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Broad based exemptions to drone pilots could lead to emergency situations

Although private drone operators have signed up in droves to help during emergencies, their broad based exemptions provided by the FAA can lead to potentially critical situations.

Although civilian drone operators tend to cause many emergency situations, in a twist of fate, it turns out many are willing to help out during emergencies as well.
A report published by the Bard College shows that the Federal Aviation Administration’s request for help from commercial drone operators during emergencies have risen by 19%, as compared with the last quarter of 2015. The help that private drone operators are lending to search and rescue missions and/or in other critical situations has gone by almost 6 times in recent months.
The FAA has told the Verge that just because the services of private drone operators have been useful it doesn’t necessarily mean their every request to fly, will come through. There are a host of legal reasons to keep the drones grounded.

Rather than become a primary goal, to keep drones off airways, it sometimes becomes a catch-all for activities that private drone operators may be requested to do.
Exemption requests are getting out of hand not only for applicants, who are weighed down by the rules that they have just applied for, but also for the FAA, which has allowed broad based exemptions.
Hopefully when cooler heads prevail, pilots will more readily receive exemptions that they are likely to need.

Debashish Mukherjee

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