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FAA Promises Strict Action Against Illegal Drone Users
August 20, 2015 - The FAA is responding to a sharp increase in drone encounters with manned aircraft. In a statement released last week, the agency said pilot reports of drones have increased from 238 in 2014 to more than 650 so far this year. The FAA is sending a clear message that they will seek fines, and even possible criminal charges for illegal use of drones. FAA certified pilots who fly their drones illegally could also be placing their certificates at risk.
Uninformed and illegal uses of drones not only pose serious risks to manned aircraft, but have proven to endanger public safety as well. Drones have recently interfered with firefighting operations in Southern California and British Columbia, grounding firefighting aircraft while wildfires rage on.
Drones are not toys. While flying them can be fun, and in many cases commercially lucrative, it is imperative that both recreational and commercial drone operators are familiar with their regulatory limitations as well as the airspace in which they are operating. EAA was one of the initial partners in the Know Before You Fly campaign created in cooperation with the drone and model aviation communities. We encourage all drone operators to visit that web page to learn how to safely share the airspace with manned aircraft.
Additionally, the FAA is encouraging members of the public to report suspected illegal drone use to local law enforcement.