The tension between airlines and drone manufacturers is heating up as the sky is getting crowded with the gadgets. A recently released video is the reason why aviation lobbyist groups are demanding an increase in the regulation of the non-military drones. The video that went viral shows a drone which is flying dangerously close to a passenger plane in the Las Vegas. The drone was flying within 10 feet of the plane while it was in the process of landing at McCarren International Airport.
The event has spurred groups like the Air Line Pilots Association, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and Airlines for America to issue a statement that points out to the safety weaknesses on how the FAA is currently treating the drones. The statement they gave states, “Small drones are very difficult to visually acquire by pilots in flight or by air traffic controllers in the tower, and small drones do not currently have electronic anti-collision technologies that are compatible with airline collision avoidance systems.”
If all the drones are equipped with anti-collision technology, the commercial planes can take some necessary evasive actions. The statements call for enhanced FAA controls on the drones. “The likelihood that a drone will collide with an airline aircraft is increasing. By providing the FAA with the full authority to regulate all UAS operations, the safety of passenger and cargo flights will be protected.”
The Drone Manufacturers Alliance (DMA) consists of companies like DJI, 3D Robotics, GoPro, and Parrot. They have not issued any response to the Las Vegas video so far. They released a statement after the Hawaiian crash incident between a helicopter and a drone. In the statement, the organization said that they, “emphasizes that all drone pilots must follow laws and regulations about drone flights to keep the skies safe.”
Instead of equipping drones with new pieces of technology that can avoid the crashes, the DMA is preferring that they monitor the drones remotely through the local broadcast technology. The FAA is also agreeing with them so far. It is hard to tell the future of drones if more incidents like Las Vagas’ occur frequently.