AOPA has joined the “Know Before You Fly” campaign that seeks to educate users of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) about safe and responsible operations, including where and how high unmanned aircraft may be flown.
AOPA has frequently raised its own concerns over the growing and unregulated number of UAS, commonly called drones, and the potential for collisions with aircraft. It has pressed the FAA to adopt guidelines for UAS operators. The FAA on Feb. 15 did propose a first set of operating rules for UAS under 55 pounds.
“Know Before You Fly” has been organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Small UAV Coalition.
The campaign will work through manufacturers and distributors to inform consumers and business users of unmanned aircraft about what they need to know before taking to the skies. The effort will include a digital and social media campaign, point of sale materials, and pamphlets for participating manufacturers to include with their products.
The founding organizations hope the campaign will reduce the incidence of unsafe and/or unauthorized operations, and help ensure the safety of the skies for all aircraft, both manned and unmanned. More information can be found online.
AOPA will support the campaign by emphasizing UAS education and providing access to materials on UAS safety and operational guidelines. UAS operations will also be included in AOPA air safety discussions.
“We fully support any program that helps educate the users of UAS systems,” said George Perry, AOPA’s Air Safety Institute senior vice president. “UAS are here to stay and we can only expect to see more of them in the coming years. It’s vitally important that users understand how to integrate into airspace safety without posing a risk to those on the ground or in the air.”
As always, AOPA government affairs specialists will continue to represent the interests of general aviation in discussions with the FAA and UAS operators.