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Drones for Christmas? How About a Million of Them!

  • In Uncategorized
  • 5 October 2015
  • comments: 0

As shocking as that number sounds, that’s what the FAA is saying the drone industry is forecasting for drone sales in the very near future.

For airlines, aircraft and helicopter operators the exploding growth of drones presents a very real potential for deadly encounters.  Already we’ve seen a drone crash onto the White House lawn…and another fall into a seat at the U.S. Tennis Open… and another slash open the head of an Australian Triathlete athlete during competition… and another crash into the face of a Brooklyn Daily photographer, clipping off the tip of her nose and cutting her chin…and another suspend aerial firefighting efforts in California fire torn areas for fear of a collision between the airborne firefighting units and a drone.

When more serious drone injuries occur, including loss of life, what is the likelihood that the drone operator will have the insurance or financial strength to pay for the staggering damages caused by the their drone collision?  The obvious answer is…no likelihood.  We already know that we can’t even say that the everyday owner of an automobile is appropriately insured.  So what makes us think that owner/operator of a $29.95 airborne drone is in a financial position to pay for the potential damages caused by his or her drone?  We know that’s not likely.  So short of shutting down the drone business – a very unlikely prospect – there are some protections which can be put in place such as building into the drones “geo-fenced” flight parameters which would prohibit altitudes and flight operations near airports, crop dusting operations and other known aviation flight areas.  There is also planned legislation that would bring criminal penalties into play for operating a drone in the vicinity of an airport, heliport or related airborne activities such as firefighting or law enforcement activities.

So, why all the concern about drones?  Because current market forecasts predict we will have more than a million airborne drones operating in the space we currently occupy.  Get ready…because the drones are already here and flying.

By Patrick Bailey, Attorney at Bailey & Partners