearly in violation of existing laws, so what additional laws would have prevented this? Drone technology is evolving rapidly and my preferred solution would be to incorporate sensors and programming that restricts operation of the drone outside permissible limits. Any drone of sufficient size to cause major damage to an aircraft in flight should be so equipped. Nothing will prevent determined fools from breaking any law that Congress or the FAA may pass. Aviation is already up to its eyeballs in regulation.

Posted by: John McNamee | February 15, 2018 11:19 AM    Report this comment

The simple technological solution to small drones is to have GPS on both drone and control system. Drone is then electronically tethered to control system. If it gets too far away, the drone automatically goes back to origin.

Posted by: Sam Strohl | February 17, 2018 8:14 AM    Report this comment

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