Drones in the Pattern*

“Drones in the Pattern  –  only 7% utilize LAANC

SAFE is alerting its members to a study by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at Daytona Beach FL. That study found that “the vast majority” of drones in the vicinity of the DAB airport did not have FAA approval to be there. Currently in the United States, there are more than 1.4 million registered, and likely many more unregistered drones, and they continue to proliferate.

According to the study, only seven percent of the 271 drones detected during the experiment at DAB had used the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) to get permission to penetrate the airspace. In addition, more than one-third of the devices exceeded 500′ AGL, with three ascending above 1,500′ AGL.

“Those cover all the usual altitudes used by CFIs doing patterns or ground reference maneuvers,” said Executive Director David St George. “The FAA’s LAANC approval system for commercial and recreational drone flights had been predicted to reduce non-compliant UAS operations by at least a third within six months, but this service needs more aggressive promotion in the UAS community.”

Previous studies have shown that revealed that pilots approaching a runway usually can’t see drones encroaching on their airspace, especially if those drones are hovering.

The study will boost the FAA’s recent proposal to require Remote Identification — electronic tracking devices on drones, similar to the ADS-B tracking technology now mandatory on manned aircraft in certain airspace.

The study was published in the International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace (IJAAA). It was co-authored by Wallace, Robbins, James K. Holliman, Don S. Metscher, and Taylor R. Rogers at Embry-Riddle, in collaboration with Jon M. Loffi at Oklahoma State University.”

* The above post is reprinted from SAFE Blog June 2020 – the entire SAFE Blog can be read on our Commentary Page Section at SCAUWG.ORG. Click or Tap Here.


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