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Drone Usage Itself Under Watch

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 10:31 PM

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UAS with camera (image provided by Cleveland Aerial Media)

As businesses consider new ways to commercialize drones, individuals also are toying with them more, especially as they become cheaper. That’s raising safety and regulatory concerns in some quarters. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports.

Last weekend, Springfield police charged a drone hobbyist with a felony for obstructing official business.  They say the operator refused to land his drone as a medical helicopter neared the scene of a traffic accident.  He disputes the charge. 

Among those closely watching the case is Michael Hach, the CEO of a Cleveland company that offers real estate and surveying services, using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

“Because right now, flying a UAS is legal for recreational and commercial use,” he says.

Hach is concerned that the careless actions of a few could lead to overly tight regulations for others.  He says his company adheres to guidelines established by the FAA. 

“For example, we don’t come within five miles of an airport, and we always fly below 400 feet,” says Hach. “And we have a set of guidelines that we personally use separate from the FAA such as a pre-flight checklist to make sure we’re safe.  Usually there’s one person who flies, and the other person has a separate controller for the camera.”

Some states are considering laws that would limit commercial and private uses of drones. 

Colorado prohibits use of them as a tool in hunting; Illinois bans using them to harass hunters. 

And a bill pending in Ohio would regulate the use of drones by law enforcement.

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Economy, Regional Economy/Business - Analysis and Trends, Community/Human Interest, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement, Science, Technology

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