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Are drones an aviation accident waiting to happen?

Drones have been making the news in recent months, first for their privacy concerns and now because they may present a serious safety risk to air travel. Businesses are not allowed to fly drones unless they request an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration. Anyone using a drone for commercial reasons must also obtain a waiver, but hobbyists are legally allowed to fly drones with very little oversight because the laws have not caught up to the technology.

Because of their increased affordability, more and more drones are making their way into the hands of Arizona residents, and this could present a problem for both commercial and recreational flights across the state. According to the FAA, there were 193 drone incidents reported in from Feb. 22 to Nov. 11, and there were 41 reports from pilots seeing drones while operating an aircraft in October alone.

Drones have been spotted over several college campuses, including Arizona State University, and a few pilots have reported having to alter their flight courses to avoid hitting the drone. While there are currently very few regulations in place for drone use and how it affects flight travel, the FAA is expected to address this issue soon in an update to its rules.

While most drone encounters are uneventful for those in aircraft, there is always the possibility that an accident could occur due to the drone itself or evasive action taken by the pilot. Discussing the particulars of the incident with an attorney who deals with aviation accident cases on a regular basis is the first step to finding out more about your options.

Source: Fox 8, "Drones are almost crashing into planes" Nov. 29, 2014

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