Airport Officials Reminding the Public of Drone Restrictions

 (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

HYANNIS – With the summer approaching and drone activity increasing, Barnstable Municipal Airport is reminding users that there is a five mile no drone zone around the airport.

Airport officials are stressing safety as the danger of drones and other unmanned aircraft has become a concern around the country.

Like large birds, drones pose a similar risk to planes, according to Katie Servis, the airport’s assistant manager.

“We have to think of a drone in the same respect,” Servis said. “The drones are of weight and size of a bird and if a drone were to hit a passenger aircraft it could do some serious damage if not bring that aircraft down.”

Drones and other unmanned aircraft can be operated within the 5 mile radius with special permission from the airport’s air traffic control tower along with the proper permitting to operate the device.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s website has a detailed section about the operation of unmanned aircraft and offers the required information needed by drone users.

Servis said there are roughly 1.9 million drones being used this year, but the enforcement of restricted areas are not really enforced by the FAA.

“They are really going to lean on local law enforcement officers to make sure that these drone users have their correct licenses, permits and authorizations to use the drones in general in the area,” she said.

The five-mile restriction does limit the use of unmanned aircraft in most of the town.

“Unfortunately, when you think of Barnstable Airport five nautical miles is covering a good portion of Barnstable,” Servis said.

Barnstable Municipal Airport’s air traffic control tower has only received 10 phone calls from individuals looking to use drones within the five-mile radius.

“So that means one, either nobody is calling us or, two, they are afraid to call us and they won’t and they need to,” Servis said.

The airport has not had any issues that have been reported but nationally and worldwide there are have been near misses and plane strikes.

A few weeks ago an aircraft in final approach in London struck a drone.

“It’s very much a concern for us and for the safety of our pilots using this airport,” Servis said.


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