Pilot Thinks Proposed FAA Drone Rules Too Lenient

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SACRAMENTO-

The proposed FAA regulations on commercial drones is too lenient for one local drone pilot.

Joseph Matthew parflayed a fascination with radio controlled cars and airplanes into an aerial photography business three yeas ago to serve architectural, real estate and film-industry clients.

The proposed rules include restricting speeds to 100 miles per hour, an altitude no higher than 500 feet, banning them from within 5 miles of an airport, registering the machines and requiring pilots to have a background check by the TSA. Matthew thinks the rules are too lenient.

Matthew says perhaps manufacturers that are making a killing selling the easy to fly camera mounted drones should take responsibility for licensing or training drone pilots. He says his eight-bladed, 30-pound, top-of-the-line drone can cause a lot of damage if it falls from the sky. But so can his smaller 5-pound models.

"Just think, if one of these Phantoms falls and blinds a kid walking home from school, they can be very dangerous," said Matthew.

He talked of an incident with a pilot a few days ago at an area where drone pilots fly.

"He'd been flying for a few months and was a pretty confident pilot. Within 30 seconds he hit a cable and his drone crashed to the dock," said Mathew.

The latest drones equipped with multiple gyros and GPS cost from several hundred to $1,500 can be easy to fly. But they also have the performance to get away from a pilot who has a lapse in concentration and crash.

Matthew also fears there could be a privacy issue with irresponsible pilots who will give legitimate drone operators a bad name. The state legislature is considering several bills to deal with the proliferation of drones and privacy concerns.

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