A common thing to hear in the news in the last few years has been the hot issue of drone safety.
When flying a drone near a wildfire, it can often be very dangerous. Drones fly at the same level where helicopter water drops and smokejumper para cargo occur and it interferes with the aircraft. When there is no communication between the drone and the firefighting aircraft there is very little chance of seeing the drone. In some cases drone flying has kept full-scale professionals from flying and doing their jobs, which has led to more devastation.
After hearing several stories about wildfires spreading and issues with drone interference, Joe Ball and other members of the AMA, took the opportunity to educate others about proper safety involving drones and sUAS technology. Ball wanted to find a way to mitigate incidents and be proactive versus reactive to issues involving drones.
Ball and Yakima Valley Aero Modelers club president George Radford utilized their resources and found a way to reach a wide audience. The club reached out to those they had built relationships with in the community to be invited AM 1280 KIT for 10 minutes to discuss more on how to safely operate drones and multirotors. Ball states, “This was an example of making an opportunity out of adversity and we believe this helped put our club and the AMA on the right side of this issue.
Since their discussion on the radio, they have been in contact with local fire departments and public relations specialist, Jeff Phaff, who is now in contact with the DNR for putting together public service announcements on how to create responsible drone operation.
“We are looking at this as a chance to raise awareness about our club, the AMA and safe drone operations, at the same time presenting our local and the national organization as a resource and part of the solution to the challenges presented by this fast moving technology.” Ball states.
It is important to our hobby that people understand the rules and regulations involved with flying drones in a safe manner. AMA would like to thank the Yakima Valley Aero Modelers for the great work they have done and will continue to do involving this issue. Without help from people who are dedicated to making a difference and spreading awareness like Joe Ball AMA would not be able to achieve the results they have with increased awareness of safety and regulation.
This is just one example of how clubs can help. AMA has also done its best to educate the public and its members about this issue. In 2016 AMA printed and ground mailed out 4,000+ high gloss posters educating the UAS community to stay away from wild fires to wild fire prone states to community centers, parks, and emergency responders. For more information on how you can help visit https://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutama/gov.
To learn more about the Yakima Valley Aero Modelers ‘like’ the club page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Yakima-Valley-Aeromodelers-272048539653949/.