LIMA — The topic of the use of drones is coming more and more to the forefront, and Marla Bolen with Soaring View Aerial Photography and Videography said it was a “very important and growing subject.”
Soaring View, with the help of the Lima Area Chamber of Commerce, brought Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Safety Inspector John Welsh to the Lima Allen County Airport Thursday to discuss the rising use of drones and their potential to cause accidents or other harm.
Welsh told the large turnout, which consisted of law enforcement personnel, emergency workers and drone hobbyists, that drones are becoming increasingly popular. Currently, there are have been more than 1.1 million drones, described by the FAA as Unmanned Aircraft Systems, have been sold in the U.S.
“The technology has become so capable that they fly into national airspace,” Welsh said. “We have had reports of military aircraft encountering drones at 10,000 feet.”
Welsh said drone users are required to get a license for flying the crafts, which have become as popular with enthusiasts as they are for employment uses. He spoke of a recent incident on the continent of Africa, where a drone collided with a 747 commercial airliner. While the airliner deflected the drone, he said it can cause safety problems in other incidents.
“People in lighter aircraft are left vulnerable,”Welsh said.
While drone users are held to restrictions and must be certified to fly in FAA-controlled air space, he said it is not their goal to shut drone use down.
“The technology has gone so far that we have not been able to get caught up with rules and regulations,” Welsh said. “Our focus is safety.”
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or on [email protected]