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MnDOT Hosts Educational Sessions on Drones

Feb 01, 2020 06:42AM ● By Editor
Image: MN DOT

From WDIO-TV - January 31, 2020

Drones have allowed people to capture scenes that one may only otherwise see in a movie. But, concerns surrounding their safety and regulation has led MnDOT to take action to educate the public.

On Friday, two educational sessions on drone operation were held in Hibbing and Virginia. At the sessions, attendees learned about the aircraft registration process and FAA rules and restrictions.

“One of the things that we have found is that people are not necessarily aware of what the regulations are at the state level and we want to push that information out to people because we’d rather talk to people and get them licensed , get them registered rather than have to move down enforcement pathways,” Tony Fernando, UAS Program Administrator for MnDOT Office of Aeronautics said.

In Minnesota, drones must be registered because they are considered an aircraft and aircrafts are regulated by state and federal laws.

“Sometimes people think that a drone is more of a toy than an aircraft, but under the legal definition, a drone is an aircraft. It’s used in the same airspace as things like medical evacuation helicopters or aircrafts that are fighting wild fires and that drone can actually cause a real problem with the manned aircraft if it interferes,” Fernando said.

Some communities in Minnesota have enacted ordinances which may affect the operation of drones. Civil penalties for operating a drone that is not registered or in a place that is not allowed can be anywhere from $2,000--20,000.

MnDOT says that they support people and businesses using drones to execute projects. They just want to make sure operators are up to date with safety measures and registration.

“There’s a lot of benefits that a business can have—cost benefits as far as saving money and doing things safer. Somebody might want to inspect a roof and if they don’t have to send somebody up on that roof, that person can’t fall off the roof, for example,” Fernando said.

More information about drone operation can be found here.

To read the original article and see related reporting, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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