Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Drone sightings down, proving that operators being more responsible, says aviation group

One of the biggest concerns facing the Federal Aviation Administration in creating drone regulations has been a fear of the skies turning into a new Wild West, with out-of-control drone operators ignoring laws. That might not be as big a concern as previously thought. According to a report by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, drone operators have been acting more responsibly in recent months, Matt McFarland reports for The Washington Post.

While drone sales have surged—450,000 units were sold in 2014, 1.14 million in 2015 and 2.8 million sales are projected in 2016—drone sightings by airplane pilots have declined, McFarland writes. After peaking in August 2015, with about 180 sightings, numbers have been steadily dropping, down to about 90 in January of this year. Rich Hanson, AMA’s government and regulatory affairs representative, told McFarland, “It looks like we’re getting the message out there. We’re pretty confident that education is one of primary factors if not the primary factor. We don’t want to minimize the risk by saying it doesn’t exist. The risk does exist. In our experience we don’t believe the risk is truly as significant as it’s been made to be.” (AMA graphic)

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