Local pilots applaud call for more drone regulation

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced that the FAA will take steps to get a better idea who owns drones and who is flying them. At a Monday news conference, Foxx announced a Federal task force will be assembled to include members of the government as well as representatives from both the manned and unmanned aviation industries. Their goal is to determin how to register unmanned drones and track their pilots.

Dennis Bampton, owner of St. Charles Flying Service says tracking drones and their owners is a good idea. “I’m not much about the continual FAA sticking their nose into everything, but this is a good idea. Until something happens and one of our airplanes run into one of these or one of the airlines suck one into their engine, nobody is paying attention”

There have been some close calls recently. Two months ago at the US Open tennis tournament in New York, an unmanned drone flying over a densely populated neighborhood not far from LaGuardia Airport crashed into Arthur Ash Stadium. A drone has also crashed inside the University of Kentucky’s football stadium. One of the scariest encounters was a few weeks ago when a drone came dangerously close to firefighting aircraft battling the California wildfires.

According to Secretary Foxx, it is a matter of accountability. “If operators break the rules, clearly there should be consequences. But there can be no accountability if a person breaking the rules cannot be identified,” said Foxx.

Bampton agrees. “We are kind of in the standpoint of make the decision now and have a little bit more regulation of who is doing what before the sky fills up with these drones and everybody is flying them.”