PIEDMONT (KPIX 5) – With drones becoming popular gifts, the sky over the Bay Area may get much more crowded this Christmas. A new campaign has been launched to make sure the new aircraft are flown safely.

Mark Harrison of Piedmont shows us his glowing drone he made out of swim noodles. He’s been making them from scratch and flying them for the better part of 4 years.

Because easy-to-fly drones are now being sold commercially, they are soaring in popularity. A lot of people are expected to get them as Christmas presents, so the Federal Aviation Administration and some hobbyist groups launched a new campaign Monday, listing the rules for unmanned aerial vehicles.

According to The Associated Press, the campaign includes the website www.knowbeforeyoufly.com, which advises both recreational and commercial drone operators of FAA regulations and how to fly their unmanned aircraft safely. The campaign was announced by Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Small UAV Coalition, both industry trade groups, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which represents model aircraft hobbyists, in partnership with the FAA.

The two industry trade groups also said they plan to distribute safety pamphlets at industry events, and are working with drone manufacturers to see that safety information is enclosed inside the package of new drones.

It’s a list that hobbyists like Harrison welcome.

“Literally, Christmas afternoon they’ll be able to take it out. Then they’ll be able to put it in the air and take pictures, and that’s awesome. But the downside is, they might skip over the safety guide,” Harrison told KPIX 5.

For example, the FAA has grounded flying drones for profit. Professional uses from assessments of disaster scenes to aerial photography are against the rules for now.

If newcomers either don’t know the rules or willfully disregard them, the hobbyists are worried the FAA could eventually crack down even harder.


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