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AOPA and the new aircraft in the sky: Drones

In recent years, the aviation community has grown significantly with the arrival of a new group: Drone pilots. From existing pilots who are now enjoying new ways to take to the skies to thousands of new pilots who are getting their first taste of flight thanks to drones, the opportunities, excitement, and challenges are hard to ignore.

Drones are the fastest growing segment in aviation and now represent tens of thousands of pilots flying aircraft from small systems operated for fun to large drones used to patrol, record, observe, inspect and many other missions across the country. AOPA, the largest community of pilots in the world, welcomes these new pilots and continues to fulfill the mission of promoting and growing an aviation community that operates safely and lets everyone who looks to the sky enjoy their kind of aviation.

Drones have brought our community a new way to enjoy the benefits and perspective only available to those who fly. Many of us enjoy the fun and creativity that drones enable. Yet the value of these new innovations goes far beyond just having fun. Economists predict drones will bring 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact  over the next decade.

AOPA’s role in this new aviation segment is to bring the industry and operators safely into the airspace and provide the guidance, training, and support to ensure that the new pilots can enjoy their aircraft, use them effectively for their missions, and operate safely among all other aircraft.

AOPA is at the heart of the freedom to fly for everyone who loves to fly. Regardless of the aircraft they choose. Safely including drone operations within our airspace means ensuring that all pilots have the appropriate level of aeronautical knowledge and are using technology at their disposal to operate their aircraft safely. 

In partnership with the industry and other organizations in the drone space, AOPA will continue to maintain leadership in ensuring that all pilots, regardless of their aircraft, are safe, well trained, and able to enjoy their aircraft.

We are all pilots who love to fly, in an exciting time when the pilot community is growing by the thousands. Let’s make sure we all fly well, and fly safely. 

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