UAVs, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are one of the most highly talked about devices at the moment. They are known by many names, most commonly drones. While most people know about UAVs, there is still a major learning curve that still needs to be overcome by the public. There are certain rules and regulations for operating UAV, however, many people are not aware about these rules and are therefore misinformed. Thus, several common myths have emerged regarding UAVs and their usage.
Myth #1: The control of airspace below 400 feet is not in the hands of the FAA
Fact: All the airspace is controlled by the FAA. The FAA controls any space above the ground and this is to keep US airspace safe. This myth may have been originated due to the rule that all manned aircraft must never come down below 500 feet.
Myth #2: It is okay to operate UAS flights commercially on a private property if you are following model aircraft guidelines
Fact: In 2007, there was published a notice in PDF format that can be used as clarification on this matter. The rule says that no one can fly any unmanned aerial vehicle for commercial purposes. You need to apply for a license for it and that too is available for certain cases only. For this, your aircraft must be certified, the pilot must be licensed and you must obtain the required operation approval (Section 333 Exemption). This is important so that liability can be determined in case of an accident.
There is only one such vehicle that has been able to meet all the criteria and that too was limited to a place that is almost devoid of human inhabitation, the Arctic.
Myth #3: The commercial operations in the US are still not fully covered by law under FAA
Fact: This has no basis as all the airborne vehicles need to get some degree of clearance from the FAA. Civil users are required to obtain a certificate of experimental airworthiness for the purpose of using the airspace to conduct any kind of R&D, training and demonstration of flight. Same is the case with UAVs, which need certification before they can be used for commercial purposes.
If you operate a flying a UAV for recreational purposes it does not need any license or approval. But still there are some guidelines that a hobbyist must follow while indulging in this hobby.
However, in 2012, even those regulations were removed, making way for more freedom as far as model aircraft are concerned. It will be the rules of the community that will be required to be followed so that the hobbyist does not cause any damage to a property or a person.
Myth #4: It is not a punishable offense to operate commercial UAS operations after September 30th, 2015
Fact: September 30, 2015 was only a time limit by which the FAA was supposed to come up with a solution to make such plans that would make UAV safe for flying, but the FAA has not been able to come up with any plan of the sort. So, for the foreseeable future operating a commercial UAS without the required licensing remains a punishable offense.
Myth #5: Other countries are way ahead in giving approvals for UAVs
Fact: There is no scope of comparison between US airspace and that of other countries. The reason for this is that the US airspace has tremendous traffic and if UAVs are given permission too then there will be a lot of crowding in that very small airspace that is proving to be small even for commercial planes. UAVs cannot go unregulated, because all the pros and cons need to be evaluated along with the safety of people and their property on the ground.
Myth #6: There will be as many as 30,000 UAVs by 2030
Fact: This figure is an old one and looks like it was published without much research in some kind of haste because the currents estimation of FAA sits at an average figure of 7,500 by the year 2018. This figure has been published assuming that all the required rules and regulations are being followed. This number is not fixed though and can be updated after changes are made to the rules and regulations. However, for the time being there is no such possibility as this technology is still in its initial stages.