CBS reports that the number of drones piloted by regular Americans has taken off in recent years. The Federal Aviation Administration predicts by 2022, there will be 2.4 million drones, and over 300,000 remote pilots — many of them children.
Zamiyah Williams is assembling her own tiny drone, complete with batteries and LED lights. “I like to build them and fly them,” said the 4th grader.
Any drone weighing over about a half-pound has to be registered with the FAA.
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Williams is part of a class run by Global Air Media in Baltimore that teaches drone assembly, flying techniques and safety.
In recent years drone ownership has skyrocketed as the cost of the technology has plummeted.
“The same drones that professionals are flying today, some of these kids are getting these drones for Christmas, for birthdays. And they haven’t had the same level of training as the adults,” said Eno Umoh with Global Air Media.
Safety is not just on the minds of these kids and their parents. It’s also on the FAA’s radar. The FAA has created short, animated videos starring buzzy the drone to remind kids they need to be able to actually see their drone while it’s flying, keep it away from airports and below 400 feet.
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In January, a drone shut down Newark Liberty International Airport after a pilot reported it came within feet of the plane he was about to land. A month earlier more than 100,000 passengers were stranded at London’s Gatwick Airport after a pair of drones flew into the airspace.
A recent study showed the potentially severe impact of a drone crashing into the wing of a small plane. Those are the kind of scenarios drone safety teachers are trying to prevent.
They hope “throttling up” on the guidance now will help students become safer pilots later.
Source: WCAX 3