WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A new holiday themed video released by the Federal Aviation Administration uses a “Do” and “Don’t” premise to instruct children how to “stay off the naughty list” as they play with unmanned aircraft gifts this year.
The FAA message released along with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and the Small UAV Coalition a naughty or nice theme to encourage kids receiving drones as gifts to visit the knowbeforeyoufly.org website before flying the drones outside.
“It’s that time of year when kids of all ages will receive presents for the holidays,” begins the video, playing Christmas music and displaying gifts under a tree. “Many will be excited when they unwrap the box and find an unmanned aircraft.”
“How do you stay off the naughty list?”
The video displays a “Do” and “Don’t” list for how new drone owners can “have fun” with the unmanned machines and avoid flying them into illegal airspace or into harm’s way.
“Do fly your unmanned aircraft below 400 feet, Don’t fly your unmanned aircraft beyond line of sight,” the video recommends. “Do fly with local clubs, Don’t fly near airports or any manned aircraft.”
The list continues: “Do take a lesson before you fly, Don’t fly near people or stadiums. Do inspect your aircraft before you fly, Don’t fly anything more than 55 lbs.”
“Do fly for fun! Don’t fly for payment or commercial purposes – unless specifically authorized by the FAA.”
“Don’t be careless or reckless, you could be fined if you endanger people or other aircraft.”
The FAA granted Hollywood filmmakers permission to fly drones on movie sets in September – a move that opened the door for commercial drone flights across the country. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that those “companies are blazing a trail,” and that the agency was “thoroughly satisfied” that such operations would “not pose a hazard to other aircraft or to other people and property on the ground.”
But documents and emails obtained by The Washington Post showed that senior officials had overruled objections from safety inspectors that such plans should be prohibited due to high risk.
The Post reports that since June 1, pilots have reported 25 near-collisions with rogue drones and nearly 150 other incidents where drones pushed into forbidden airspace. FAA documents show that four people worldwide had been killed after remote-controlled aircraft hit them.
Drones are expected to be sold among millions of UAV hobbyists worldwide who have already taken their toys to the sky for both flight and video recording enjoyment.
“The biggest draw for drones is aerial photography and video,” Mike Blades, senior industry analyst for aerospace and defense at Frost & Sullivan, told CNBC. YouTube and drone flight websites share such videos with millions.
“The market is blossoming because drones are now affordable,” said Blades, adding that consumers worldwide will spend about $720 million on drones in 2014 – and he expects spending to double in 2015 to $4.5 billion by 2020.