Submitted by Brian Wynne, President and CEO, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones, are a remarkable and beneficial technology with capabilities ranging from assisting fire fighters and police, transporting medical supplies, delivering prescriptions, and protecting our troops, among other things. However, drones are also great for aviation enthusiasts who just want to enjoy flying a sophisticated piece of technology.
Regardless of purpose, it is critical to observe safe flying procedures and understand how to responsibly operate a drone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established a plethora of rules and safety tips for all kinds of UAS flyers – novice, advanced, recreational or commercial – as well as a number of educational resources, including Know Before You Fly and National Drone Safety Awareness Week.
Your community of Tacoma, Washington has established itself as a leader in promoting community safety around the use of UAS, and I commend the City Council’s foresight and dedication to responsible governance. The Tacoma City Council recently passed a resolution supporting responsible drone use, and it also directs the City website to refer interested residents to existing FAA resources. This action, and in particular the leadership shown by Council Members John Hines and Lillian Hunter, should be used as a model for other cities and localities in preserving the safety of their communities. The FAA continues to invest time and resources into additional regulations governing UAS operations within the national airspace, and it is heartening to see the city of Tacoma encourage its citizens to make use of those resources.
The unmanned systems industry has progressed exponentially in recent years, and still holds tremendous untapped civil and commercial potential to benefit society and create jobs. But no matter how sophisticated these systems become, safety will always be at the foundation of our innovation, and it is important that recreational drone users remain safe, as well. I thank the Tacoma City Council for their work on this issue, and look forward to serving as a resource in the future.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics — represents corporations and professionals from more than 60 countries involved in industry, government and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets. For more information, visit AUVSI.org