Recipe for Drone Disaster

The US has the world’s largest airspace—five million miles—and is the most diverse, most complex, yet safest one, said Edward Bolton, the assistant administrator for NextGen at the Federal Aviation Administration, at ASC15. That said, the amount of close calls that commercial drones have had with airplanes in metropolitan areas “is probably one of the biggest challenges,” said Paul Rinaldi, president of National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Speaking with Bolton, Steven Pennington, the executive director of DOD policy board on federal aviation, and Margaret Jenny, the president of the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, Rinaldi noted that the FAA is “probably two years behind” on restructuring policy but that they must “find a way to integrate [drones] safely.” He used the example of Amazon’s announcement in 2013 on delivering packages with drones: “That’s a recipe for disaster.”