The Federal Aviation Administration is concerned that a large influx of drone purchases this Christmas season could result in a lack of safety in the nation’s airspace.
Rich Swayze, in charge of policy at the FAA, has expressed great concern that one million people will receive drones as Christmas gifts this year. The FAA is highly cautious about this market trend, assuming that at some point or another, one of the air toys will take down a passenger plane or cause some other kind of havoc. Because of this, the FAA is asking businesses like Walmart to educate their customers on how to fly the toys cautiously and safely.
PC Magazine reported on a few of the tips of how to get the most enjoyable and safest use out of a drone.
Among these tips was the suggestion that flyers should inform their neighbors and any others who might assume the drone is spying on them that the object is indeed a toy which is harmless and should not be shot out of the air.
Additionally, owners of drones should not fly them above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport without contacting the airport and control towers ahead of time. This is a “no drone zone”.
While in the air, the aircraft should be visible to the flyer’s naked eye at all times.
People need to remember “don’t be stupid” says PC Magazine, as they insist that drones should never be flown over crowded areas, where a crash could result in an injury or worse.
A Forbes piece noted that a problem bigger than the direct threat of toy drones could be that the FAA, which survives on taxpayer funding, is spending too much time and energy on this matter. Any positive impact from their efforts will likely only affect those who live very close to airports, since the drones have low altitude limits.
The growing use of drones is not only threatening people with safety issues, but has also been found to be disturbing wildlife. A study in August showed that black bears were particularly impacted drones as the animals nearly had heart attacks when approached by one.