Drone photographer Jason Stiles has a good point about the risks of walking down the ramp at an unmanned drone landing pad.
The US is planning to add drone landing pads to its drone fleet, but many of them aren’t currently on the US military’s list of restricted airspace, so they’re not considered dangerous for the public.
In fact, the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) drone fleet has only two drones in the restricted airspace: the Black Hawk, which can only be used by special forces, and the Predator, which is not authorized for use by the military.
That’s because the Black and Predator have been used by the USAAF to conduct training exercises, which the US government does not want to be associated with, especially when there’s a potential risk to the public, said Stiles, a drone photographer who focuses on the skies above the city of Seattle.
The Black Hawk and Predator are both equipped with infrared cameras, but Stiles said there are still some concerns about the use of infrared technology on drones that have no GPS and can’t be tracked remotely by anyone other than the pilot.
Stiles and his friends are flying the Predator with a GoPro camera, which they’re using to document the landing.
After he landed, he captured some of the landing and the moment it went down, which he says is important to capture in a drone.
Stills said he believes there’s an opportunity to improve the drone landing infrastructure, especially in remote areas like the Pacific Northwest.
He also believes the US has a duty to help educate the public about the dangers of drone use.
“There are certain areas where we can do more, and I think it’s something we have to start addressing,” he said.
Stories like Stiles’ can serve as a reminder to the US that it’s not only flying military drones, but also other unmanned aircraft that pose a risk to aviation safety.