Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Thanks to the new era of aviation innovation-drones, it’s an exciting time to be alive. Drones are now part of our lives, particularly among drone hobbyists.
They offer several applications like land surveillance, law enforcement, wildlife tracking, search and rescue operations, recreational use, and even film and photographic duties.
But imagine a sky full of drones and traditional aircraft? Looks messy, right? That’s why a drone owner/pilot needs to abide by specific rules and regulations.
Still, most people fight with the FAA because they don’t understand why drones should be regulated.
Drones regulations aren’t just for individual benefits but also for the public. These controls exist to curb inappropriate drone behavior and outcome.
Here’s why. Read on.
Why Drones Should Be Regulated?
Bear in mind that drones should be regulated due to concerns of the individuals and the public. The FAA can’t keep pace with what drones can do efficiently and safely especially when they start being harmful.
Therefore, drone regulations are essential because of;
The truth is, drones are everywhere. As of January 2021, there were about 2 million registered drones in the US alone, which should grow soon.
Firstly, there’s the issue of rogue pilots. Without proper certification of drone pilots, it’s impossible to get any coverage. Even with a registered drone, the pilot may not have the qualified skills to fly a drone, hence dangerous flying.
Moreover, there’s a risk of damage in urban areas and properties than in rural areas. Several recorded drone and aircraft accidents caused severe damage to properties and even people.
Still, with the fast-growing drone package delivery, there are cases of drones landing packages on innocent bystanders.
Therefore, regulation on drone safety is essential and should focus on flight operation safety, understanding in-flight emergencies, understanding the national airspace system, safe battery charging and storage and ongoing improvement of flight skills.
These are important to ensure drones operate and integrate safely with aeroplanes – as there’s none other more critical mission.
Another primary concern on the use of drones that needs regulation is the intentional or unintentional data collection on people without consent.
As per the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR17, drones have no right to access personal data like images or locations.
In most cases, people or organizations use drones to spy on people for malicious reasons. That’s why the FAA needs to regulate the use of drones when it comes to privacy.
Additionally, drone regulations restrict flying a small surveillance drone over or within a congested area. Still, small drones shouldn’t pass over an organized outdoor assembly with over 1000 people or within 50m of vehicles, structures or vessels.
Nonetheless, the threat of drones to privacy is nothing compared to mobile or recording devices. But, the relevant are in place addressing issues on privacy for commercial drone use.
Most importantly, education on drone safety and public campaigns would do well for everyone to stay within boundaries.
Most drones are extremely noisy. However, drone noise and disturbance impact the type of drone, level of understanding of drone operation and location of operation.
In an urban location, it’s almost impossible to hear small drones because of the active background noise. But there are also residential areas that ban drones because of the noise.
Mostly, it becomes an issue with drone package deliveries which is becoming the new trend in urban areas.
However, more drones will be flying as time goes by, and people will start getting used to the noise. Therefore, the noise regulation in drones helps people better understand drones as devices for general operations.
Now, many feel comfortable seeing drones in the sky with a good understanding of their operations.
Nowadays, terrorists are using all sorts of gadgets to accomplish their harmful deeds. With the package delivery by drones, it’s possible to smuggle illegal goods even in places with high security.
Drones can also be a weapon like those for military services. Even though flying bombs can be a task because of the weight, still there’s a possibility of the risk. Generally, having eyes in the sky is a potential risk of enabling destructive activities.
Even worse, drone hobbyists aren’t keen on flying regulations regarding location. So, it becomes a challenge to determine why a specific drone is in a given area bearing in mind that the sky has lots of them.
There are incidents of citizens shooting down drones in their private residences. Though the drone community is not taking this lightly, sometimes going hard helps offenders get the message of staying away.
More people want to own drones and use their services for fun or commercial purposes because they are popular gadgets.
However, some brands are almost impossible to buy because of the high cost.
Thanks to price controls, states and regulators are now intervening to ensure manufacturers no longer raise prices. This allows more competing brands to enter the market and crush monopolies.
Now, you can buy a good drone matching your needs and preferences at an affordable rate. Nonetheless, since the market has many drone brands that fit your budget, you should do in-depth research to avoid poor quality. Besides, there are drones for what you want. Just make sure you choose wisely.
Is It Hard To Regulate Drone Use?
With the several applications of drones, it’s no doubt that drone technology has a bright future. However, reaching that potential requires regulation and technology improvement to achieve safe operations.
Despite the impatience of the business community and a go-slow approach to drones, there’s much need to test sufficiently and validate these drones. This helps avoid a drone mishap that could lead to the first loss of life.
But before embracing the technology for commercial use, regulation of drone use faces several hurdles.
The FAA has regulations that say no to so many drone operations. Without question, most rules are practical and make sense.
However, there’s an argument that the FAA makes drone pilots afraid of making mistakes, which is the potential for several risks.
Therefore, most drone proponents wish for relaxed regulation on flying small drones past the limit of sight. This validity doesn’t make sense for substantial commercials to keep requesting permission from the FAA every time they pass beyond the pilot’s line of sight.
Because drone flying is applicable in sparsely populated areas, it would be best for the FAA to consider a partial relaxation for drones less than 55 pounds.
The FAA and other regulators should consider drone size. Even though the exciting and advanced features of small drones are helpful, the truth is that drones need to grow larger than the 55-pound limit to achieve real logistical and commercial value.
However, this would be improper from a public safety angle to eliminate that prohibition without considering the inherent risks of large drones.
In addition, the regulation instructing that all aircraft must see and avoid other aircraft doesn’t work with drones. This is because drones don’t operate with human pilots on board and hence can’t comply.
Nevertheless, an emerging radar system allows remotely piloted aircraft like drones to detect and avoid traffic adhering to the see-and-avoid regulation of manned aircraft. However, until the radar system is functional, it would be best to cancel the rule.
How Drones Are Regulated?
Drone Rules and regulations help ensure your safety both in the air and on the ground. Remember that these rules significantly improve the ease of doing business by reducing the requirements for clearances and compliance and even the payable fees.
Also, there are policies that some states will add the shape and improve how these rules work. Such policies include standards for import and manufacturing, the requirement of safety features and policy on traffic management.
Here are several rules you need to know before you take off;
Drone Rules and Regulations-
- It’s proper to avoid flying your drone 120 metres (400 feet) higher than the ground level.
- Maintain your drone at a minimal distance of 30 metres away from other people.
- Only fly one drone at a time.
- Always maintain your drone within the operator’s line of sight. This helps the operator to use their eyes rather than through a device, goggles or screen.
- Don’t fly your drone in a congested area over or above people. Such sites include parks, sports arenas with an ongoing game, beaches, and events.
- You must respect personal privacy. Never take images or videos of people without their permission.
- If your drone is heavier than 250 grams, ensure to maintain a distance of 5.5 kilometres away from a controlled airport with a control tower. Better still, you can download a drone safety app that helps you know the areas you can and can’t fly.
- Bear in mind that you should never operate your drone in any way that may risk danger to any person, property, or aircraft.
- Always fly your drone during the day and not through fog or cloud.
- Avoid flying your drone near or over areas that affect public safety or where there are current emergency operations. This includes search and rescue, firefighting, police operations, or car crashes.
- If you fly near a helicopter or smaller aerodrome landing site without a control tower, you can maintain a distance of 5.5 kilometres. But, if you notice nearby manned aircraft, try your best to manoeuvre away and land quickly and safely.
- If you’re flying your drone commercially, there are additional rules you must adhere to. Most importantly, you must register your drone and get accreditation.
Benefits of Regulating Drones:
- Regulating drones helps to avoid traffic above and on the ground. Therefore, this results in cost savings as drones can cover great distances in the shortest time possible, saving fuel costs.
- The drone delivery process requires people and cars out of the way. With this being effective, drone delivery can widely benefit society and reduce accidents and emissions. Still, it cuts operation costs compared to car-based delivery systems.
- With drone regulations, there’s excellent potential to eliminate human error. Still, drones decrease the overall time to gather critical data for specific purposes like construction progress monitoring.
- Special security drones have a structure that often includes a brushless motor and vibration dampening. This reduces the noise levels by almost a half compared to what other drones produce. Subsequently, reduced noise is ideal when it’s necessary to monitor in response to intrusions or surveillance at a particular facility.
- Drone regulations insist on skilled operators handling drones. This way, it’s possible to operate drones for security reasons to reach distant and challenging locations more quickly than hired personnel. Drone use is beneficial when there is limited security within facilities like large plant operations or places with an expensive inventory.
- With the regulation of drone prices, it’s now easier and inexpensive to acquire a desirable drone. Currently, commercial uses of drones are increasing, and many public members are buying and flying consumer-level drones.
- Because spying and taking personal data is a crime, the regulation of drones helps maintain the laws against that. Now, people are free and more confident in their private spaces without drones carelessly flying over and near them.
Generally, the whole idea of why drones should be regulated is to enable the valuable drone technology to make life more productive, efficient, and safer.
While this fast-growing drone era is taking over the world’s economy, it would be best for drone operators to adhere to particular regulators.
Undoubtedly, piloting a drone is fun, but you might want to keep off prohibited areas that may cause security issues that can attract action against you.