Aircraft Accidents and a Non-Solution

In continuation from last week, I notice that the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) versus FAA controversy has geared up again; it is one thing to fight about valid points, but another to drive the same inept argument over and over again.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) began including literature in their model kits that speak to the proper safe operating of model drones; let me say that the intent is noble, but in my opinion, toothless.
In the seventies and eighties, the move to regulate cigarette use dictated that all cigarette packs – by law – must have a warning label printed on the side of each pack spelling out the dangers of smoking. It had the effect of all legislation – little to no. It wasn’t until the late nineties into the early 2000s that rules banning smoking in trains, planes, restaurants, etc. had a supreme impact on smokers, making the habit so mundane that it was easier – and cheaper – to seek nicotine patches to quit smoking.
Now I’m not recommending regulating drones to death; I am a great believer in entrepreneurship. I am also not suggesting that people should NOT be allowed to enjoy model flying. But let’s put in perspective why AMA’s literature idea won’t work: drones have the ability to be employed with catastrophic results; that is a fact, not an opinion.
The safe operation of drones in the aviation system where ingestion in an airliner’s engine; the drawing into a main rotor; or the improper violation of privacy cannot be ‘taught’ using a pamphlet that is thrown away with the UAV’s package wrapping.
No, this is something that must be taught and impressed upon the average model flyer, as well as the professional, looking to use these devices for UNLIMITED – I repeat, UNLIMITED (out of visual range) – operation. Money will have to be spent in proper education, foolproof tracking equipment, and software that will prevent the operator’s drone from being hijacked in flight. Unfortunately, the term, “You play, you pay” must be employed for true safe operation and enjoyment. The danger to others – just like second hand smoke – must be the driving force behind education and regulation.

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