Forbes published an awesome article discussing the actual threat drones pose on air travel and what you need to know.
Gatwick, Heathrow, Newark, Dubai and today, Dublin: Each of these airports has been in the news recently when flights were halted or delayed by sightings of what were believed to be drones in the area.
So how big a threat is this? Are drones a danger to manned aircraft?
With 1.3 million drones now registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), up from about 470,000 in 2016 when drone registration was first required, anyone can see that there are more drones in the air than ever before. While a small percentage of these drones are operated for commercial purposes by FAA-certified remote pilots, the vast majority are operated by hobbyists for fun and recreation. Hobbyist pilots are required to fly under the safety guidance of a model aircraft organization, like the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and they have to keep their drones in sight, below 400 feet, and out of airspace meant for passenger-carrying airplanes. Commercial drone pilots have to know and abide by similar rules, but unlike hobbyists, they have to take an FAA test to prove it.
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Because there is currently no test for recreational drone pilots, the FAA, the AMA, and a regular alphabet soup of companies and organizations have tried to make sure that drone operators know the rules before they fly. DJI, the market leader in consumer drones, has included a knowledge quiz that pilots must take before they can unlock their new drones and fly. Predictably, the answers are on YouTube, but operators still have to read and answer the questions. But as anyone who has slowed down when seeing a police car knows, knowing the rules doesn’t mean always obeying them. Drone manufacturers are aware of this, and try to use software solutions to keep drones away from the areas they don’t belong. DJI and other companies uses ‘geofences’, which alert pilots if their drones are in areas that are off-limits. In some cases, the geofences prevent drones from flying at all. Continue reading about the drones threat on air travel.