Wednesday, June 24, 2015

If drones (UAS) are flying near wildfires, airtankers and helicopters can't fly

downloaded from on June 24, 2015

Writing about the various in and outs of Unmanned Aircraft Systems or UAS (sometimes referred to as "drones" is beyond the means of this blog, at least at the moment. I'll post a couple of links where you can go for more information on UAS later. I do, however, want to point out that UAS flying in the airspace in or near wildland fires may shut down air operations, including but not limited to air tankers, helicopters, and lead planes. These pilots are already flying on the edge, in very dangerous condtions. Don't make an already dangerous situation even worse for the pilots. A collision with a drone/UAS could be fatal for the pilots. Don't fly your UAS/drone anywhere that is even remotely near a wildfire.  Just don't do it.  The US Forest Service has written some guidance on how UAS threatens wildland firefighter safety and aerial operations, that may be found here. Added on July 19, 2015. The US Forest Service has a webpage on Tips for Responisble Hobby or Recreational Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or "Drones" on National Forest System Lands. I just came across the webpage today and think that it fits in with this article.

The US Forest Service has a web page on Unmanned Aircraft Systems that includes a variety of links to information to the FAA. If you scroll part way down the page, you will see a section called "Hobby or Recreational Use of UAS on National Forest System Lands"(I got the graphic I shared here from that portion of the website).

Bill Gabbert of Fire Aviation has written extensively on UAS, with a focus on UAS and wildland firefighting operations, here is a link for some of Bill's articles tagged Drone/UAV/UAS with the most current article at the top.

The FAA has a variety of information on UAS, and if you want some more information on safe operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, a good place to start might be to watch a short video that the FAA produced on UAS operations. Other sources of information may be found at the FAA's UAS FAQ page and  UAS Fact Sheet.

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