A group of 10 aerospace organizations in Europe this week banded together in a rallying call to legislators and governing bodies throughout the region, listing in detail their argument that all small drones should be required to be registered by an international governing body. In their openly published letter, the groups cited lack of awareness about safety and proper operation of drone equipment as well as general negligence and lack of enforcement surrounding current, scarce legal restrictions on drones less than 150 kilograms.
Further, these organizations published a detailed 7-step plan on how to properly address the current situation. First, they plan for an extensive public awareness campaign to spread concepts on general safety, liabilities, responsibilities and insurance requirements. Next, there is a call for legislative action requiring the registration of all drones, citing that registration will aid in the encouragement and enforcement of new safety requirements. Finally, owners and operators would need to obtain proper training and certification in order to operate the drone. This requirement would be in place for all drones larger than 250 grams. The groups also detail the importance of performance limitations, the need for further research on the effects of and dangers of drones flying in airspace used by manned aircraft, and the integration of drones into the National Model Aircraft Flying Regulations and the need for further research on the effects and dangers of drones flying in airspace used by manned aircraft.
This event echoes the similar scenario that just unfolded here in the US: on August 29, 2016, the FAA officially updated and incremented Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule as Part 107 of Federal Aviation Regulations. This rule requires operating limitations on drones weighing less than 55 pounds and also creates new legislation requiring specific certification of all operators of these drones, albeit with considerably less stringent standards than what is necessary to become a recreational or private pilot.
Overall, this event furthers the recognition and development of unmanned aircraft systems as the newest member of the A&D family. While many view these rules as restricting and enforcing what is largely a pastime, the importance of this legislation must be recognized. UAS has potential applications that many individuals and corporations are only starting to fully understand, and in order to properly grow and develop those applications efficiently, legislation and public awareness that protects developers, enthusiasts and the public.