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Trump drone initiative wins Inland praise as way to catch up with technology

By in Press Enterprise on October 27, 2017

By David Downey, Kevin Smith

President Trump’s move to expand testing of drones at night, over people and beyond one’s sight could hasten the arrival of airborne product delivery and boost Inland firms that deploy remote-controlled aircraft, area operators said Thursday, Oct. 26.

“If the United States wants to be on the cutting edge, we need to do things to be cutting edge,” said John Goolsby, a Riverside photographer who flies drones to capture images of weddings and other events. “I’m in favor.”

“Remember the phrase, ‘Lead, follow or get out of the way?’ When it comes to technology, I would like to see us lead,” he said.

Goolsby said the move could eventually lead to companies such as Amazon getting the green light to deliver products by drone.

And the owner of Godfather Films said it would open up more commercial options for him.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration invited states, communities and tribes to become partners with the federal government and create experimental zones for testing drones. The administration anticipates approving at least five applications, but there is no limit.

The Federal Aviation Administration would review proposals, and waive, for testing purposes, restrictions against flights over people, nighttime flights and those beyond the sight of operators.

The zones could test package deliveries, technology to prevent collisions between drones and occupied aircraft, and technology that ushers drones away from restricted areas such as wildfires.

The test zones are expected to start up in about a year. The program would continue for three years after that.

Playing with fire

Encroachment into restricted areas is a huge concern in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Drone sightings repeatedly grounded firefighting planes and helicopters battling the nearly 50-square-mile Lake fire in the San Bernardino National Forest in summer 2015. Interference with fire operations continued unabated for months across the region, sparking federal and state legislation […]    

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