What the US can learn from Europe…

Tech Crunch put an article on their website on April 25th titled, “What The U.S. Can Learn From Europe’s Growing Commercial Drone Industry” by Michael Dahmen, who is the CEO of FLAIRICS and SPECTAIR Group.

The article discuss how we are grossly behind Europe in implementing forward thinking and business friendly drone regulation.  Europe is much further along in using drones to make industries like pipeline inspection safer and more efficient.  Overall, I think it is a good read, and I give it  Icon Icon Icon (3 drones out of 5). http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/25/what-the-u-s-can-learn-from-europes-growing-commercial-drone-industry/

My Take – As Americans, we like to believe we are the best at everything and leaders of industry. But the truth is we are sadly behind the world in implementing drone technology.  I feel this is mainly driven by some irrational/uniformed public fear and our cumbersome highly bureaucratic government.The FAA will argue they are taking time to generate regulations that are well thought out and safe, and in some ways I commend that, because we all want safe skies.  No one wants to see an airliner taking down by an idiot with a drone.  However, this is a revolutionary technology that has an opportunity to do more good than harm, and its biggest hurdle in coming to fruition is regulation.  For example, to fly an under 55 lbs drone for personal recreation, the FAA requires you only follow the existing regulations for hobby aircraft.  Whereas the major rules are: don’t fly above 400ft, don’t fly within 5 miles of an Airport, don’t fly in restricted airspace, don’t fly next to people or private property where you are not welcome, and maintain LOS.  Other than that, you don’t need any special training or license to go fly your drone.  However, if you want to go use it for commercial purposes, such as taking aerial photos for realtors, right now you have to get a special exemption (section 333) and must have a private pilot’s license (at least sport) to go fly commercially.  How does that make any sense?  Where Europe has much more common sense regulation in regards to pilot requirements and BVLOS.  I suspect a pilot’s license is required right now, because there is no other formal training for drone pilots, but still, they need to come to a more practical solution quickly.  I don’t have a pilot’s license and I don’t think I should have to spend at least $3-$5K and learn to fly an actual airplane to go use my drone responsibly to make money.

What’s your take?