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FAA Urges Small Drone Pilots To Wear Vests

Seeking to boost "public awareness" of legal small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) operations, the U.S. FAA is urging sUAS pilots to wear reflective safety vests when flying their aircraft. "By taking this simple action, sUAS [pilots] can demonstrate that they are accepting responsibility for the activity and that they are intending to operate in a safe and compliant manner," the FAA said in a newly released safety information for operators bulletin. ( More...

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Ken Mitchell 8
Will the FAA also encourage drone pilots to wear silly hats as well? Because neither a hat nor a vest will actually cause drone operators to BEHAVE properly.....
Dan Grelinger 2
I disagree. Being identifiable is clearly an incentive to behave properly. Why do you think many who are not behaving properly attempt to conceal their identity.
The only issue I have is it drawing unwanted attention. Most of my flights I have a vest because I work with construction and industrial firms which require PPE including vests when on site. The problem is when you're out flying around and people want to come talk and distract you from the task at hand. No ill is meant by it, they just want to see what the drone thing is all about. My hope is the enforcement will step up on rogue operators as the LAANC system goes online, thus freeing up some people from approving commercial flight authorizations and cracking down on the idiot flights.
captleo 2
linbb 5
Does nothing but say that they have a vest on does nothing towards operating them properly just like those wearing them as a work requirement makes them work safer.
It’s so they can identify a drone operator quicker for law enforcement reasons only
Bernie20910 2
Or vigilante "justice".
dbaker 2
I wear an orange vest. I keep my shotgun shells in it.
ADXbear 2
All based on voluntary compliance which was never established from the start, he vast majority of people flying drones have no intention of following FAA "anything", they have no idea of the rules not care for the most part.. The horse is out of the barn, toothpaste out of the tube as they say, too late to fix it now. Big Big oversight on allowing these drones to be manufactured without more regulation beforehand.
Bernie20910 5
Considering that the vast majority of them are manufactured in China, "Big Brother" had no say in their manufacture to begin with. Training and licensing before being allowed to purchase, and serial numbering and registration of each unit is where the ball was dropped.
breezyjr 1
I would not say, "A vast majority" in relation to people flying within the rules... I'd say, as someone in the hobby, the vast majority of us fly within the rules...
Dan Grelinger 1
My observation is that anyone truly "in the hobby" of anything are more than likely going to know the rules and follow them. The problem is the very large number of drone owners who have no intention of taking their flying (and responsibilities) seriously enough to truly join "the hobby", get educated about the flying restrictions that apply to unmanned model aircraft, and commit to them. The same thing happened to GPRS radio frequencies. Wnen the equipment was not so cheap and easy to get, the users mostly followed the rules. When the radios became cheap and easily available, people NOT "in the hobby" bought them and made little if any effort to know and conform with the federal laws required for the use of the equipment.
Bernie20910 2
There are entirely too many members of the public, some of them members of this very site, who think it is entirely appropriate and legal to shoot down drones. Some of them even argue that ANY drone could be part of an ISIS attack, so that justifies shooting them down whenever and wherever, as part of homeland defense. Yeah, all this would do is put a target on the back of the operator for them. I'll wear an identifying vest when flying my drones AFTER you round up these kooks and ensure they are no longer a danger to anyone.
Bernie, in some cases, wearing a vest is not a bad thing because most times I pull off the traveled roadways to perform photography. However, after the comments posted here in a previous article, I am not so sure I want to be highly visible so as to become the target of some shotgun happy person.
Bernie20910 1
My point exactly.
Dan Grelinger 2
Your logic is flawed. If you can insist that you will do the right thing after others do the right thing, and everyone else follows your lead, then no one does the right thing.

Operating an unmanned aerial vehicle is a privilege, not a right. If it is necessary to insist on pilots of all aircraft to be identifiable in order to curtail illegal behavior, then so be it. Protesting just puts you on the side of law breakers, not law abiders. Leave the dark side! Come to the good side!
Sometimes I wonder if there is a rule that if you attempt to obtain a pilot's license, the background check includes an investigation which disqualifies a person automatically if they have ever taken Econ 101 or ran any kind of business.

Commercial drones fill a gaping hole in the imaging industry (what used to be called photography). They supply an important commercial need which you guys can never satisfy. So get over yourselves.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who has made the commitment and investment to fly an airplane or helo. And it's true that the 107 test is a joke. But (the overwhelming majority of) commercial drone operators follow the rules and understand the life and death necessity of doing so. We're just adding a feature to our businesses that clients demand.

A giant step forward will occur when the FAA's LAANC program emerges from beta. But admittedly it will not prevent my unlicensed, unregistered counterparts who are idiots from flying irresponsibly.

This isn't going to do anything to help stop the moronic operation of drones by hobbyists. I took the "test" the second day it was available. It was a joke. That said, the issue is with about 5% of the commercial operators and 99.99999% of the "hobbyists". I'm not putting other's lives, my equipment or livelihood at risk, but others don't care. They feel they are owed the same respect as a 747. Tracking, registration and serial numbers are the only way to go. As well as operational limitations on over the counter drones to 400' like the commercial operators. You're not gaining anything to go over 400' unless you're a commercial operator inspecting a wind turbine, tower, chimney or building.
AAaviator 0
And then you should have a big “Scarlet Letter” embroidered on the vest!
Is some flunky lawyer behind this?
It reminds me of the compulsory product language you find on a snowblower, warning the home owner that the snow blower is not to be used on the roof. (And that is an actual warning!)
Dan Grelinger 1
Why do you consider this to be a problem? When a pilot is piloting a manned aircraft, he is readily identifiable as the pilot. When someone is driving a car, they are readily identifiable as the driver. And these are good things as they identify responsibility. Given that the pilot of an unmanned aerial vehicle is not readily identifiable, why is it wrong to provide the same type of identification as in these other common scenarios. It would seem that only those NOT wanting to be held responsible for their actions would complain.
DaveRK 1
"...piloting a manned aircraft, he is readily identifiable as the pilot"
Yep he's the one (at least) sitting behind the controls.

"...someone is driving a car, they are readily identifiable as the driver".
Yep he's the one behind the steering wheel.

You're not likely to see a drone operator always close to what he's controlling, there-in lies a problem.
Dan Grelinger 1
Aren't the vast majority of drone operations required to be line-of-sight, i.e. the operator must be in sight of the drone? If so, I don't understand your problem.
DaveRK 1
Line-of-sight from the operator to the drone is one thing.

My problem (besides your comment) was the goof that saw my drone over public land, NOT over his property. Who didn't see me (do to the trees on his property) come outside and yell "I'm going to shoot whoever is flying that f***'ing piece of s*** near my property, I have rights".

I replied "I'm on public land, not flying over your property and speaking of rights I use my 2nd amendment rights.
He got the idea and calmed down.

Too many people these days do not think...period.
Dan Grelinger 0
I certainly agree that many people do not think before speaking or acting.

My point was that your objection to the pilot being made identifiable, that is he was not going to be close to what he's controlling, does not make sense. Unless he is illegally operating his drone (without special FAA authorization), the line-of-sight requirements, see-and-avoid requirements, and altitude restrictions, while not absolutely guaranteeing that someone who sees the drone will see the pilot, make it very likely. And in the case the pilot is not immediately visible, a vest would make him much more so if it was necessary for someone to identify the drone pilot.
DaveRK 0
Where did I "object"?
I only pointed-out the flawed logic in wearing a vest.

I do not believe wearing a "vest" will make a difference.
Dan Grelinger 0
Saying that a solution won't work would seem to be an objection. If you were to support a solution that you don't believe would work, that would be crazy.

Being identifiable always causes people to be more responsible. Ask radio operators. Those that identify themselves are much more responsible than those that don't. Or protestors; those that hide their identity act more irresponsibly. It's human nature.
DaveRK 0
I've been a radio operator for more years than I care to admit.

I'm not going to debate this with you Dan, it's clear you simply enjoy the back & forth.

I'm outta here.
Dan Grelinger 0
And it is clear to me that you don't like to have your opinion challenged.
Jim Groebner 0
I always wear my special hat. It has a spinning propeller top.
Yes, make anyone flying a drone wear a vest, but don't dare say that allowing someone to carry a concealed weapon is a bad idea. Someone excersizing their second amendment rights is far more dangerous than someone flying a toy. Maybe we should require anyone flying a kite to wear a flashing hat and a sign that says,"If snything goes wrong, blame me"
Hey, maybe making anyone carrying a gun wear a warning sign would reduce the amount of shootings. Keep coming up with the ideas Big Brother, I mean Uncle Sam.
What are they going to say about the drones designed to fly themselves as property security? There's a new system being sold by Black & Decker called Sunflowers that sends a security drone to check out an Intruder on your property and send the images to your monitor in the house. I can just see a concerned and maybe armed property owner going outside to deal with them putting on his Reflective Vest so the Intruders can easily see them.
Dan Grelinger 1
Your post is untrue, "fake news". There is no such product being sold today. If you want to say "hypothetically", then that would be accurate. But if you want to be credible, stay with what is true rather than making up fiction.
Simple Google Search: SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunflower Labs and Stanley Black & Decker announced today a strategic partnership that will allow Stanley Black & Decker and Sunflower Labs to work together on new and innovative security solutions.

The Sunflower Home Awareness System combines outdoor sensors with an aerial camera for a full view of what's going on around your home, resulting in a more complete picture of activity and fewer false alarms common with current home systems.

"Security is more than locks and alarms, it's about understanding what's happening on your property at all times," said Alex Pachikov, Sunflower Labs CEO. "We're thrilled to have a partner in Stanley Black and Decker, the world's second largest commercial electronic security provider, who shares that belief."

"Sunflower Labs is pairing the state of the art in sensor and quadcopter technology to bring insightful security to property owners, giving them better context into activity on their grounds and providing real time verification of events," said Larry Harper, Vice President Stanley Ventures. "We look forward to working with them to bring this innovation to market and to broadening the application of their technologies into the commercial security market."

When an owner installs Sunflower Smart Lights™ around the property, the system's sensors learn the pattern of normal activity. When unusual activity is detected, the Sunflower Flying Camera is deployed, sending an alert and streaming video to the Sunflower app on the owner's smartphone to provide a holistic picture of the situation.
Dan Grelinger 1
Announcing a strategic partnership is not "being sold". Show that you are reasonable by correcting your erroneous posting.

If you are aware of FAA federal regulations, you will know that deploying such a system would be currently illegal. Which is probably a reason they are not "being sold."
Yes Dan,
You are so "right" and I humbly retract my egregious error because that's soooooo important and maybe having a little imagination and a sense of humor about how government's rules have sometimes weird consequences is not.
Dan Grelinger 1
I'm sorry, I did not understand it to be a humorous and imaginative post. Since there was some actual basis to this idea, i.e. some companies are trying to develop the technology, I took it more seriously than you intended.

On the subject of Black and Decker / Sunflower's ideas, they will run into a similar problem that Amazon has with respect to the legal issues of self piloted aircraft. They may have an easier go at it because their drones can be very small and light, such that the FAA may be convinced as to their harmlessness if they go awry.

And if truly pilotless, there would be need for the homeowner to don a vest! :-)
dicky11 1
I see where someone has said that the FAA "Info 17018" has been rescinded. From article in AIN.


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