While drones have opened up the skies to film makers, hobbyist, and even for public services, the mass proliferation of such devices is turning out to be a major hazard for aircrafts. In a recent statement released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, pilots had reported sighting more than 650 such unmanned aircrafts in their vicinity from the beginning of 2015 till August 9th alone. A steep rise from 238 sightings in the whole of 2014.
The report goes onto say that firefighters were even forced to suspend operations in fighting wildfire blazes in the western part of the country due to sightings of drones in their immediate vicinity.
While the FAA has stressed that unauthorised usage of such aircraft may be subject to stiff fines and criminal charges, the organisation is yet to pass drone-specific regulations as of now.
Earlier this year a drone user sparked outrage and concern amongst enthusiasts and airport officials alike when images taken from a drone, which was following an aircraft on its landing approach at KLIA, was posted online. The images raised concern regarding the dangers of operating an unmanned aircraft in a crowded airspace. Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation issued a statement shortly after the incident that flying unauthorised drones or UAVs in the vicinity of airports constitutes an offence under the Civil Aviation Act of 1969, while there are yet to be any legislation in limiting the allowable height restrictions of such aircraft.
One thing is for sure, drones are here to stay and they are getting more advanced by the year. It is only a question if authorities can draft proper parameters and legislation to enable a peaceful coexistence between new remotely operated unmanned drones and those aircrafts that already occupy the skies.