Tag Archives: Drones

Making Medical Flights Safer – Drone Rules

In light of the recent developments where medical flights around the world were disrupted due to illegally flying drones, there are a few questions that beg to be asked: “Is flying drones legal in the United States?”, “If so, what are the rules and legislations that govern flying of drones?”. Once you are aware of facts such as these, it helps flying them within the legal bounds making it easier for medical flights to ply. It must be noted in this context that flying drones is perfectly legal in the United States, subject to certain restrictions, so much so that even foreigners can bring them into the country and fly them. The Federal Aviation Authority as well as National Aviation Authority allow them.

Rules that Govern Drones in the United States

Rules for flying drones recreationally:

  • The reason for flying must only be recreational and there must be no business angle to it.
  • Hobbyists must visit https://faadronezone.faa.gov/#/ and register the drone with Federal Aviation Authority
  • The drones must never escape your line of vision as you fly them
  • Only those drones which are under 55 lbs are permitted
  • One must never be close to any aircraft
  • Only flying in Class G airspace is allowed
  • It is strictly prohibited to fly close to emergency response vehicles such as medical flights

Rules for flying drones commercially:

  • The operator must hold a FAA-issued Remote Pilot Certification
  • The drones must be registered with FAA just like recreational ones
  • It must weight under 55 lbs
  • The flight must not cross the speed of 100 miles per hour
  • The drone must always remain below 400 feet so that they do not disturb medical flights and other aircrafts
  • Any manned aerial vehicle must be given the right to way
  • Flying directly over people is prohibited
  • Flying a drone from a vehicle is only allowed in thinly populated regions

If these simple rules are taken care of, drone flying becomes a safe activity.

Air Ambulances and Drones

Several countries around the world have progressed much further than the United States when it comes to drones. Take for instance, the East African Nation, Rwanda. The country has been using drones in lieu of air ambulances to transport medical necessities during emergencies. Of course, these might not be as efficient as air ambulances yet, but the day is not far when drones would be much more useful. Rwanda is a country where roads are far from being ideal and drone technology is seen as a respite. Come to think of it, rural America too can benefit from this concept.

The Prevalence Gap between Air Ambulances and Drones in the US

The US skies are dotted with a lot of airplanes, which of course include air ambulances. The drones on the other hand can be a hindrance. In fact, there have been several instances where drones have proven to be a nuisance for air ambulances and commercial flights. The necessity, therefore, is for a regulation that strikes the right balance. Also, general drone enthusiasts should also proactively show more responsibility. The other area that needs a closer look is innovation in the field of medical drones where they can at least play the part of supplementing efforts of air ambulances.

The Government Encouragement for Medical Drones

The congress, at the present time, is in the process of considering a bipartisan legislature called Drone Backlog Reduction Act. The intent of this legislation is to encourage innovation and ensure safety of medical drones. Once that is achieved, it will become easier to get the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration to use medical drones more extensively. At the current time, the use of drone is also severely limited by the norms laid down by the Federal Aviation Administration. If all goes well, the people will benefit from innovations in medical drones immensely.