Karen Lorraine Singer: About Those Drones

Dear Editor: In response to John Haugen-Wente’s letter complaining about drones, FAA regulations allow a UAS (drone) to fly over Lake Monona if the pilot flies under 400 feet and has contacted ATC (the airport) to indicate their FAA pilot number, UAS number with flight location and time. People who fly a UAS as a hobby may not know the FAA regulations on the appropriate use of flying and air space. They may not know it is a violation to fly over people and that visual contact of the UAS is required at all times.

The reason for the no-fly-over rule is to prevent collision and damage to people and property. If a drone is damaged by someone deliberately knocking it out of the sky they have committed an act of terrorism. No amount of complaint about privacy invasion will save someone from federal charges when they deliberately damage an airborne UAS. Threatening to damage property is a dangerous option that would involve the police and FBI.

Imagine the same situation from the UAS pilot’s vantage point. Someone who volunteers with the local fire department is conducting UAS training to practice locating a kayak in trouble. John indicated he was using his body to indicate his displeasure. There is no sound recording using a UAS. It is entirely possible John appeared to need assistance by his behavior and was filmed to determine if he was safe. To assume all UAS flights are about spying is delusional. More important, someone who threatens to damage property is not an innocent victim.

Karen Lorraine Singer

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