Sometimes safety rules aren’t just about individuals – they are for the collective public.
While virtually all safety rules and regulations are designed to protect individuals, of course there is an element that looks to protect others on the worksite, or the public, or vendors/contractors – anyone who may be in vicinity of some potentially dangerous or hazardous situation.
Drones have become a new public-safety hazard and threat in recent years, especially for flying aircraft that actually have people and cargo on them. while drones have a utilitarian use, and many of them are used for intelligence-gathering and other surveillance missions for the military, an exponential increase in the use of drones commercially and individually have started to pose a real threat for pilots of manned aircraft.
This has caused the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take some action in the last few months regarding drones and safety of all aircraft, passing a final rule last year addressing this very real concern (especially as companies like Amazon are stepping up their use of drones for package deliveries). These drones, or “unmanned aircraft systems (UAS),” have really risen in use among commercial enterprises, which puts threm in competition for airspace with other commercial manned aircraft, such as airlines, private charter planes, and cargo planes – not to mention military aircraft.
The FAA rules cover many aspects of drone operation, including adding limits on altitude and speed of the machines – which may or may not have n effect on Amazon’s package delivery plans.
What, you mean I can’t get the last Michael Vey book until Wednesday instead of Tuesday because the speed limit’s been throttled down? This is an outrage! I’m rating this two stars!
The drone rules, for now, only apply to “non-hobby” operations of drones that weigh less than 55 pounds. It is reasoned that having these rules will actually encourage innovation and spur job growth in the industry, though it’s hard to see how, since very few rule-makers in government know anything about making jobs or encouraging innovation.
The rules will require that all drones be operated in daytime and be always in visible line of sight of the pilot. Any drones that fly at twilight or later must have operational anti-collision lights on board. There is also a prohibition on flying such machines over “unprotected” people who are not directly involved in the operation of the drone.
In addtion (yes this is a large rule), operators are required to be at least 16 years old, and have a remote pilot certificate or be closely supervised by such an individual. Also, the pilot or operator of the drones is expected to ensure that the drone is functioning properly before flying it.