FAA regulations won’t diminish danger of drones
The Federal Aviation Administration announced its long-awaited regulations for unmanned recreational aerial drones and model airplanes this week. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see how they will do much to diminish the growing problem of irresponsible drone pilots flying their aircraft dangerously close to commercial jets and airports, including San Diego’s Lindbergh Field.
Earlier this week, an analysis released by Bard College said that from Dec. 17, 2013, to Sept. 12 of this year, there were at least 241 encounters between drones and manned aircraft that met the FAA definition of a near-collision, including 14 in San Diego.
The FAA has long been concerned about the potential for disaster and has long been studying what to do about it, particularly with the fast-growing popularity of toy drones. The agency estimates that 1.6 million hobbyist drones will be sold this year, half of them in the last three months of the year.
The FAA had already banned drones from flying within 5 miles of an airport and at altitudes higher than 400 feet. The new regulations merely require the registration of all drones on an FAA website that will be ready Dec. 21 and that drones be marked with that registration number.
That seems little more than annoyance for drone and model airplane owners. It is unlikely to decrease the danger in increasingly crowded skies.