With new federal drone regs, Truckee Tahoe Airport urges awareness
August 30, 2016
TRUCKEE, Calif. — An analysis of federal data shows that as of May of this year, there were nearly 60,000 registered drones in California alone.
New regulations for drones went into effect on Monday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and a press release from Truckee Tahoe Airport.
Drones, also called Unmanned Aerial Systems or UAVs for short, can potentially create a flight risk to other aircraft if they're flown above 300 near the airport.
While most hobbyists fly their drones below 100 feet, commercial operators who use them in photo and video production fly at higher levels. Several industries have begun using drones in recent years, including those who work in construction and real estate.
The FAA expects total drone ownership across the country to increase from 2.5 in 2016 to 7 million in 2020.
Drones are fairly uncommon in the Truckee-Tahoe region, according to the FAA's database of registered owners.
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"Although in the Truckee Tahoe area we're starting to see some commercial use of drones, like for photography and videography for events, real estate and commercials, most drone users here are hobbyists," Parallax Inc. engineer Kyle Montgomery said in the airport's press release. "They're 'drone racing' or taking photos."
But lots of people travel to Tahoe, and there's no way to count how many of them are using drones in the area.
"In the coming years, we can expect to see an increase in commercial drones being used in the Truckee Tahoe area for infrastructure inspections, surveying and conservation, but don't expect many drone deliveries soon," said Montgomery.
In a statement, the Tahoe Truckee Airport advised drone users who fly near the airport to remember that airspace is shared by other aircraft taking off and landing, and pilots have difficulty seeing drones.
Airport officials also urge those who fly commercially to follow the permit rules and to plan special coordination in airport as well as helipad airspace.
Visit the airport's website at TruckeeTahoeAirport.com for more information about FAA guidelines on drones and overall safety tips for the commercial and non-commercial users.