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Do Not Fly Your Drone Near an Airport



An aircraft is any machine that is capable of obtaining and deriving support from the atmosphere due to air reactions. Drones are also referred to like systems that are unmanned. They are currently found all over. One can get drones from the shelves of various stores or even from online stores such as Amazon. Prospective drone operators range from consumers to various businesses. The urge is not only to fly a drone but also to fly it safely without causing any accidents.

Drones can be classified as either for non-recreational purposes or for recreational purposes. A drone can as well be referred to as a model aircraft for the recreational purpose drone and an aerial vehicle that is unmanned for the non-recreational purposes.

One ought to have all the guidance and information necessary before deciding to get a drone and flying it in a responsible and safe manner.

There are campaigns that are aimed at ensuring the safe flying of drones. There is the international Association meant for vehicle systems that are unmanned (AUVSI), FAA (Administration of Federal Aviation) and Model Aeronautics Academy (AMA). The federal aviation ensures that there is safety in the national airspace.

For drones being used for leisure and recreation, there is no need for making a declaration based on RO1 categories. Just ensure to follow the rules on distance from an airport, flying height of the aircraft, weight of the aircraft and the drone’s visual sight without the use of appliances such as cameras or drones.

RO is the organization of aircraft systems that are remotely piloted. The three operator categories will be based on flight and weight. The categories are RO3, RO2, and RO1.  Drones have to be operated in the visual sight line or beyond the sight line. If a flight is primarily meant for leisure or recreation, competition or sport, the activity is termed as flying of the model airplanes.


FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)

It makes rules for small aircraft that are unmanned. It is the provider of several specific regulations for the sake of safety for crafts which are unmanned and are not meant for the purpose of recreation. Most of the crafts will be weighing not more than fifty-five pounds.

Any drone operator using it for commercial reasons such as providing photography services, aerial surveys or even carrying out their businesses such as photography of real estate and inspection of the roofs has to adhere to the rules that have been put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is important to have a world where drone usage is both responsible and safe.


Safety tips when flying a drone close to an airport

·         Drones should not get to the Airspace for Class B. it is like Class B is an area which is clearly designated as a no go zone for drones.

·         When operating a drone within five miles of an airport which is towered, always ensure that you have notified the airport authority and the airport’s control tower.

·         A drone should be flown under four hundred feet, far from large crowds of people, stadiums, public buildings, airports. That is why it is preferable to fly in an open field.

·         Do not fly an unmanned aerial vehicle which is not manned near an aircraft that is manned.

·         Drones should be flown in a direct line where they can be seen.

·         In case of any safety issues, local law enforcement should be able to assist.

·         Any unmanned aircraft should be registered.

Guidelines for Aerial systems that are unmanned

When flying a drone near an airport, let it be more five miles from the airport. And of about five miles or less always give the airport a prior notice to airport operation staff or even to the control tower air traffic officers. It is just making notice and not seeking for a person to fly the drone. The airport management can prohibit the use of aerial systems that are unmanned within a radius of five miles from the airport. The prohibition can be due to if the drone might endanger the airspace safety around any airport. Reasons for prohibition should be given to the drone operator on the decline of drone flying request.

One should fly a drone away from units for emergency response such as the fire department. The drone should be at the height of about four hundred feet.

Crafts with a weight of more than pounds 0.55 should be registered with Administration of Federal Aviation.

Have some vast knowledge of the restrictions and requirements for any airspace. Some necessary information is: details such as name and your contact information, the place you have any intention of flying at, your flying altitude, the amount of time you will spend flying, plus how long you will fly, make of the aerial system that is unmanned you are using and if you can be contacted when you are taking time flying the drone.

All operations of aerial systems that are unmanned should be documented especially those flying at five miles of the airport radius.

Roles of the airport staff to the drone operator

Familiarity with the operating areas of aerial crafts that are manned within the five miles radius of the airport and sharing the information with drone operator of an aerial vehicle that is unmanned.

Describing to drone operator if the flight being proposed will interfere with the schedule for the normal flights of the airport.

Give information to the operators on unusual or special activities that can occur around an airport during the proposed time for flying the craft. These activities include agricultural crafts that fly low, sky diving or even helicopters.

Ask the operator of the aircraft model to notify control facility for air traffic, in case there is the facility in the airport.

Inquiring the operator to notify all airports that are within the radius of about five miles.

Ensure that appropriate operations take place and permits are available. For instance; for an aircraft that is unmanned to be flown at airspace of class G, there has to be authorized by the controllers of air traffic (ATC) and prior notices to airport management.  Operation in class E, D, C, and B will require the airspace waiver, but not through a local tower or the operator of the airport, but through the federal aviation administration. Additionally, the federal aviation administration has a right to decline requests especially if operations may pose risks to NAS that are hard to prevent.

Terms used for the air traffic that is unmanned

Level that is very low; the craft that is unmanned should be at the height of not more than five hundred feet from the ground.

The visual line for sight of the aircraft; an aircraft that is unmanned should be seen at all times without employing the use of tools such as cameras or binoculars. This is so as to avoid collision with vehicles, people, vessels and other aircraft and to avoid ground construction.

The extended visual line for sight; there has to be authority to fly a craft at more than four hundred feet above level ground.

Beyond the line for sight; it is flying of an aircraft that is unmanned where the pilot of the drone can’t see it. This is usually for military reasons as the drones are sent to far places, miles away from the control center.

Beyond the Radio line sight; it is where there lacks a direct link for the aircraft and the ground station, and thus a relay form has to be used for the sake of contact between the station and aircraft. This has to be approved first.

Aerial system that is unmanned; it is an entire system of essential in drone use. That is the station on the ground and aircraft components. The components for the operating system like automatic landings, communication equipment, and launch equipment are classified here.

The aircraft system that is piloted remotely; it is a subgrouping of the aerial system that is unmanned. It describes the fact that a person will control an aerial vehicle from a remote location.

An aerial vehicle that is unmanned; it is the part of Unmanned Aerial System that is flown. It is also referred to as an aircraft that is unmanned or a drone.

A pilot station which is remote; it is the station located on the level ground from where the pilot steers an aircraft that is unmanned.

Aircraft systems that are unmanned and automatic: it is where an aircraft will fly following a route which is already predetermined and carries out activities that are already pre-programmed. Pre-programming can be done during flight or before the flight begins.

Aircraft systems that are autonomous and unmanned; it is the aircraft which will fly based on pre-programmed guidelines. Automatic decisions will be made based on pre-programmed activities. It will be a challenge for the pilot to adjust or make necessary corrections when the aircraft is on flight.

This is where drones are prohibited and this is where you are allowed to fly. The guide to drones reports that you should know the rules before you fly.

Both fly with ease and help society on a daily basis, drones and airplanes are two of the biggest industries in the world today. While planes have been around for longer, drones are quickly advancing. The main concern that civilians and pilots have in common is the likelihood that the two will collide in the skies.

Thinking about the amount of both airplanes and drones that exist in the world, the idea that they could crash is not one that is so far-fetched. As everyone is aware, airplanes must adhere to strict rules and no-fly zones when they operate. Every single flight that takes off is set to go on a specific path at a specific time.

Air traffic controllers are responsible for making sure that all planes take off and land safely, especially those that are made to transport people. While drone pilots also have to obey laws and zoning, their system just isn’t as advanced as the Federal Aviation Administration is with planes.

In the last few years, several bills were introduced for the purpose of better controlling drone activity. Many people have expressed concerns with privacy and fear that, because drones are so easy to fly into constricted spaces, it will be compromised. There is still much more regulating that needs to be done, though.

At this point in time, there has yet to be a serious collision between a drone and a plane. Even despite this, the FAA still continually receives complaints that are called in on a daily basis stating that drones are flying in restricted airspace. When a drone is spotted in the sky, even if it doesn’t pose any immediate danger, many people decide to call it in just to be safe.


Size Comparison

No matter the obligation of the aircraft, planes are always going to have the upper hand when it comes to size. Because of this, you would think that a drone would be no match for an airplane — This isn’t always true, though. Many drones are just the right size to be able to fit into a plane’s jet engine.

One of the most dangerous problems that an airplane can face while it is flying thousands of feet above the ground is the loss of an engine. This is what many fear could happen if drones are allowed to fly too close to planes. They would almost simply get swallowed whole.

Thinking about flying from the other perspective, drone operators normally have a good amount of control. Many drones are equipped with cameras that allow the remote pilot to see everything in real time. Because a drone is normally the size of a bird, avoiding an airplane while flying is a pretty easy task.

Of course, drones are denser than birds. The rigid materials that are used to create drones give them a sturdy exterior. This can cause a lot more damage to an aircraft than any collision with a bird.

Merging Technology

A goal for the future of drone flights is that they will eventually be controlled like airplanes, able to communicate with one another over a single frequency. While this option is available in some ways, there are no regulations that say all drone operators must do this. With everyone on the same page, the risk of accidents will be lowered.

Because the technology already exists, it is just a matter of the FAA focusing on a more modern version of the airspace. Still, some people fear that allowing this will create problems and too much crowding in the skies. There is also the common fear of complete loss of privacy, one that comes to the surface for many people at the mention of the word “drone.”


Known Crashes

Although none have been very serious, there are a handful of reported incidents that involve drones and planes. In Mexico last year, a DJI Inspire 2 collided with a plane — No one was injured. The 11-pound drone caused about $104,000 worth of damage to the plane, no small price tag.

Another incident happened last year that was a first for the commercial aircraft world: a drone in Canada collided with a plane. The crash happened over Quebec, and again, no one was hurt. The Prime Minister reported that the incident could have been way more serious, but they were lucky.

Even though the number of incidents is low for right now, the increasing number of drones that are reportedly seen each day will only lead to an even larger risk. The FAA gets around 100 sightings each month, and that number is expected to rise.




Researches have started to push for geo-fencing as a way to ensure that drones stay where they are supposed to. Think of this as something similar to an invisible fence for a dog, undetected, but generally effective. The request seems reasonable, but pilots have yet to be able to come to the same agreement.

Drone pilots want to be sure that they aren’t unfairly restricted. Flying a drone can serve many different purposes, just like flying a plane. Drones can be used for fun, to transport items, to take care of crops, and there are even plans to create drone ambulances that can help people.

With geo-fencing, there is some concern that drones will not be allowed to travel into spaces that they will eventually need to fly into. There has also been talking about programming drones to be able to detect planes, and to change their flight paths in order to avoid them automatically. This is a complicated task, one that is still in need of development.

Even if the technology is ready to go on these preventative measures, the problem is making sure that all devices are streamlined and on the same page. This is especially difficult due to the number of drones that are already out in the open, flying freely. Without revoking these existing models, it would be nearly impossible to ensure that every single drone is accounted for.

There are other developers who believe that drones “self-destruct” upon impact. Think about the cartoons that you used to watch when you were younger. If a drone happens upon a large entity, the idea is that the drone will begin to deconstruct in order to avoid damage.

This can be troublesome for many reasons, one being the danger involved when it comes to the explosion. Even the smallest blast can send parts ricocheting off into the distance. This can turn into its own problem, because the destruction will likely be hard to predict.

It can also be tough because many drones will likely get destroyed by false alarms. If the drone thinks that it is near a plane, but it is incorrect, the device would get destroyed for no reason. This would end up costing the drone pilot a lot of time and money in order to rebuild.

While the most practical solution is yet to be discovered, one thing is for sure — People are beginning to realize that the drone industry is not slowing down. If anything, it is advancing more quickly than ever before. And when something has the power and the capability that the drone industry has, it is important that safety is taken into consideration as the top priority.

Are drones really dangerous to airplanes?

Birds are more dangerous to aircraft than drones. kvoloshin/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND
Eli Dourado, George Mason University

Imagine boarding a plane. Economy class. There’s a kid behind you kicking the seat. You put on headphones and try to tune out the world. Immediately after takeoff, you feel a thud and hear an explosion over the sound of your music. The plane lurches. You look out the window at the plane’s engine and see fire and black smoke. Terrifying, right?

That’s the fear that animates the Federal Aviation Administration’s hostile approach to drone regulation. The agency, required by Congress to finalize permanent regulations of commercial drones under section 332 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act by September 2015, has missed that deadline. So far, the agency’s only efforts appear to be issuing rules under a more restrictive part of that law, section 333, intended to be in effect temporarily – until the FAA finished the final ones. And it has imposed a requirement that people register noncommercial “model aircraft,” a move criticized as onerous, and currently facing a court challenge.

But drones don’t pose much of a risk to traditional aviation. Though there is always a risk when you board a plane that an object will be ingested into an engine, our research shows that the problem is far more likely to be a bird than a drone.

Colliding with aircraft

There are on the order of 10 billion birds in U.S. airspace. Although efforts are made to keep them away from airports, where they pose the biggest threat, pilots, airlines, airports and others voluntarily reported 13,414 bird-aircraft collisions on the FAA’s dedicated wildlife strike website in 2014, split about equally between passenger jets and other aircraft including helicopters and small planes. Rarely, these collisions are serious enough to take out a jet engine. In 2014, birds were reported ingested into engines only 417 times, and only 112 of those reports indicated any damage to the aircraft.

A bird strike on an airliner causes engine failure.

Meanwhile, to date, no modern quadrocopter, commercial or otherwise, has ever collided with a manned aircraft in U.S. airspace. The FAA has raised the alarm about drones in the airspace, and now receives over 100 reports of unmanned aircraft flying near other manned aircraft or airports per month. However, as the Academy of Model Aeronautics has noted, many of these sightings do not reflect any danger to passengers. Analyzing 921 reported incidents, a study at Bard College found that in only 158 of them did a drone come within 200 feet of a manned aircraft. In only 28 incidents did pilots even decide to take evasive action.

Harming aircraft passengers

My colleague Sam Hammond and I extrapolate from wildlife strike data to estimate the danger that drones pose to manned aircraft and the people aboard them. We estimated how often drones will strike manned planes by assuming that drones are roughly equivalent to birds – that they are of similar size, and that drone operators are at least as able to avoid aircraft as birds are.

There are vastly more birds than drones in the U.S., and birds spend far more of their time aloft than battery-powered drones, which need to recharge and are often left unused for days at a time. However, we could calculate a frequency of aircraft strikes per hour of bird flight. Assuming the rate is the same for a drone, we estimate that drones are likely to collide with manned aircraft once every 374,000 years of drone operation.

Not all collisions cause damage to the aircraft, much less harm to people flying in it. We focused on 2-kilogram birds, because this is the weight being discussed as a possible threshold for a lighter class of drone regulation. About one in every five aircraft that hit a bird weighing around two kilograms experienced at least minor damage. There was at least one person injured in the collision for every 500 aircraft struck by a 2-kilogram bird.

In other words, if there were a million 2-kilogram drones operating in the airspace 24/7 with as much awareness of human aviation as birds possess, there would be an injury to a human passenger onboard a manned aircraft once every 187 years.

Teaching drone pilots to be responsible

So drones are safe if their operators have at least as much cognitive capacity as birds. It’s true that the dumbest humans may deliberately fly drones in the path of airliners. Enforcing prohibitions on this is difficult. To keep airspace safe, the FAA needs a two-pronged strategy of operator education and technological solutions to manage a more crowded airspace.

The agency has undertaken some educational efforts. For example, it partnered with AUVSI, a trade organization, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a hobbyist association, to create a website called Know Before You Fly, which provides accessible and easily comprehensible guidelines for safe and legal operation of drones.

The FAA also launched a dedicated smartphone app, B4UFLY, that uses the phone’s geolocation feature to inform the user of the restrictions on and requirements for flying a drone in the area.

Unfortunately, the app is laughably bad, currently receiving a 1-star rating on the iOS app store. The reviews complain of restrictions being erroneously reported for landing strips that have been out of service for years. Drone operators report being instructed to contact a control tower, but the app provides no phone number. Other times, users are told to contact completely unattended helipads.

The agency should prioritize giving operators accurate information about where they can and can’t fly, and it should provide users with a quality app experience so that they actually consult the app. The private sector has joined the effort. One such service compiling this type of information is AirMap, with a mobile-optimized website hobbyists can use to determine where they are not supposed to fly.

In addition to education, the agency should focus on short-run and long-run technological solutions to the problem of an increasingly crowded airspace. In the short run, a technology called “geofencing” is promising and has already been adopted by drone manufacturers such as DJI and 3D Robotics: drones are equipped with GPS and know to keep themselves out of places it is illegal for the drone to fly, such as near airports; in the Washington, D.C., area; in national parks; or near crowded stadiums.

Advancing airspace interconnections

In the longer run, the FAA should focus on modernizing airspace for the likelihood that even manned aviation will benefit from the technologies currently developing in the unmanned sector. While most “drones” are currently remote-controlled, the ultimate vision is that they will be autonomously piloted and communicate with each other to avoid collisions.

That same type of machine-to-machine communication and onboard computerized decision-making has the potential to greatly increase the safety of manned air transportation by eliminating pilot error.

To increase the safety of unmanned and manned aviation, as well as of the mixture of the two, the FAA should accelerate its plans to incorporate this new model of airspace management into the system. Engineering and field testing done by NASA is a great first step, but airspace modernization should be a central theme in the FAA’s approach to drone integration.

As our wildlife strike study shows, drones themselves aren’t the real threat. If the FAA wants to make American airspace safer and more conducive to innovation, it should leverage education and technology instead of outright prohibitions and unenforceable registration requirements.The Conversation

Eli Dourado, Director of Technology Policy Program and Research Fellow at Mercatus Center, George Mason University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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