The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to release guidelines for commercial use of drones and without their involvement, there would be no one to police all the tiny drones in the sky. And while the FAA has released statements stating they are close to releasing a draft of proposed regulations, officials are quick to point out that the finalization is probably over a year away.
“The No. 1 responsibility of the FAA is to protect U.S. citizens. We have to allow them to do their jobs,” State Representative John Torbett said. “There is frustration they are taking a very long time, but we hope that is because of the precision of the agency.” Precision or inefficiency, you decide.
Torbett is the chair person of the interim committee of the use of unmanned aircraft technology or drones. As of today, the commercial use of drones if regulated by the FAA. Therefore, drones are now being used for many applications: real estate, aerial photography, agronomy and others.
Torbett says he reviews a new use idea about once per week despite the federal prohibition on use. As will all government regulated issues, one would assume that there would be more than one agency would want a piece of the action.
But in this case, the National Transportation Safety Board was the first entity to step back and give all the responsibility to the FAA, citing unmanned aircraft are exactly that – aircraft. Despite others appealing to them, they admit to having no place in the argument.
The biggest issue – air space. When new technology like this comes around, the FAA wants to gradually work their way into undisputed regulation and approval because we only have so much space in the sky. Much progress has already been made.
In response to the new technology, North Carolina has already started laying the ground work with regulations on how commercial and government used drones will operate within state lines. California has as well. So, with the future, North Carolina is the most poised to take a leading roll in the drone revolution. California is doing its part as well.
It is projected that drones, over a million having been sold so far and a million more by Christmas.
Perhaps the FHA isn’t releasing drone regulations quickly because it’s not that high of a priority. True, drones are becoming more and more common but are they that dangerous? The scariest reports are drones impeding firefighting efforts, drones flying too close to aircraft’s and noise pollution. With the exception of aircraft’s, these are all pretty small potatoes being the FHA is in charge of the world’s most complicated transportation infrastructure.