Thank you, Michael (Drobac, Executive Director, Small UAV Coalition). Good morning everyone.
Thank you for joining us today to talk about safety in operating unmanned aircraft outdoors.
This is an issue of growing concern. The price of unmanned aircraft has come down, and this newer and more powerful technology is more affordable to more people, yet many are not familiar with the rules of flying.
In previous years, many model aircraft enthusiasts were drawn to the hobby by an interest in aviation and in developing stick and rudder skills and other aviation skills. Today, those enthusiasts are still among us and are using unmanned aircraft, but a large segment of the market for multi-rotor unmanned aircraft is photography enthusiasts.
Retailers and manufacturers sell all kinds of models, priced starting as low as $20 to models costing thousands of dollars.
These aircraft are sophisticated and they are relatively easy to fly compared to older types of model airplanes. Most of them are small helicopters with four or six blades.
We want consumers to have fun with their unmanned aircraft, but we also want them to follow these best practices for safety.
- Don’t fly above 400 feet.
- Keep your unmanned aircraft within sight.
- Don’t operate near people or crowds.
- Do not fly an unmanned aircraft within five miles of an airport without notifying FAA Air Traffic Control or the airport operator. These conversations with Air Traffic Control are critical for safety.
- You may only fly unmanned aircraft for hobby or recreational uses – you cannot earn money or use it for your business unless you get prior authorization from the FAA.
- Please respect the privacy of everyone. No taking pictures of people if they are not expecting it!
- We urge you to join a model aircraft club to help you learn how to safely operate and enjoy your aircraft.
Thank you again to everyone for joining this morning. These are very important safety tips and we urge anyone operating an unmanned aircraft to know the rules before you fly.
I’d like to open it up to questions now.