Think Before You Launch campaign encourages drone safety
LEXINGTON PARK, Md., Sept. 14, 2015 – With small drone use soaring, understanding the hazards of flying these systems at low altitudes is critical.
Think Before You Launch (TBYL) is a safety awareness campaign recently kicked off by a coalition of organizations dedicated to the promotion of aviation safety while educating both manned and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators.
"With the increasing number of near misses between unmanned and manned aircraft, we felt it was time to help educate the operators about the environment in which they are flying," said Jessica Freeman, executive director for Colorado Agriculture Aviation Association, whose colleagues conduct agricultural flight operations (crop dusting) while flying at very low altitudes.
The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) has already established some guidelines for flying UAS. TBYL is working to build on these, raising safety awareness while providing users with real-world examples and scenarios to enhance knowledge of the potential hazards present in the skies. TBYL addresses the industries nationwide that conduct manned flight operations in the low altitude airspace; the same airspace that is now being utilized for recreational drone flights.
"Operators need to know more than just the regulations for where to fly their UAV," said Bart Ludlow, AVIAN LLC's director for UAS Division, located in Lexington Park, Maryland. "They need to think about what hazards exist and how best to mitigate them."
The campaign will continue to work alongside the FAA, state and local officials nationwide and UAS manufacturers to educate the growing market of UAS operators and enthusiasts about the safe and responsible operation and integration of UAS into the national airspace, particularly in the low-altitude environment.
TBYL's website www.thinkbeforeyoulaunch.org went live Aug. 25 and shares the latest UAS news, video and information, as well as a basic TBYL checklist for operators.
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If you're a first-time UAS owner or a seasoned operator, Think Before You Launch is your source for safety information, links to additional UAS sites and resources for education and risk management. We encourage you to ask questions, provide feedback and be an active participant as we shape the future of small unmanned aircraft use.