The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently released an “information for operators” (InFO) that suggests drone pilots and their crew wear reflective vests during flight in the same way that “safety-centric personnel,” such as construction workers and airport ground crews, do in order to increase safety and clearly identify themselves.
The FAA, citing the recent increase in drone operations and the relative newness of the technology and regulations, says the both the public and law enforcement may not be familiar with legal small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) operations. Furthermore, if remote pilots are not “easily identifiable,” the agency explains, observers may see the drone operations as “threatening to their safety or privacy.”
The InFO, which is intended to inform sUAS pilots on “techniques for clearly identifying and legitimizing themselves to the general public and law enforcement,” says wearing a brightly colored/reflective vest could “reduce the likelihood that someone will approach or query an sUAS crew member engaged in safety-sensitive duties and will also help preserve a ‘sterile cockpit’ for these operations.”
The agency also suggests including words such as “drone pilot – stand clear” or “drone pilot – please do not disturb” on the vests.
“By taking this simple action, the sUAS flight crew can demonstrate that they are accepting responsibility for the activity and that they are intending to operate in a safe and compliant manner,” the InFO says.
The full notice can be found here.