Tricia Braid

Dec 23, 2014  |  Today's News

Unmanned Aerial Systems or Vehicles, also known as drones, are at the top of many people’s Christmas list. In fact, some high dollar drone prototypes were stolen from a store in California earlier this week, proving their growing worth to hobbyists and others. Farmer interest in the technology comes from a business standpoint, though, and hobby fliers may be endangering the availability of the technology in the future. Illinois Corn considered language regarding drone use on farms in the policy session last month.

National Corn Growers Association policy reads, “Support Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology as a tool for farmers to manage their farm operation for production and research.”

That’s important as thousands of drones are expected to hit the skies post-Christmas this year.

The Federal Aviation Association, in partnership with industry, have kicked off a public awareness campaign designed to teach users how to appropriately handle the vehicles in the sky. Such common sense notions of avoiding aircraft and not endangering people on the ground seem to be eluding more and more people.

“This is an issue of growing concern,” Michael Huerta, the FAA administrator, told reporters. “This newer and more powerful technology is affordable to more people, yet many are not familiar with the rules of flying.”

The FAA named their campaign “Know Before You Fly.”  They’ve provided videos instructing people how to “stay off the naughty list” when playing with their new gifts.

Three key points: don’t fly drones above 400 feet, within five miles of an airport or near a stadium.