Keep Your Drones, etc. Out of Our Airspace, Says US Coast Guard

US Coast Guard press release:

Saturday afternoon a quadcopter-type model helicopter was seen flying directly across the Coast Guard base located on Arcata Airport.

While the new technology available to the public and the opportunities these types of remote control helicopters provide is exciting, for the safety of other aircraft they, like any other aircraft, must abide by FAA rules and regulations.  These and other private remote control aircraft (which includes “drones” or UAVs) fall under the FAA’s rules for model aircraft outlined in FAA Advisory Circular 91-57.  Model aircraft must fly no higher than 400’ above the ground, must stay in visual range of the operator, and may not be operated within 5 miles of an airport without authorization by the airport operator or air traffic control.

Aircraft that operate near and on airports take many measures to ensure the safety of themselves and others.  Pilots talk on a common frequency to let others know where they are and where they are heading.  Aircraft have transponders that send out a signal with their position and altitude.  Pilots and crew are constantly scanning the sky for other aircraft.  Remote control aircraft have none of these safety features.  Operating one near an airport introduces a significant amount of risk to other aircraft in the area.  These small aircraft are extremely hard to see and a collision with even a small quadcopter such as the one seen at Arcata Airport could be catastrophic for a helicopter crew.

For the safety of everyone involved, if you plan on operating a remote control aircraft the Coast Guard asks you to follow FAA regulations and do so responsibly.


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