01 Sep Will Drones Create New Jobs in Charlotte?
The Drone Industry in Charlotte Gets a Green Light with New Regulations
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones are small aircrafts that are controlled by pilots on the ground by a remote control. They are tools that can provide benefits, more than you are even aware of, and can come in various shapes and sizes, including the ones that have the ability to lift 200 pounds. Their price can range from $10 to several thousand dollars.
For quite some time, drones have been one of the most popular gifts for the holiday season, but there were no concrete regulations and rules in place to govern their use (FAA 333 Exemptions were somewhat ambiguous), so various dangerous drone incidents happened. There were several close encounters with airplanes, one person crashed their drone at the White House, and one local Charlotte drone pilot even interfered with the police, because he thought that it would be a good idea to record a police helicopter while they were in search for a suspect.
How Did the Regulations Change?
The airspace has become a free for all, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had to act quickly. But, like most governmental things, it took them years in order for everything to finally be put in place, but the drone usage landscape has now become clear. Previously, if you wanted to fly a drone in North Carolina, you had to wait six months, because you would have to petition the FAA for a 333 Exemption, and before these new regulations, FAA rules required the person who would be controlling the drone to be an actual licensed pilot.
But now that the FAA has released drone regulations, drone companies in Charlotte are ready for take-off. Some people were not that surprised with the FAA rules and their several tweaks, like changing the pilot age to 16 from 17, and allowing the flights to be within 400 feet of the tallest structure instead of 400 feet above the ground. For example, this will now allow contractors to fly a drone over a 200 foot building when inspecting a roof, and give them an additional 400 feet over that whole structure (putting them at 600 feet AGL).
What Do We Expect to See from These New Regulations?
In the near future, it is expected that the FAA will allow lightweight drones to fly over people, because the new rules do not allow this unless a waiver is filled out and passed by the FAA. Nevertheless, the release of these rules is a very important step, because drone “bubbles” are expected to be seen when it comes to entrepreneurship. Many entrepreneurs will be looking to incorporate drones into their businesses. But, the thing with bubbles is that they tend to pop.
The drone industry is expected to grow in North Carolina, and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has estimated that this industry could bring $600 million in economic activity and 1,200 jobs in North Carolina by the year 2025. Drones will become a big part of the Charlotte landscape and culture and, since Charlotte is already experiencing a real estate boom, more of the premium properties will be photographed by drones, to entice buyers that way. The commercial applications for drones are growing and are limitless, and this creative city will play a major part in shaping drone usage nationwide.