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FAA Overwhelmed by Drone Popularity, Enforcement Issues


Posted on Mar 04, 2015

It seems as though drones are riding a new wave of popularity and accessibility, and as the Federal Aviation Administration scrambles to create a new set of rules and regulations for the unmanned aircraft, the agency has turned to local law enforcement for help.

The FAA turned to several state attorneys general to request assistance from local law enforcement in the enforcement of drone regulations. As drone sales rapidly increase—some reports say as much as 12,000 drones each month—lawmakers are scrambling to create and enforce rules for the new troublesome aircraft.

With the increase in popularity, incidents with airliners and drones are becoming more frequent as new drone operators buzz casually around busy Class B airports. As with laser events, which local law enforcement have already been involved with, the FAA has requested assistance as event frequency quickly outgrew agency manpower.

New rules have already been proposed that would require drone operators to take a knowledge test and obtain a license—much akin to the current pilot licensing standards—which would be valid for two years. Other proposed rules call for 500’ AGL limits and sightline requirements between the drone and its operator.

The popularity boom of these unmanned aircraft has introduced a slew of complications for federal and local law enforcement as airspace issues, privacy, and security see new issues with drones regularly. While most in Washington agree that drones present exciting new opportunities for many individuals and businesses, they also agree that an equal amount of challenges arise, as well.

Currently, 15 states have regulations involving drones, and several more are expected to jump onboard as soon as policy can be drafted. The aviation accident attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten are tracking the progress of unmanned aircraft regulations, and are interested to see how the FAA will adapt and evolve to accommodate this new technology.

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