The New Aviation Issue: Drones
A flying machine on the sky controlled wirelessly by a pilot on the ground can be thrilling experience to be able to discover places in new heights. These, remote control flying machines are called drones. Drones are formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV. The aircraft can be controlled remotely via pilot inputs or autonomously through a computer’s global positioning system (GPS) with preset flight plans. It is often characterized as a military and research equipment (Rouse, 2015) with strict policies and regulations to follow. Now, when drones are commercialized onto the hands of civilians, safety and security issue may arise concerning the capabilities of these aircrafts and intentions of the end user. Drones come in different shapes and sizes some may have characteristics of a helicopter others of a plane, and some may even resemble a rocket ship, drones can be equipped with attachments for specific purpose or missions, larger- more capable drones may sky lift heavier equipment faster and more efficient while, micro drones are lighter and more maneuverable. The increase popularity of these unmanned aircrafts on civilians raises concerns on safety and security.
Civilian operators of drones may range from beginner onto enthusiast pilots, but as skilled as they are there they may have different intentions as how they will be using their drone flying skills and that is where the issue of safety and security comes in to play. In 2015 a drone was allegedly found in the south lawn of the White House in DC Washington, acquisitions of a man who lost control of his recreational quadcopter did not know that his drone had crashed at the south lawn of the White House in three in the morning. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “A forensic analysis of the drone determined that it was not operating under the direction of its controller when it crashed at the White House.” (Eng & Williams, 2015) Being that the White House is a fortress and is highly secured in order to protect National Leaders (Martin, 2006), this controversy can be classified as a wakeup call for the all nations about the dangers and threat of the growing popularity of drones.
Airplanes are majestic winged machines powered by engines to make it make soar through the air (“Airplanes” 2015). Over the years’ improvement in aviation technology made airplanes capable of soaring the skies with incredible speeds and heights, more over drones too are fitted with such technology and this poses another issue regarding safety. Pilots are trained and tested for years over in percussion for the safety of billions of airline passengers and still there are airplanes falling out of the sky onto busy highway, populated cities, danger zones etc. The safety threat of drones onto airplanes is the inevitable tragic incident of a commercial plane and drone, labeled as drone strikes. Editor-in-Chief of AirlineRating.com Geoffrey Thomas reported to CNN (2016) that in the United Kingdom 12 reports of a serious risk of collision was reported in the span of six months from April to October. In the US on a five-month span ending January 31, 2016 583 near misses were reported by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (
FAA) tripling the reports in 2014. These incidents are caused by drone pilots ignoring the global rule of not operating above 400 feet and five miles away from an airport (Thomas, 2016). This safety issue may bring billions of lives every day in danger.
In the Philippines, the foundation for commercial use of drones were situated in November 20, 2014 amending the rules and regulations to ensure public safety (Lopa, 2016) and was later revised in April 13, 2016 (Simeon ; Santos, 2016). The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has required all civilian drone pilots to register their Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) and comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s identification of drone operations. Failure to comply with the requirements will be fined P300,000 to P500,000 per unauthorized flight depending on the gravity of the violation. (Lopa, 2016). Hopefully, this will allow drone users in the Philippines to be able to operate their drones safely.
The dangers of the growing market for drones will continue to pose additional dangers and issue as these drones become more capable the purpose its pilots whether intentional or accidental can bring another individual or a city in grave danger. As the capabilities of these aircraft ever so improve, the safety and security measures of the government should also update its policies and regulations to maintain peace and order of the nation.
“AIRPLANE” (2015). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved August 19, 2016 from
Eng, J., & Williams, P. (2015, March 18). Operator of drone that crashed at white house won’t
face charges. NBC NEWS. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-
Lopa, R. (2016, April 24). CAAP amends rules on drones’ operation. InterAksyon.com.
Retrieved from http://interaksyon.com/article/126860/caap-amends-rules-on-drones-operation
Martin, J. (2006, February 7). Is the white house safe? Retrieved August 19, 2016, from ABC
Rouse, M. (2015, August). What is drone? – definition from WhatIs.Com. Retrieved August 19,
2016, from IOT Agenda, http://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/drone
Simeon, L. M., & Santos, R. (2016, August 25). CAAP revises rules on use of drones. Retrieved
August 19, 2016, from Phil Star Global http://www.philstar.com/metro/2016/04/25/1576526/c
Thomas, G. (2016, April 18). Opinion: Tragic drone strike with plane “inevitable.” CNN.
Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/18/opinions/drones-planes-accidents/