Obama Administration And Congress May Be On The Verge Of Acting On Commercial Drone Regulations

January 2nd, 2015

DJIPhantomEveryone, except some commercial pilots, think that the FAA has been too slow to take action on proposing long-awaited rules for commercial drone operations. It is well known that the FAA will not make their September 2015 deadline for regulations.

According to a recent article over at the

Every year the ban (of commercial drones) remains in place, the United States loses more than $10 billion in potential economic benefits that drones could provide, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group…

“We need some sort of process that allows some of the low-risk operations,” said Jesse Kallman, the head of regulatory affairs for Airware, a drone technology company backed by Google Ventures. “I think Congress understands that, and hopefully they’ll take steps in the coming year to address that.”

That appears to be what some key lawmakers have in mind. “We in Congress are very interested in UAS,” Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said at a hearing this month, referring to unmanned aerial systems, or drones. “We understand UAS are an exciting technology with the potential to transform parts of our economy. … It is our responsibility to take a close look.”

On the other hand, the point of view of the many airline pilots is expressed by 737 Captain Ben Berman:

As a (Boeing) 737 captain, I’ll be damned if myself and 178 other people are taken down by a 12-pound or a 50-pound or a 150-pound piece of metal coming through my windshield,” said Ben Berman at a recent forum hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association. “There are too many near misses occurring every day like this.”

It’s a tough job taking care of this issue to the satisfaction of everyone, but it is important that the US make significant, meaningful progress on this issue soon (as in 2015) or the current chaos will just escalate! The FAA is not providing good leadership, let’s hope someone stands up and exerts some leadership on this issue!

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6 Responses to “Obama Administration And Congress May Be On The Verge Of Acting On Commercial Drone Regulations”

  • As an airline Captain as well, I whole hardly agree with Captain Berman’s comments. If that were to happen, the results would be catastrophic not only for the aircraft, but for the small drone industry as well. However, the longer the FAA takes to implement some defined regulations that allow commercial operations, the more the regulations will be blatantly violated. It’s just the way it is.

    We will see operators using small drones (I prefer to call them quadcopters) beyond recreational use increasing. With little chance of being caught, the temptation will be hard to resist. The financial rewards will overcome the safety issue. Certainly, a given quadcopter pilot can exercise prudence, be well trained and cause no safety issue to the airlines, but its clear they are few – and the rest, they will keep crashing into things and hopefully one of them will not be an airline on final approach.

  • DJI Phantoms have maps build in, so even if someone tries to take off too close to the airport or fly into an area like an airport, etc that are prohibited for drone flying, it will not fly there. It will either not take off or will lend before it enters those areas.
    Also, how high they fly can be easily controlled automatically, so it will not fly over 400″ above ground in any areas.
    Doesn’t this pretty much takes care of the safety when it comes to safety for the airplanes and helicopters?
    Why not just just make this mandatory for the manufactures of these drones?

    Of course if someone wants to modify it, they will find the way, but…. in the same manner someone can drive a car at $140 Mph… .

  • I’m mostly concerned with the safety, security and privacy issues involved in mass market drone use. I wonder how relevant an aerial RE shoot is for the market on average.

  • Was it mentioned at one time that Canada has common sense laws already in place or almost ready? If so would that not be a good starting place for us and save a lot of time from trying to reinvent the wheel?

  • Unfortunately, the US has no common sense laws. We criminalized, penalized and/or taxed common sense to death years ago 😉

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