Drones are exciting and fun to fly, and that's a big part of the reason that people forget the dangers consumer drones can pose. I'm not talking about personal injury in this case, but rather the very real danger that drones can pose to other aircraft.
Previous articles I've written on subject have been more positive, and while I wish I could continue that trend, it seems that the facts no longer support it. After a documented collision and numerous near misses this is a safety issue that we must be aware of, and as a community address.
Drone events, expos and museum days are being ever more commonplace. Events like the recent Drone Day at the New Jersey Liberty Science Center and the Drone Expo 2017 at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum in Nebraska. This is great news for the commercial drone operator and hobby operator alike. These events are a great way to expose yourself to new drone technology and to participate in your local drone community.
It looks like Congress is about to make a decision that will most likely not be very popular amongst recreational drone operators. It wasn't too long ago that the FAA instituted a drone registration that required all operators, recreational and commercial alike. However, that position changed to only requiring commercial registration, now it looks like the registration rules will be changing yet again. Many will consider this a very surprising move when you consider that after the FAA, after collecting over $4 million dollars in registration fees, was forced to issue refunds.
While operating his drone near the York River in Virginia, Donglai Gong accidentally found a harmful algal bloom or HAB. Donglai, an assistant professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, was curious and took some photos. This random event quickly led to something larger, the involvement of NASA. Drones are the next evolutionary step in HAB detection; that's why they are being used by NASA in and outside of the Virginia area.
Kevin Cadby, a drone operator in Jupiter, Florida, recently used his drone to capture some amazing video, video of an impromptu rescue. It was just coincidence, but Cadby used his drone to record a brave 13-year-old surfer named Sam Ruskin saving a life. The scene seemed normal at first but quickly turned as he watched the boat toppling into the Jupiter Inlet. Luckily for the boat passenger, Sam was there.
Recently finalized, our drone laws look to be in flux again. The President directed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao to develop a new program. This program, named the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, is designed to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments in select jurisdictions.
Running over 3 years, this program will "help tackle the most significant challenges in integrating drones into the national airspace while reducing risks to public safety and security. The program is designed to provide regulatory certainty and stability to local governments and communities, UAS owners and operators who are accepted into the program."