Drones are certainly one of the hottest news stories of 2016, with everyone from Disney World to the Department of Defense adopting them for a variety of missions. While drones still have a lot to figure out, it’s clear that they are here to stay – and that could have serious implications for pilots. Are those implications good or bad?
Believe it or not, there is a vocal group of pilots who think drones will be very good for general aviation. Specifically, the hype and money surrounding them could very well attract new people to aviation. All those non-pilots going to FAA testing centers to take a Remote Pilot Knowledge Exam are potential prospects for flight training. Besides the people, drones might bring some exciting new technology to light aircraft. From lighter weight batteries to electric motors to new autopilot designs, manned aircraft designs could benefit from the large volume and low cost of drone equipment.
Other pilots would suggest taking off the rose-colored glasses. Drones present a significant safety threat for airplanes, as the rising number of “close calls” proves. It seems only a matter of time before a serious collision. In addition, drones could spark a new regulatory wave that unintentionally swallows up manned aviation, especially when it comes to airspace rules. Finally, pilots might eventually find themselves out of a job, as drones increasingly take over for humans. What’s to like about that?
What do you think? Are drones good or bad for general aviation? Should we welcome them or fear them? Add a comment below.