Alaskan public officials have a message for unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, enthusiasts: “Just because you can buy a UAS, doesn’t mean you can fly it anywhere or for any purpose.”
That messages is part of a new public safety campaign unleashed by members of a UAS Task Force sponsored the state Legislature, aimed at UAS drone operators, vendors and purchasers.
The campaign includes the debut of a website that brings together federal guidelines on UAS’ and best practices in one place, along with a one-page safety tip sheet, entitled “Alaska’s ‘Know Before You Fly’ Guidelines.”
“The excitement, along with the affordability and ease of acquiring the technology, has led to a proliferation of drones on store shelves as well as of unmanned flights,” said Republican state Rep. Shelley Hughes, who serves as chairwoman of the UAS Task Force, in an Alaska Business Monthly report. “Many well-meaning individuals want to fly and fly safely, but they don’t realize that just because you can buy a UAS, doesn’t mean you can fly it anywhere or for any purpose.”
The campaign represents the work of representatives from the Legislature, state and federal governments, and UAS stakeholders who came together through task force meetings, according to Hughes.
“We want to help make sure prospective users know what the guidelines are – so that our skies are safe, that these seemingly harmless little drones don’t endanger others, in particular, the pilots and people onboard planes and other unmanned aircraft.”
“Drones are going to be one of the top 10 selling items this Christmas season,” Hughes said the task force learned. “So, for safe skies and the public good, it’s important for Alaska consumers to have this resource.”
The safety guidelines were based on a joint effort of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, according Hughes.