Corvallis, Ore.-based VDOS Global uses aerial robotics and remote sensing to provide oil and gas inspections, environmental research, aerial surveying and other services using for its clients around the world. (VDOS image)

FAA Releases Drone Safety Checklist

With retailers busily advertising drones as a hot gift idea, the agency is urging consumers to make it a stocking stuffer this year.

Hundreds of pages of drones are currently offered for sale on www.amazon.com, some priced below $20. There are 20 pages of drones with cameras available. Electronics retailers such as www.bestbuy.com and www.frys.com also offer many different models of drones. So the Federal Aviation Administration is doing what it can to send the message loudly and clearly that anyone using one is classified as a pilot and is "part of the U.S. aviation system," in the agency's words.

FAA on Nov. 27 posted a two-page safety checklist for use by any drone pilot. Mindful of the public's interest in them, FAA suggested using the checklist as a stocking stuffer.

"You're heading to the stores on Black Friday to buy that shiny new camera-equipped drone you've been yearning for. You can't wait to get into the sky and let loose your inner high-flying aerial photographer, right? Did you know you're also going to become a pilot?"

"When you fly your drone anywhere in the nation's airspace, you automatically become part of the U.S. aviation system. Under the law, your drone is an aircraft. So while the rules for drones may be different, you have the responsibility to operate safely, just as a Cessna or 747 pilot does," the agency cautioned in its Nov. 27 message.

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