U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to immediately move forward and release what he says are much-needed rules for the use of small unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
The senator says that while there are innumerable benefits to drone technology, there are also consequences that create serious safety concerns for the general public, particularly given that the FAA and the federal OMB have not yet released clear rules for the definition and appropriate use.
He explains that the federal government’s lack of clear rules on the use of the technology has led to confusion, abuses and other dangerous situations, particularly in densely populated areas such as Westchester, N.Y., where he says there have been UAS spotted flying in the airspace.
He says, “With recent instances of drones flying dangerously close to Westchester County Airport, as well as airports frequented by local travelers, like JFK and LaGuardia, it is clear that commercial drone use has crossed over from unregulated to potentially deadly.”
In August 2014, Schumer urged the FAA to expedite their rulemaking on small drones, which Congress originally authorized the agency to author in 2012. Since then, the FAA finally put out their rule to interagency review, which is headed by OMB.
The senator says that the OMB must prioritize this approval process in 2015 so that the rule can then be made public, put out for a comment period and finalized.
“Federal bureaucracy has stood in the way of FAA drone rules to protect New York fliers’ safety, and it’s time for the OMB to review and approve the new drone regulations that the FAA has sent to their desk so that our airspace stays safe,” Schumer says. “The lack of clear rules about small drones, what is a commercial versus a hobby drone, and how and where they can be used, is creating a serious threat to New Yorkers’ safety. We cannot wait for a fatal crash or incident to get this done.”