The increased popularity and use of unmanned aircrafts vehicles (UAV) is becoming a focal point for both commercial and private pilots. Regulations on drones have been fairly lax through the FAA, although this is changing as more issues arise with airspace use for manned and unmanned vehicles. These changes will impact recreational UAV flyers as well as pilots, and are intended to provide better safety, especially for agricultural pilots.
Technology And Access
One of the larger issues that is faced with the technology being used in modern drones is the range of the UAV. Prior FAA regulations that applied to hobbyists and operators of remote aircraft have only taken into consideration the limited range that RF signals covers, and newer drones are presenting as larger aircraft that can also access higher altitudes and cover more ground. The result is that commercial and private small aircraft pilots are discovering more pronounced traffic and obstacles in the sky.
FAA reforms to the initial regulations are considering the size and the abilities of UAVs in order to provide increased strictures that will help to improve safety for pilots. This includes better radio communication as well as a cap on altitude for UAVs, so that drones will not interfere with lower flying aircraft, such as private planes and agricultural flyers.
Increased Use Of Airspace
Along with the popularity of UAVs for recreational and practical uses, small aircraft ownership and piloting is also on the rise. This has been highly sustained since the introduction of the PT6 engine in the early 1960s, as the innovative design of the turbine provides better power and control through a lighter weight turbine. The result is that smaller private planes became more financially available to private pilots, and commercial fleets could also utilize these fuel efficient engines in light planes.
As UAVs have increased their ability and range, the further development and refinement of the original PT6 turbines have also increased the abilities of small aircraft. Greater speed and better fuel consumption provide the basis for longer flights, and this also contributes to the increased traffic in US airspace. In this way, the progress of technology has also become an indicator for progress in regards to how this traffic is regulated.
Safety In The Air
Although the current FAA reformations to rules for flying UAVs have made a significant impact on air safety, it is expected that changes will continue to evolve with the technical innovations. This will end up becoming dictated both by the abilities of smaller aircraft and of drones, but active attention to the issue is also expected to result in positive change.