Local Radio Control Club Stresses Drone Education

Quadrocopter Drone
Posted at 9:30 AM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 06:17:37-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - According a report from Bard College's Center for the study of the drone, drones are responsible for at least 28 recent instances in which pilots veered off course to avoid a collision.

In fact, in 2014, a near miss between a drone and a U.S. Airways plane over Tallahassee marked one of the first times a commercial airliner and a drone almost collided midair.

Currently the FAA prohibits drones and model airplanes from flying higher than 400 feet.  As hundred's of reports are being documented each month of drones flying too close to airports, the FAA is now requiring drone users to register their devices.

The new registration policy will allow authorities to track down unmanned aircraft owners if they violate rules, as well as provide a platform for education.

A local instructor with the Seminole Radio Control Club, Randy Yarborough, says education is the most important thing when operating drones or any model aircraft, "First of all it does not fly out of the box, it takes a lot of programming and a lot of setup....the second thing is you've got to remember your safety."

As flying drones become more popular, Yarborough says their club has even thought about creating a training program specifically for drones, "There's only a few of us in the club that actually fly these, so we've gotten together to say do we want to do a training program or not."

The FAA's online registration will open on December 21st, and will cover aircraft weighing anywhere from a .5 lbs up to 55 lbs.

According to the FAA's website, the registration requires owners to mark their aircraft with an identification number. Registration will cost 5 dollars, and the penalty for not registering may result in criminal sanctions and civil penalties up to $27,500.