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Upcoming North Texas Workshop Explains Regulations Surrounding Popular Drone Gifts

As Christmas approaches, unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones, of all shapes and sizes may be on the gift-giving list. Unlike remote-controlled cars of years past, it is not safe to just stick the batteries in the drone, run out in the backyard, and start flying the drone. Drones are governed by rules and regulations about how and where they may be safely operated.

In order to educate consumers about the proper use of drones, both for recreation and business purposes, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is hosting an online workshop at no charge to the public on Saturday, December 5 at 10:00 a.m.  

“Our goal is to educate the general public and to prevent reckless flights around airports and in air space,” Ernest Huffman, aviation planning and education program manager for NCTCOG told The Texan.

As far as Huffman is aware, these are the first workshops of their kind in the country offered free to the general public. He is planning one workshop each month.

Each workshop will cover multiple topics including safety, pre-flight planning, regional air space, rules and regulations, drone registration, and drone careers, and will have a particular emphasis as well.  

At the December workshop, Gleim Aviation will help provide information and tips to participants about the successful procurement of a drone pilot’s license. 

There are many regulations and laws governing the safe operation of drones that the public generally doesn’t know. For instance, Huffman doesn’t recommend flying a drone in one’s backyard as it may lie in a flight path and the drone pilot may not be aware of it.

The North Texas Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Safety and Integration Task Force created by NCTCOG has a list of safe places to fly on its website

Texas also has its own laws related to drones, Huffman said. The Texas Privacy Act, found in Chapter 423 of the Texas Government Code, governs when it is lawful to capture an image using a drone.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has particular rules controlling the use of drones for the managing or hunting of wild animals. 

The use of drones has grown more popular in recent years. In 2018, the Dallas-Fort Worth region had the fourth highest number of drones and drone pilots in the United States, Huffman said.

Drones vary in size from micro-drones that weigh less than half a pound to drones as large as a bus. As drones grow in popularity, drone-related businesses and careers are growing as well.  

Huffman said the next workshop in January will focus on starting a drone-related business.

Several drone manufacturers are located in the North Texas region, including Martin UAV in Plano, Bell Flight in Fort Worth, and Fusion Flight in Dallas.

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