By Bryan Rush
Drones are unbelievably cool.
I’m truly amazed every time I see a drone being sold with four perfectly engineered propellers, HD cameras, incredible flight range, futuristic controls, all for around $100. It’s no wonder drones are becoming more and more popular and more and more capable.
They have been positively integrated into law enforcement, agriculture, real estate, surveying and even package delivery. For safety’s sake, we must still be cautious of where these amazing machines are operated.
Over the holiday, drone operators delayed and temporarily shut down Gatwick Airport, one of the United Kingdom’s second busiest international airports. Drones were flown on the airport dangerously close to aircraft and runways. This caused a total shutdown of departures and arrivals until the drones and their operators could be located and stopped.
If an aircraft collides with a drone of any size it may be enough to cause a serious crash and loss of human life. Unfortunately, about 110,000 passengers were negatively influenced by these dangerous drone flights. An estimated 10,000 passengers’ travel plans were immediately hampered by the delays and cancellations.
Local law enforcement and the military were deployed to find the operators of the drones to arrest them, seize their drones and press applicable charges. This event can serve as a reminder of the caution that should be exercised when operating your drone.
Included are some applicable rules to follow to help keep you and other aircraft safe during flight:
— Fort Leonard Wood is a No Drone Zone, meaning no drone use is authorized on the installation
— Your drone must be registered at faadronezone.faa.gov if it weighs more than 0.55 pounds
— Download the FAA’s B4UFLY App for Apple or Android Devices. It will inform you of the locations authorized and not authorized for drone flight
— Fly your drone at or below 400 feet in Uncontrolled Airspace
— Never fly near airports, aircraft, restricted or special use airspace, Washington, D. C., stadiums or sporting events
Remember, no drone use is authorized on Fort Leonard Wood.
We hope you enjoy your drone in the authorized areas and follow the applicable rules.
Fort Leonard Wood airspace managers are more than willing to speak with flight enthusiasts on matters of aviation, airspace operations and safety.
For questions contact the Forney Airfield tower at 573.596.7193.
(Editor’s note: Rush is an air traffic controller at Forney Airfield control tower.)